Since we were already on Broadway just south of Alamo Heights anyway, I suggested to my wife that we pull into the famous Pig Stand and get some, since we had never been in before. Over time, we have been trying to hit all the famously talked about places in San Antonio, just so we know what people are talking about, and once again, I'm sorry to report that we were underwhelmed.I used to listen to ol' Ricci Ware over on KTSA radio and for years, I heard him yammer on about the Pig Stand on Broadway. There are, in my opinion, some slight exaggerations that have been associated with this place. For example, they say it was the first drive-in in the world, but in reality, I think maybe the chain of Pig Stand restaurants started drive-ins, not specifically this one in San Antonio. Ditto for the invention of onion rings. None of that should matter of course, regardless of the hype, if the place is good, I'm all for it.When we first walked in I was immediately pleased with the appearance. Think Richie and Fonzi and Potsie and Ralph Malph; the Pig Stand looks just how I imagined the diner in Happy Days. The black and white checkered floor, booths with juke boxes and a counter for folks that want to eat at the bar gives the place the authenticity of, well, a place that has been around since before the 50's. You can just imagine all the hijinks that took place inside the Pig Stand back when teenagers hung out because there was nothing to see on TV, no Internet to blog with and no cell phones to endlessly text with.
Even if the place looked a little musty, I liked the atmosphere and was really looking forward to the famous onion rings and the pig sandwich. My wife didn't seem as impressed as I did. She said it smelled greasy, but not as greasy as Good Time Charlies. I think that maybe after a place has been standing for so long, there is probably nothing you can do to get the smell out, short of tearing it down and starting over. Consider Earl Abel's that was once just up the street on Broadway. That place had been going non-stop for years. They sold the property for some new condos, and moved a few miles away and opened up a fresh and clean version of the diner and it smells pretty good. Sometimes, you just gotta shake things up.On the other hand, These are actual photos taken of the vents above our eating area in - and what's in a name anyway - The Pig Stand. I think Pat Morita would turn in his grave.We did like all the pig figurines and ceramics around the place and aside from the vents, the place was reasonably clean. Like I say, just old. And I have eaten in so many newer hole-in-the-wall type places, that really, this was no cause to lose an appetite.The first thing we had to have was the onion rings. We weren't sure of how the orders come out, so I asked for the 1/2 and 1/2 - part fries and part onion rings. Hopefully, nothing I write here will deter you from going and getting an order of these onion rings. They were top notch - really huge and fat, and they were great. Had I realized we were only getting three to split between us, I would have gotten the full order. Having said that, the fries were okay. Not bad at all, but again, I'd take the rings over the fries any day.My wife ordered a Club sandwich and it was also very good. I know because I helped her finish it. And of course, it would have been helpful if I had realized she was getting fries with the Club and I would have gone with the full order of onion rings. Did I mention I liked the onion rings? Of course, being at the Pig Stand, I had to try the Pig Sandwich. The bun was very fresh and nicely grilled to get that perfect base for any good burger or sandwich situation. But when they brought it out on a full sized plate, I was a little shocked at the size (considering the price). It comes with some sauce and I think some relish on it which makes for an okay combination I wouldn't have thought of. In the end, I was not impressed at what I assumed to be the signature Pig Stand sandwich.
Here is what I suggest if you are in the area. Go to the Pig Stand and try the onion rings. Then, go back up Broadway and cut through Brackenridge Park and head over to Augies Barbed Wire Barbeque, and order up one of their Pulled Pork sandwiches. You'll thank me for it later.
By the way, I spoke with Mary Ann, the new owner of The Pig Stand. She has a very interesting story in that, she was an employee for 40 years or so. When the son of the original owner had issues with the business, Mary Ann was able to take it over and keep it going. You have to admire her love for the place. Learn more by visiting her web page here.
And you can see all the pictures on the Flickr Page.
About Your Host
- San Antonio, TX, United States
- I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.
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