New American and more: What's trending on San Antonio's food scene?

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. | Photo: Isaac C./Yelp
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. | Photo: Isaac C./Yelp (Photo: Isaac C./Yelp)

Food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending right now?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to deduce which restaurants have been getting a significant increase in attention this month.

To find out who made the list, we first looked at San Antonio businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots have the momentum heading into springtime.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Photo: chris a./Yelp

Open since 2006, this popular bar and traditional American spot, an outpost of the popular chain, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "American (Traditional)" on Yelp.

Citywide, traditional American spots saw a median 2.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Flying Saucer Draught Emporium saw a 3.2% increase, maintaining a strong four-star rating throughout. According to SafeGraph foot traffic data, the number of visitors to Flying Saucer Draught Emporium more than tripled over the past month.

This chain outpost is not the only trending outlier in the traditional American category: The Roo Pub has seen a 2.1% increase in reviews, and The Sandbox and Lone Star Cafe have seen 4 and 0.6% increases, respectively.

Located at 11255 Huebner Road, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium offers salad, soup, pizza and burgers, along with platters full of bratwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut and pretzels. (Check out the full menu here.)

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium is open from 11 a.m.–1 a.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon–midnight on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., and people visit Flying Saucer Draught Emporium most on Sundays and Saturdays, with a slowdown on Tuesdays.

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery + Bar

Photo: sameer s./Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Meadow Neighborhood Eatery + Bar, the well-established cocktail bar and Southern and breakfast and brunch spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp saw a median 2.1% increase in new reviews over the past month, Meadow Neighborhood Eatery + Bar bagged a 15.7% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a sound four-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.2 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.

What does this business focus on? "Meadow is seasonal. Texas. Southern." — that's from its Yelp page.

Open at 555 W. Bitters Road since 2018, Meadow Neighborhood Eatery + Bar offers French toast, steak & eggs and the Hill Country Breakfast with smoked brisket, eggs and potatoes on the brunch menu. Lunch options include the fried chicken sandwich and Gulf shrimp. (Explore the entire menu here.)

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery + Bar is open from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–9:30 p.m. on Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–9:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)

Palenque Grill La Cantera

Photo: Palenque Grill La Cantera/Yelp

Palenque Grill La Cantera is also making waves. Open since 2016 at 15900 La Cantera Parkway, the popular bar and Mexican spot, which offers seafood and more, has seen a 12.1% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.8% for all businesses tagged "Bars" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Palenque Grill La Cantera's review count increased by more than 480%.

For an overview of the business, we looked to the history section of its Yelp page. Here's what we found: "On Jan. 6, 1975, Juan Francisco 'Pancho' Ochoa created El Pollo Loco. On July 1, 1987, he opened the first Taco Palenque. On July 31, 2005, Pancho and his son Charles opened Palenque Grill in Laredo, Texas. The Ochoa family introduced Flerida Ochoa's (Pancho's wife) family recipes, creating a menu with excellent dishes of Mexican culinary traditions. We are delighted to be able to serve you now in Laredo, McAllen and San Antonio Texas."

Want more about the business's specialties in the words of the people behind it? We found this on Yelp: "Discover the flavors of Mexico. Each of our recipes are made with ingredients and traditional styles of each region and with products of the highest quality. We invite you to enjoy our friendly-family atmosphere and the romance of the piano, trio or mariachi. We are not responsible if you become addicted to our flavors!" — that's courtesy of founder J. Francisco Ocho.

Palenque Grill La Cantera offers enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, parrilladas, seafood and steak entrees. Look for the Matamoros tacos with two soft corn tortillas filled with sirloin, avocado and Panela cheese. Over the past month, it's maintained a healthy four-star rating among Yelpers. (Explore the entire menu here.)

Palenque Grill La Cantera is open from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.–11 p.m. on Sunday.

The Well Restaurant

Photo: christine w./Yelp

The Well Restaurant is the city's buzziest New American spot by the numbers.

The well-established bar, music venue and New American spot, which opened at 5539 Utsa Blvd. on 2016, increased its new review count by 5.9% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.4% for the Yelp category "American (New)." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 13.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

What does this business focus on? "Come to The Well for a taste of Texas. From our smoked meats to our Texas dancehall, you are sure to get the authentic flavors and hospitality unique to San Antonio. Craft cocktails, a scratch kitchen and live music create an ambiance that is perfect for a daytime family outing or a large corporate event." — that's according to its Yelp page.

The Well Restaurant offers comfort foods like chicken pot pie, barbecue plates and chicken fried steak. Go on Tuesday for tacos, trivia and drink specials. (Here's the entire menu.)

The Well Restaurant is open from 11 a.m.–midnight on Tuesday, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. on Wednesday-Saturday and 10:30 a.m.–2 a.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.