Honoring A Bit of San Antonio Dining History

Featuring locally owned restaurants is our specialty. We love focusing on the epicurean entrepreneurs — the owners and their families — who dig deeply into their daily existence to serve fresh food every day their way.

A slice of  San Antonio entrepreneurial history can be found at Earl Abel’s Restaurant on the Austin Highway.   We recently came across this video the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce produced because Earl Abel’s Restaurant has been a participating member since 1933! We could tell you wonderful things about the faithful staff and great food at Earl Abel’s, but the video says it all. Simply click on the picture below and enjoy!

Congratulations to Roger Arias and the great staff at Earl Abel’s!

 

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Willkommen bei Friesenhaus

Friesenhaus In New Braunfels

Since our great-great grandfather came over on the first boat with settlers from Germany to found New Braunfels, we periodically venture to New Braunfels to celebrate our German heritage.

This last trip war fantastisch (was fantastic) for two reasons: 1) Lots of our family members were there together, and 2) We had a blast at Friesenhaus Restaurant.

Coursing through my German veins is a passion for independently owned businesses in America. Perhaps it’s because of my heritage that I’m such a believer in living The Great American Dream.

Günter and Cornelia Dirks, came to New Braunfels from Germany with their family,  just six years ago. They had that same dream in their hearts. Their story is told well on the “About” page of their website. They planted their authentic restaurant in the old Krause’s location (an endorsement in itself) with the goal of helping to preserve the German heritage and traditions of the area.

Jagerschnitzel Lunch Special $8.99

There were 13 of us dining that Saturday evening, so we ordered just about everything on the menu. Since I didn’t want to hopscotch over everyone else’s plates, I sampled a few that we personally ordered. We were told the Schnitzels were all good, so we ordered the two most popular ones. These were  scrumptious. The prices tip-toed over our $10 mark in the evenings, so we shot a couple of pictures of lunch specials for you to

Zigeuner-Schnitzel Lunch Special $8.99

check out. I also tasted the sausage with sauerkraut and German potato salad. Sausage and sauerkraut make me think of my mama, so purely for that reason, I think it’s what I’ll order when I return.

The Dirks Family provides a really fun venue for the whole family on Friday and Saturday nights. The accordion player passes out lyrics to traditional songs for an old-fashioned sing-along. Once the accordion starts playing, children all come to the dance stage for a little

Family Friendly Live Music Friday and Saturday Nights

Kid-Friendly-Texas-Version-Polka Dancing (hardly recognizable to true polka enthusiasts, but clearly delightful for the kids).

Space limitations don’t allow me to tell you about all of the attractions at Friesenhaus, but there’s plenty of info to fill in the blanks on their website. Between the live German music, dancing, huge “Beer Boots,” gift shop, imported tea selection, bakery (did we mention Apple

Apple Strudel

Strudel?)  and good food, Friesenhaus is absolutely a family adventure you won’t want to miss.

Glücklich Essen! (Happy Dining)

The County Line Just Keeps on Giving!

The legendary County Line restaurant on I-10 has been a favorite for locals and tourists alike for over 20 years. The image of their family style platters heaped high with BBQ and all the fixin’s, compels me to grab the car keys, gather up the family, and head over for dinner.  

There’s no doubt that the County Line is hugely successful, but the company passes on their blessings in a variety of ways. The most notable is their free live music concert every Wednesday night. These concerts, held from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m., are designed to support the San Antonio Food Bank. All who attend are merely requested to bring a non-perishable food item or cash donation as their “admission fee”.  This page on their website, will provide the current concert schedule. Just click on the “Music Series” box for more.

We’re proud to list them as the sponsor of our Dad’s Day $50 dinner giveaway, too. $5Dining asked readers of our newsletter to participate in a recent survey. All contributors’ names were entered for the drawing for the feast at the County Line.

These folks know how to serve up Bar-B-Q the right way, with everything made fresh daily in-house.  If you haven’t been to the County Line yet, we assure you that the experience will be memorable. Oh, and don’t forget to top off your meal with some of their homemade ice cream!

Judd Walker, County Line

Stories aren’t behind just tips but behind managers as well.

Judd Walker is a manager at The County Line’s I-10 location. He has been with The County Line for around 35 years. He says he can’t count the years anymore and just goes by decades. For nineteen of those years, Judd and his wife have been foster parents. They foster infants from birth to six months or occasionally a year, and they usually have two at a time. I can’t imagine having two infants constantly for nineteen years. When I mentioned this, Judd just replied, “It’s not too hard if you like it.”

Judd and his wife got into fostering when they wanted another child. Some neighbors down the street were fostering, and they decided to try it. I asked Judd if they ever took a break from fostering. He responded that they did once for a few months. They had decided to stop fostering, but after a little while, they realized how much they missed it.

There’s always something to do, Judd said, the same as anybody else. They just channel it differently, into their kids. Judd smiled and said he still gets to golf once every week or two.

Annie
$5 Dining

Michelle’s Memory

Last week, all of my family was in town, so we made a trip to Jim’s. Our waitress, Michelle, was friendly and personable. She made us all feel welcome and cheerful after long days at work or driving.

Michelle has an amazing memory. She took all seven of our orders, including one relayed from my brother over the phone through my sister, but she didn’t write anything down. When my dad asked if she could remember everything, she recited back all of the dishes, including substitutions and got everything right. Michelle explained that she had been at work since 9am and could still tell us what people that morning had ordered!

I love getting to know wait staff when I go out. They are fun, interesting people and make the dining experience that much more enjoyable.

Happy dining!

Annie
$5 Dining

A Story Behind Every Tip?

When we ate lunch at one of the participating 5DollarDining.com restaurants today, we had a chance to chat with our waiter for a few minutes. It was interesting to hear how he had moved from a larger city to live next door to his daughter and her six children. The daughter is very ill and he helps care for the kids.

When he moved to San Antonio to work in restaurants here, he realized that he’d have to take a substantial pay cut, but the family relationships were a higher priority.

That brief conversation served as a poignant reminder that, especially in these economic times, our tips for the wait staff need to be considerate. They usually work just as hard for the $10 or $20 table as they do for the $30 or $50 table, and there’s often a story on the other side of the smile on your waiter’s face.

Happy Dining!

Added Jim’s Restaurants to $5Dining!

Hey guys,

Wanted to let you know that we have added Jim’s Restaurants to $5Dining this last week. If you live here chances are you have seen (probably even been) one of the restaurants. We love them.

Here’s a little bit of the Jim’s story…

In 1947, G. “Jim” Hasslocher opened a bicycle rental business at the front gate of Brackenridge Park. When summer arrived he started selling sliced, ice-cold watermelon next to his bike stand. This began the legend of Frontier Enterprise!

Soon Jim started selling charcoal broiled hamburgers at a stand which evolved into the first Frontier Drive-In. Today, Jim’s serves up a wide variety of delicious, traditional comfort foods for all meal occasions, with over two dozen selections under $5.00 and many more under $10.00! Now, as it was back in 1947, Jim’s aim is to provide his customers with the highest quality food at the lowest possible price. It was, and still is, an original idea with a loyal following. 

Mr. Jim and the Frontier Enterprise family would like to thank our loyal customers for over 62 years of good times and great food.

If you’ve been there you know the slogan and if you haven’t been there when you go you will see for yourself that “There’s Always Something Good Cookin’ at Jim’s!”

Happy Dining!