Like most of our spots in San Antonio, we begin at the Pearl Brewery. About a month ago we were heading out after a coffee run and saw a sign the outside of a building that read ‘Down on Grayson – Coming Soon’. My hands immediately found my phone so I could start following the journey of this restaurant, and find out when the Pearl’s newest gem was set to take the stage. Brought to us by the same family who own Texas favorites like Gruene Hall and Josephine St., they set the bar high through their sneak Instagram posts about their 70ft-tiled bar and their floor-to-ceiling arched windows. Down On Grayson was shaping up to be a brunch-ers dream. They picked the perfect week to open, smack dab in the middle of San Antonio’s Christmas in April – aka Fiesta. You can find the whole city downtown, and that traffic was front-row when we stopped in Saturday.
The space was warm and welcoming – and when presented with the choice to sit outside or in, we were faced with a crossroads. This is the one place sitting outside in Texas doesn’t feel like a punishment – They have a wonderful patio, equipped with picnic-style benches and black and white striped umbrellas. On the opposite side you can find a walk-up bar, and while you’re waiting for your spicy margarita why not play a round of cornhole. Oh, you heard correctly – cornhole (see picture if this is a foreign language to you). But we opted to sit inside not only for the scenery, but knowing that we sometimes get a little sassy when we sweat.
Down on Grayson was abuzz with first-time visitors and Fiesta patrons. The staff was attentive and helpful when deciding what to pick off of their simple menu full of well-made classics, with the usual Tex-Mex influences you find an abundance of in San Antonio. I had to have one of the delicious Bloody Marys with a spicy base and a myriad of garnishes. A Bloody Mary for brunch (or breakfast or dinner … or snack) is one of my favorites, and the spicier the mix is … the better. Patricio started with a mimosa – fresh orange juice and a generous spritz of champagne. But the real winner of his day was the Kentucky Lemonade – bourbon, fresh strawberries, bitters and lemon juice. If there was ever a ‘Summer Patio Drink' – this is it. Sweet and refreshing, but with all the strength bourbon can muster.
Our entrée choices only lived up to the hype – The Crispy Chicken sandwich was a more than generous helping of panko-crusted chicken, with a balsamic-dressed salad and provolone atop a fresh bun. Patricio had the JK Club – the freshest meats, cheese and veggies piled high and cut into fours. We shared the crispy onion rings – and if you know our rules on ketchup (only exception being Grayze), you know we asked for different sauces. We tried the sriracha mayo and the cilantro ranch, which only accentuated the deep-fried heaven these crispy, thin onion slices were bringing us. For dinner we’d try some of their upscale House Features like their Prime NY strip or Market Fish.
Down on Grayson is already shaping up to be a local favorite. It’s at a great location within the Pearl, San Antonio’s best hot spot with Hotel Emma gaining national attention. Locals, tourists and transplants will all find something to love about Down on Grayson from the food to the ambience. So what are you waiting for? Head down to the Pearl and grab a seat on their outside bar. This is sure to be one of our summer mainstays – Hope we catch you there!