Extreme heat taking toll on many San Antonio outdoor restaurants, businesses

Local outdoor restaurants, businesses trying to keep staff and customers cool

SAN ANTONIO – There’s no escaping it. Many outdoor businesses and restaurants are having a tough time adjusting to the extreme heat.

“You walk outside and you get punched in the face with this thick air,” said Terrin Fuhrmann, owner of Elsewhere Garden Bar and Kitchen.

Many local outdoor businesses are working on ways to keep up their bottom line and make sure they can serve their customers.

“We’ve definitely seen a drop in business. People are still coming out. We’re still getting a crowd, they’re just coming out later in the day,” Fuhrmann said.

Fuhrmann said they have not had to change hours, but with customers not wanting to be outside during the hottest parts of the day, they’ve adjusted staffing a little bit.

“We’ll cut people off if we’re not super busy, but thank goodness I haven’t haven’t had to let anybody go,” Fuhrmann said.

In an effort to keep their customers cool, Fuhrmann said they have around 100 misting nozzles and up to 20 fans on the property, and most of the seating is shaded.

Around the corner at the Pearl, people are finding any way to stay cool. Restaurants like Southerleigh said they are mostly keeping customers indoors and there are very few requests for outdoor seating.

“Between the construction and the heat, downtown is almost a ghost town,” said Ricky Ortiz, owner of El Camino Food Truck Park.

Ortiz said the food truck park is seeing a steep decline in business for various reasons.

“We’re down in revenue significantly. Somewhere upwards of like 70% or 80% with all the factors like traffic, construction and weather,” Ortiz said.

El Camino opens at 6 p.m. on certain weekdays to make sure customers are comfortable enough to enjoy some food and drinks outdoors. They open at noon Friday through Sunday.

“We have as many fans as we can get. Getting deeper into the summer, people have been able to bear it a little bit more. Weekends aren’t terrible. People still come out during the day. They just know to sit in the shade and get in front of a fan. You can sit out here for an hour or two and be fine as long as you stay hydrated,” Ortiz said

Ortiz said it’s typical if you own an outdoor restaurant or establishment to expect a drop in customers during the hot summer months.

This is really my first experience with a brutal hot summer, but it’s nothing new. San Antonio gets pretty hot during the summer. I think last year was fairly mild. This year was pretty hot,” he said. “I think anyone with an outdoor business, you kind of gotta figure that, but I just can’t wait for end of September, October for those nice 80 degree days.”

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About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.