Story and photograph by Pamela Price
This story originally appeared in the Leon Springs Community News, July 2010 edition.
Live music has been part of the Leon Springs community at least since the days when locals and Camp Stanley soldiers mingled at the old “B-29 Club.”
Recently and as the community has become suburban in character, a crop of new restaurants pairing music and food has appeared. Of these, the majority are open-air, family friendly venues that provide residents of all ages a chance to enjoy live performances under starry skies.
To help readers explore the combo food and music scene better, we’ve put together this overview of neighborhood hotspots. For more detailed information on upcoming musical acts–including ticket prices, please visit the venues’ respective websites except where noted.
Leon Springs Dance Hall – The big, eye-catching barn went up alongside IH-10 in the early 1990s, giving then-upstart musicians like The Dixie Chicks a place to perform. Things at the dance hall have been comparatively slow the last several years, but that will change in August. Thanks to a new booking agent, the venue will feature local and national acts Thursday through Saturday evenings. Owner Richard Ojeda promises Sundays will be family friendly with cheap eats, snow cones, popcorn and a moon bounce, too. 24135 W IH-10 • 210-698-7070 • http://www.leonspringsdancehall.com
Scenic Loop Cafe – A popular, award-winning destination restaurant situated on the grounds of George Strait’s own San Antonio Rose Arena, the cafe features a hill country-inspired menu (enchiladas, chicken fried steaks and burger) plus a large, lushly landscaped patio with stage. Yes, there’s an outdoor bar, but there’s also a children’s playscape on the opposite end, making Scenic Loop Cafe a particular favorite with families. Weekends are packed with locals and out-of-towners eager to dine al fresco and hear acts such as Neverly Brothers Trio, Scooter, and Roberta Morales, all of whom are scheduled in coming weeks. 25615 Boerne Stage Road • 210-687-1818 • http://www.scenicloopcafe.com
Mi Casa Tamales Restaurant and Cantina – By day, the cluster of buildings tucked into a grove of trees is unassuming. Sure, folks can stop in for tasty Tex-Mex lunches, but what really seems to lure the locals out in their pickups, Jaguars and minivans are the evening music performances. Recent acts include Ro-Tel and the Hot Tomatoes, Curtis Grimes, Asleep at the Wheel, and Vinyltones. Singer-songwriter (and actor) Clint Black takes the stage in August. Note that some performances are free, others require tickets be purchased in advance. 2593 W IH-10 • 210-698-6672 • http://www.tamalesmicasa.com
Fralo’s Art of Pizza – Leon Springs’ own outdoor pizzeria is renowned for its one-of-a-kind pizzas, salads, and laid-back Texas style. The business takes pride in being both family and pet friendly. When the weather’s nice–and this being Central Texas, that’s much of the year, musicians take to the small outdoor stage. In late July, Fralo’s welcomes the Navasota String Band, among numerous others. Almost every evening this summer features a live performance. Plus, the restaurant now sells beer and wine and will have a section of the patio reserved for folks who just want to sip and listen. 23651 W IH-10 • 210-698-6616 • http://www.fralos.com
The Grill at Leon Springs – Critics near and far have lavished praise on “The Grill” for the eatery’s eclectic and memorable entrees, but there’s also live music on offer Thursdays through Saturdays. Recent acts include Stan Wayne and Harry Wurzbach & The 410s. Hungry, but not in the mood for a full meal? Then consider an assortment of delicious and budget-wise tapas, the traditional Spanish cocktail-hour food. Since the atmosphere here is more upscale (read: grown-up), The Grill is a solid choice for date night, anniversaries and other special occasions. 24116 W IH-10 • 210-698-8797 • http://www.leonspringsgrill.com
Willie’s Icehouse – This Houston-based chain works hard to project a “local hangout” vibe through its menu, kiddie sandbox, and rustic interior complete with the tin ceiling and a beer bottle chandelier. Yet it’s the live oak-shaded patio and weekend live music that root it in Northwest San Antonio best. Upcoming acts include Brent Michael Wood, David Fenley and Miles Smith. Although it can be tricky to find the names of act on the chain’s website, local patrons can ask to sign up for the local restaurant’s E-club or fan the Facebook page. 24200 W IH-10 • 210-698-6017 • http://www.williesrestaurants.com
• A Scene from the Loop (blog post)