Axios San Antonio

Newsletter branding image

๐Ÿ Good morning! We're halfway there.

Today's weather: A chance of showers with a high near 75.

Situational awareness: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday on mifepristone, a drug used in medication-induced abortions.

  • A ruling is expected by June, but broad restrictions of the pill seem unlikely.

Today's newsletter is 869 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Ken Paxton reaches a deal

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton avoided criminal prosecution in a long-running felony securities fraud case, agreeing to community service instead of going to trial.

Why it matters: The agreement with prosecutors appears to be an anticlimactic end to the case โ€” and allows Paxton to maintain an unblemished record, even as he has faced myriad accusations of corruption.

Catch up quick: Paxton was indicted on securities fraud charges shortly after he first took office as attorney general in 2015.

  • Paxton faced allegations that he convinced investors, including then-Republican state lawmaker Byron Cook, to purchase at least $100,000 worth of stock in a tech startup, Servergy, without disclosing that he would be paid for it.

Driving the news: Prosecutors yesterday agreed to drop the securities fraud charges if Paxton performs 100 hours of community service.

  • The agreement also requires him to take legal ethics courses and pay restitution to those he is accused of defrauding.
  • The total amount of restitution will be "somewhere a little bit south of $300,000," prosecutor Brian Wice said, per the Texas Tribune.
  • Paxton will not have to enter a plea under the terms of the agreement.

What they're saying: Speaking to reporters in Houston yesterday, Paxton attorney Dan Cogdell said Paxton was "more than happy to comply" with the terms of the dismissal.

  • "But let me be clear, at no time was he going to enter any plea bargain agreement or admit to conduct that simply did not occur," Cogdell said.

The other side: "โ€‹โ€‹Something is wrong when the state's top lawyer is forced to take a class on how to be a good lawyer," John Bucy III, a Democratic state lawmaker representing Williamson County, wrote on X.

Between the lines: Paxton is still facing a whistleblower lawsuit from former aides who claim they were improperly fired for reporting him to the FBI on corruption allegations.

  • Paxton has denied any wrongdoing.

Read the rest

2. Southtown shake up

Up Scale's final day service is approaching. Photos: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

Southtown's swanky spots are in the middle of a shake-up, with Up Scale closing to make way for Little Em's Oyster Bar.

State of play: Houston and Emily Carpenter, the husband-wife duo of Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality, announced the news via Instagram yesterday.

  • Up Scale will close on April 6.
  • Little Em's will remain open at the original location before moving to the Up Scale building in the late fall.

Flashback: Little Em's, known for its perfectly pastel aesthetic and primarily patio dining, opened in December 2020.

  • Up Scale, as elegant as the name suggests, opened in October 2021. Since then, it's hosted a range of celebrities including the Spurs' star draft pick, Victor Wembanyama.

What they're saying: The Up Scale employees will not lose jobs in the shuffle but will be offered roles at other restaurants in the Carpenter Carpenter portfolio of restaurants, the post says.

  • "Even with the best efforts and largest ambitions, not all things are meant to be, but one day if the city asks for it, we'll be ready," the owners said of the closure.

What's next: A diner will fill the space at the small Little Em's location.

  • The post hinted that the expanded oyster bar will have a large deck, Up Scale favorites like lobster pasta and the same prices and "approachability."
  • "Active wear in the dining room will live on," the owners wrote.

Share with a foodie

3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

๐Ÿค˜ Korn will bring its tour to the Frost Bank Center on Oct. 21. Tickets go on sale Friday. (KSAT)

โ›บ Curfews will be lifted at city parks, including Brackenridge, tomorrow at 11pm to allow for San Antonio's beloved Easter camping tradition. (MySA)

๐Ÿ• Lovers Pizzeria is moving from its original location less than a year after opening but is in the process of securing a new location with a bar. (Instagram)

4. ๐Ÿ›’ Checking out a new look

Rendering of Central Market's planned makeover. Photo: Courtesy of H-E-B

Central Market, or what San Antonians have lovingly dubbed "Gucci B," is on the cusp of an overhaul.

State of play: Yesterday, H-E-B announced plans for a second phase of the location's upgrades, which include a refresh of the store's facade and a complete interior remodel.

  • The plans follow the announcement of the first phase, which focuses on upgrading the parking lot and adding a loading dock for produce.
  • It's the only Central Market in San Antonio.

Flashback: The location opened as an H-E-B in 1951, when the grocery giant had only 10 stores in San Antonio.

  • The store rebranded to Central Market in 1999.

What's next: The first phase of the project will start this spring and is expected to be finished by late in the year.

  • The second phase will begin shortly after the first round of upgrades is complete and is expected to be completed by mid-2026.

Share with a shopper

5. Offset's off-tour stop

San Antonio is getting an Offset show without a tour date. Photo: Robert Okine via Getty Images

San Antonio isn't officially on Offset's "Set It Off" tour, but the former Migos rapper will pop up at Smoke Skybar in between his Dallas and Houston shows next month.

The latest: Smoke Skybar announced the April 6 (age 18+) show this week.

Between the lines: The shows mark the first time that Offset is touring without Quavo and Takeoff, who was murdered in 2022.

What they're saying: Offset called his tour a "journey into (his) mind," according to Billboard.

Share with a music fan

Thanks to our editor Chloe Gonzales and copy editors Steven Patrick and Yasmeen Altaji.

๐Ÿฅณ Madalyn is excited to see that her favorite singer, Jhene Aiko, is relaunching her "Magic Hour" tour after COVID-19 canceled it in 2020.

๐Ÿ‡ Megan is wondering where everyone is making their Easter brunch plans at this year.