San Marcos Stars
Rose Garden China Bistro offers a variety of Chinese cuisine and dishes at a price ideal for Texas State students and San Marcos residents. It has earned the Best Asian Restaurant honor in the San Marcos Stars poll.
Manager Ellena Chen said she is “full of excitement.” She is hoping the recognition as best Asian restaurant will bring Rose Garden an increase in business from the students and citizens in the San Marcos area. Chen said all of the staff has worked very hard and is sure they feel just as thrilled as she does.
Matthew York, music studies junior, said the service is the best thing about Rose Garden.
“They are really respectful and they are just nice people,” York said.
When it comes to a night out with friends for drinks and a good atmosphere, residents voted Harper’s Public House as the best nightlife attraction.
Located on The Square, Harper’s boasts a jukebox, five widescreen televisions and three bars combined into one building.
“With Harper’s you have three bars. You have the sports bar downstairs, then you have a second story bar called Slackers, and you have our newest addition, the Veranda,” said Harper’s general manager Shaun Neal. “No other place in town has three bars in one.”
Neal said the bars are alumni owned and are open to anybody 21 and up.
Harper’s has a variety of drinks ranging from regular draft beer to margaritas and a mixture of tequila. Every Monday and Tuesday they have $2.50 well and domestic drinks. On Friday and Saturday Harper’s offers $3.50 bomb shots.
“We have all kinds of shots, margaritas of your choice and of course, as I mentioned earlier, three bars in one,” Neal said.
Residents have voted Saltgrass Steak House as the best of its kind in the San Marcos Stars poll.
Saltgrass, located at 211 Sessom Drive, has been in business for a little more than five years and is now thriving. With a casual attire atmosphere, customers can have their meal in the inside dining room or outside on the open patio seating overlooking the San Marcos River.
According to the company’s website, the steakhouse recaptures the flavor of open campfires with their chargrilled steaks, chicken and seafood.
Natalie Horton has been a trainer at Saltgrass for more than two years. As a trainer, Horton is a hostess as well as a waitress and bartender, and stocks the shelves behind the bar. Horton said she enjoys working for the company.
Kent Finlay made a dream into a reality in June 1974 when he first opened the now legendary honky-tonk Cheatham Street Warehouse. The music venue has helped kick-start the careers of music legends George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Finlay bought his first guitar during freshman year of high school and began writing songs. He moved to San Marcos in 1959 and attended Southwest Texas College. Finlay earned his bachelor’s degree in English and later got a master’s in education.
Finlay leased a run-down warehouse along the railroad tracks on Cheatham Street with his business partner Jim Cunningham and brought a new era of music to the City of San Marcos.
The Taproom Pub & Grub located on The Square has received the San Marcos Star award for “Best Burger” for the third year in a row.
Taproom manager Brazos Pape said he is proud of the award, and thankful toward the cooks who make the patties fresh every day.
“They do all the work, I just take all of the credit really,” Pape said.
The Taproom menu offers nine different burger options, all available with a veggie patty substitution.
Pape said the “Guacamole Queso Burger” is the favorite among customers. Anthony Gonzalez said he agrees with Pape, as he took a bite of the beloved burger.
Gonzalez, psychology junior, said he comes to the Taproom for the atmosphere, and he feels the San Marcos Star award is well deserved.
Cajun Cruiser has gone from anonymity to being voted the best trailer hitch dining in San Marcos in eight months.
The Cajun Cruiser came to San Marcos on April 1 and has been expanding ever since. This award-winning trailer came to San Marcos after owner Jon White decided he wanted to prepare Cajun food for the community.
“I’m 26 years old and knew that I had worked long enough for me to start my own business,” White said. “I want to start my own thing because I knew that the San Marcos community did not have any Cajun food around town.”
Cajun Cruiser began at Mimi’s Trailer Park and moved to the parking lot of Fuschak’s BBQ. White said he hopes to take its food to the next level. Starting next month, the trailer will be serving its food at Bobcat Nation Sports Bar and Grill.
As soon as they walk into Garcia’s Mexican restaurant, customers can’t help but feel at home.
The restaurant’s walls are filled with pictures that represent the Hispanic culture and festive music can usually be heard playing softly in the background from speakers.
Salena Ybarra, the restaurant’s owner, opened Garcia’s twenty-three years ago in the fall of 1988 with the encouragement of family friends.
It has since evolved into a favorite among students and residents who appreciate Garcia’s budget-friendly menu and fresh food.
When Yuliya Melnikova and Lauren Hickman, math education doctoral students, heard Wake the Dead Coffee House had been voted the best coffee shop in San Marcos, neither said they were surprised.
“It’s a really good place to hang out. The coffee is good. There’s a laid back environment, and there’s quirky decor,” Melnikova said.
Hickman and Melnikova first frequented the shop in fall 2011, when they started attending Texas State.
“We haven’t found another coffee shop worth going to,” Melnikova said.
Melnikova enjoys Wake the Dead’s hot teas, as well as their dark chocolate mocha, which she said is great both iced and hot.
Zelicks was voted a San Marcos Star again, this time for its happy hour.
Zelicks offers a casual environment where patrons can play one of the various assorted games, socialize with friends, enjoy a cold brew or even catch some sun on the patio.
Patrick Vernor, mass communications junior, said he thinks Zelicks is the best bar in San Marcos because of the drink specials and the types of beer served.
“They have the best beer selection I’ve ever seen,” Patrick Vernor said. “The Texas beers are what I like. That is why I come here.”
Sean Vernor, education sophomore, said he learned about Zelicks from his twin brother. He said he prefers more of a relaxed atmosphere versus a club, and Zelicks is the perfect place for him.
“We played pool and washers,” Sean Vernor said. “It’s really open and a chill place to be.”
Among San Marcos’ liquor lovers, those who seek class prefer Spec’s.
In addition to its South Austin location, Spec’s owns Gabriel’s Wine and Spirits off Interstate 35 near the outlet mall.
“I like good prices, but I also like a sales staff that’s knowledgeable about the products,” said Ana Juarez, 56-year-old San Marcos resident and associate professor of anthropology at Texas State. “I like it when they have tastings too.”
Spec’s is armed with a wide selection of products and sales associates who are knowledgeable and strive for customer satisfaction, giving the chain a leg up on smaller retailers.
However, one doesn’t have to be a king or queen of the liquor world to shop at Spec’s and appreciate its quality. Those on a budget, like college students, can fulfill their needs without emptying wallets.
“No college student is going to be a connoisseur. They’re looking for the cheapest prices,” said Aaron Rogers, graduate student.