As exciting as “new” can be, sometimes it’s nice to reminisce on all the places we used to frequent growing up in the 210 (or 512 in several places across the city over 25 years ago).
Here are some of our favorite places around town that give us that nostalgic feeling:
Earl Abel’s 🍽️
With almost 90 years of history in the Alamo City, this restaurant is a staple among San Antonians. You can always expect American comfort food like salads, burgers, sandwiches + desserts. However, it’s the crispy fried chicken that is the cause of this beloved eatery’s popularity, having won the award for San Antonio’s Best Fried Chicken from 2020-2022.
Earl Abel’s was family-run and owned for decades, until Earl’s son, Jerry Abel, decided to retire in 2006. It was sold to a separate owner and reopened in Austin Highway, where it operated for about 10 years until it changed locations again, this time in the Pearl district at 1639 Broadway. Earl Abel’s continues to serve San Antonians with great food for decades to come. Pro tip: You can also get your fix at Tech Port Provision.
If you grew up on the West Side, you might be familiar with the many record stores that filled your childhood with music. This is a locally-owned record store dedicated to preserving the West Side Sound — San Antonio’s musical heritage. The unique mix of Mexican-inspired music is filled with the sounds of Conjunto + Tejano genres along with others like rock n’ roll and jazz.
The Westside Sound was prevalent during the 1950s-70s, and it is now a cherished part of San Antonio culture. In fact, two UTSA professors have kickstarted The West Side Song Oral History Project in order to help preserve the music’s history. You can still visit the store at 700 Fredericksburg Rd.
How can we make a list of places that make us nostalgic without including The Deco District? This area is one of San Antonio’s most historic and beloved areas, with its name deriving from its own architecture: Art Deco buildings that line the street.
Here’s a bit of architectural history: Art Deco was a prevalent artistic movement in the US that spanned between the 1910s-1930s. Some prominent places that reside in the area include the Woodland Theatre, Centro Cultural Aztlán, Deco Pizzeria + Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.
Did you know that the iconic building next to the Torch of Friendship didn’t always house an AMC theater? If you’ve been living in San Antonio for a while, you probably know it as the original Joske’s Department Store.
This was a popular shopping destination for both San Antonians and tourists located in Main Plaza. Founded in 1869 by Julius Joske, a prominent Jewish merchant from Germany, the department store was an immediate hit. The store was eventually acquired by Dillard’s in 1987. Today, it is home to The Shops at Rivercenter that continues to bring in visitors from across the world.