Outdoor food, drink venues popping up east of downtown


San Antonio – Several new outdoor dining options are under construction or in operation adjacent to the Interstate 37 North access road just east of downtown.

Smoke BBQ+SKYBAR was one of the first to turn a vacant lot into a popular gathering spot. This place is said to have flooded the town with his UT football fans for the Alamo Bowl.

It has a large screen TV, live music stage, signature barbecue and cold snacks, and is next door to a two-story building under construction that offers better views of downtown San Antonio.

Adrian Gomez, who oversees the venue, said, “We were able to come here and really transform the space to make this beautiful skyline pop.

It didn’t hurt, either, that he and owner Adrian Gonzalez found the space much more affordable than their previous location.

Still, he admits it was difficult at first for people who were camping under Interstate 37 to experience homelessness in the area.

Today, their tent is just under one end of the historic Hayes Street Bridge, a few blocks from the outdoor venue.

Given her past experiences of being forced to move from one place to another, a woman named Ashley said she couldn’t help but feel. They don’t want us there. They don’t want us anywhere. ”

Ashley worries that she will have to move again, far from the nonprofit that provides places to eat and shower.

Dawn White Fosdick, president and CEO of the Christian Assistance Ministry, said her agencies and other nonprofits are managing the evolving situation in hopes of avoiding problems between clients and business owners. said it helps.

“I want to help people make the right decisions about how to deal with people who may have mental health issues if they come to my property,” Fosdick said. I said, how can I protect my property while still treating someone with dignity and respect?”

She said a group known as the McCullough Avenue Consortium was formed in response to growth in an area that had little business in the past.

Given what is happening now, Fosdick said: I encourage people to be hopeful and to be patient. ”

She said there are options on the horizon that take time and money.

Fosdick said thankfully $40 million in municipal bonds and federal funds will be used to build “permanent supportive housing” for people with disabilities and mental health issues. .

But for now, Fosdick says there’s a community-wide effort to try to address the overall problem.

Mr Fosdick said: , that too. “

Smoke BBQ+SKYBAR is one of the first restaurants to open on the nearby East Side, and Gomez says new business owners can take over from him.

“You have to give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them with respect,” Gomez said. Having a relationship makes coexistence much easier.”

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