San Antonio chef Johnny Hernandez, the force behind the city’s Mexican mainstays La Gloria and The Fruteria, is opening two new casual restaurants on the Riverwalk’s Mission Reach. Villa Rica will serve seafood and ceviche, while Burgerteca will focus on custom burgers made with Mexican spices, and will include a standalone ice cream stand. The restaurants are set to open at 423 Blue Star in early 2018 and then later in November, respectively.
Burgerteca’s menu will incorporate flavors like chile, mole, and al pastor into burgers. For example, the Oaxaqueña burger is dressed with mole negro, black bean spread, pickled onions, avocado, and queso fresco, while the Pacifica is seared tuna topped with chipotle-lime mayo, cabbage slaw, sesame seeds, avocado, and tomato. The restaurant will also have a full bar, with emphasis on using Mexican rum cocktails.
Burgerteca’s ice cream shop will include a variety of frozen treats: paletas (fresh fruit popsicles), nieves, (traditional Mexican ice cream), and raspas (shaved ice). There will also be buñuelos, a kind of dessert nacho with ice cream and chocolate fudge.
Villa Rica’s specialties include ceviche and Mexican seafood, like Gulf shrimp aguachile with serrano peppers, lime and cilantro broth-marinated shrimp, cucumbers, and red onion. The coastal Latin-inspired cocktail program will feature a mojito bar, along with pisco sours and Mexican and South American wines.
Chef Johnny Hernandez, a San Antonio native, is known as a powerhouse in Mexican cuisine, having made appearances on several television shows (Top Chef, Man Fire Food, Bizarre Foods), and cooked in the White House for President Obama. He currently heads three restaurants (The Fruteria, El Machito, and La Gloria, which also has a location in Las Vegas), a catering company (True Flavors), and an event space (Casa Hernan).