Feb 10, 2023 - Food and Drink

First look: Rosario's new Southtown set up

Exterior of the new Rosario’s.

Meet the new Rosario's. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

Rosario's "forever home," which has been in the works since 2018, is complete.

Driving the news: The new location at 722 S. St. Mary's St. is opening to the public at 11am Friday.

Context: Local restaurateur Lisa Wong opened Rosario's in 1992 on South Alamo Street. Since then, it has become a go-to for Tex-Mex in San Antonio.

Details: The modern 25,000-square-foot space, about 350 yards from the original, includes multiple private party areas and a rooftop bar with skyline views.

  • Acclaimed Chilean artist INTI painted a massive mural of two children on the back wall of the restaurant to reflect Wong's Mexican-Chinese heritage.
  • San Antonio is the first Texas city to feature INTI's work.
  • Local artists Carlos Cortes and Eva Marengo Sanchez designed outdoor sculptures and an interior painting, respectively.

Flashback: The site was home to El Mirador, also a Mexican restaurant, which was demolished to make way for the new Rosario's.

  • Rosario's vice president, Michelle Gonzalez, tells Axios the business worked with specialized architects to preserve original features of El Mirador.
  • The adjoining King William Garden House was remodeled and renamed Casa Isabel in honor of Wong's late mother.
  • The space — which was designated as a local landmark in 1988 — will be available for private events.

State of play: Gonzalez says while the space has changed, guests will experience the same service and menu items.

  • About 95% of the staff is returning after a three-month pause and relocation.
  • Menu additions include a cauliflower chile relleno and street corn.
  • Thursday night at a sneak peek, we reunited with the enchiladas verdes and iconic salsa. They were just as good as I remembered.
  • "We're just really excited to be open again and see the old faces and new faces. It's just nice to have that energy back again," Gonzalez says.

Yes, but: The process hit a point of contention in 2021 when Peter Selig, owner of neighboring Maverick Texas Brasserie, launched a petition to stop Rosario's from building a 20-foot wall 6 inches from the patio of his business, which he said would render half of its dining area unusable.

  • The Historic and Design Review Commission ultimately approved the plan.

What they're saying: Gonzalez says the move was prompted by Wong wanting a "forever home" for her restaurant, rather than renting space.

  • "Our new location is warm and inviting with our signature Mexican contemporary style. We look forward to beginning a new era in our restaurant's 30-year history and to serving our guests for many more generations to come," Wong said in a statement.

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