What's Old Is New Again
Sleepy San Antonio suburb transformed into Texas' newest dining destination
Driving through Cibolo 20 years ago, a quick glance around would have shown a small but growing town northeast of San Antonio. At the time, Cibolo was considered a bedroom community for the Alamo City, with many residents having to drive to many of their favorite local restaurants and shops.
As Cibolo continues to grow, with more residents and businesses driven by the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and economic growth along I-35, so too does its entertainment sector. Today, residents and visitors of this sleep suburb have quite a few homegrown dining and retail options, many of which can be found on old downtown's Main Street. And they’re all a short walk or bike ride from each other.
Kindling Texas Kitchen
Thanks to the tenacity of owners/chefs Gwyn and Justin Hammerson, Kindling Texas survived the aftermath of a fire on its opening night last December. With its rustic interior, the restaurant adds an intimate dining experience in old downtown Cibolo.
Located in a century-old craftsman home, Kindling Texas focuses on traditional regional cuisine, serving up dishes such as chile relleno, wild boar patty melt, blackened red fish, and tinned smoked oysters. Ingredients are sourced from Texas farms, ranches and the Gulf Coast, and cooked over a wood-fired grill. The bar program rounds things out with Texas-inspired cocktails, and Texas craft beers and wines. 209 N. Main St.
1908 House of Wine and Ale
Fans of wine or craft beer will fit in right at home here. Like its neighbor Kindling Texas, 1908 fills a refurbished century-old house that was part of one of Cibolo’s original neighborhoods.
1908 offers an inviting, relaxing setting where visitors can enjoy themselves surrounded by a modern farmhouse vibe and ample seating inside and outside. The kitchen serves up a range of snacks and small plates, such as deviled eggs, fruit and cheese plates, and salami with fennel pollen and pink peppercorn, and artisan cheese sourced from Austin’s Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.
And, ah yes, the beverages. Patrons can peruse more than 50 craft beers, including 15 on tap, and 70 types of wines. Hosting live music, tastings, and other events, 1908 has become a destination for longtime residents and newcomers alike. 207 N. Main St.
Old Main Ice House
Located in a renovated 1920s building, two large garage doors give way to a spacious, open-air bar that features the traditional icehouse backdrop, complete with pool tables, arcade and lawn games, and covered patio. Bar offerings include numerous craft beers in bottles, cans, and on tap.
Visitors also have access to a rotating number of food trucks that park around the large backyard that can accommodate big casual crowds or events such as live music performances.
The Old Main website keeps folks updated on what food trucks, drink specials, and other activities they can expect to see. Want Old Main to yourself for a day? The venue is available for private functions, from weddings to fundraisers. 110 N. Main St.
Catalano’s Pizzeria has been on Main Street longer than some of its neighboring businesses and has built up a nice following as a casual stop for budget-friendly, New York City-style pizzas, and a variety of pasta dishes and sandwiches. They deliver food, too.
However, the most raved-about menu items are the trio of calzones: a simple spinach and ricotta, a veggie version with tomatoes and mushrooms, and a meaty pie stuffed with ham and pepperoni. 102 N. Main St.
Though Harmon's now a fixture in downtown Cibolo, owner Ray Harmon began his culinary career barbecuing and selling meals from his truck roadside.
The meats at Harmon’s are pit-smoked at the restaurant, and are served by the plate and the pound. Enjoy the food at one of the picnic-style tables in a family-friendly, relaxed environment. (Strangely enough, like Kindling Texas, Harmon’s BBQ also survived a fire to become one of the more popular barbecue joints in the area.) 102 S. Main St.
Emily’s Place Coffee Shoppe
Tucked away in a refurbished house in between Catalano’s and Harmon’s is Emily's Place. The former house had once been a bakery that the owners bought and spent two years renovating before it became the current coffee shop.
The interior truly feels like someone’s home, full of warmth and character along with a range of fresh pastries, coffees, specialty espresso, frappes, tea, smoothies, whole cakes, and other cold and hot drinks. There are gluten-free options, too, and the free Wi-Fi make Emily’s a cozy, quiet place to enjoy a good book, do some studying, hang with family or a friend, or just catch up on some work. 100 N. Main St.
Most of the time, Noble is an event center available for almost any group activity. On Friday nights, however it’s the place to party. Noble offers an upscale lounge experience with various beers and spirits along with food trucks and a live DJ. There are drink specials and bottle service, as well as specially themed evenings. 203 S. Main St.
All told, everyone from young professionals to families have plenty of fun things to do in downtown Cibolo, day or night. How things have indeed changed.