Friday, February 10, 2012

Alamo Cafe- 14250 Hwy 281 North, 78232

In my opinion some of the best Tex-Mex that San Antonio has to offer. We have grown to love the Alamo Cafe ever since we moved here, and it has become a place we frequent, and when people come to visit, it is a must on the to-do list. They pride themselves on good priced, family friendly, and relaxed dining, and more often than not they deliver.

Atmosphere: B+

We have been at all different hours of the day, on weekdays and weekends. Rarely do you have to wait for a table. The restaurant is large and they have plenty of seating. If you do have to wait though, as long as it's a nice day the outdoor area isn't bad to hang out in, but the indoor area is small almost like a larger hallway, and it can be difficult to keep your kids out of people's way. The Alamo Cafe is pretty clean, I have always been sat at clean table's and overall the restaurant is well kept. Sometimes the high chairs are dirty, I usually wipe them down with my own antibacterial wipes. The level of noise in this place is high. The floor is concrete, the ceilings are high, and if your child is testing the volume of his voice, no one is going to care, a huge bonus, I hate getting "the look" when your kids are babbling on in their not so 12 inch voice. Another plus for the Alamo Cafe is that they have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating overlooks a large grass area with a river and waterfall. Good for both the sprouts and ripe ones.

Service: B-

This is an area that is overall strong, but can be less than desirable if they are reaching full capacity. Most of the servers engage with the kids on a limited basis, to get their order and to serve the food. When they are busy, you can tell that the staff has been trained to be courteous and efficient. They are working to get people fed and out the door, and sadly sometimes it shows. When they are not jam packed though, you are encouraged to dine at leisure and enjoy the meal and drinks. They are excellent at busing the table as the meal goes along, clearing out dishes that are finished and refilling drinks that are approaching empty. I have had a couple of servers that have set a hot plate in front of my kids, so just get your cat like reflexes tuned up when they deliver the food. In all the time that we have gone, the service has been mostly positive, they hire a lot of young adults, so they aren't savvy on all the things to do with kids, so basically they are the norm.

Value: A

The Value at the Alamo Cafe is one of the brightest spots there. The meals are very reasonable priced. The portion sizes of the meals are appropriate, not too small, but not an overabundance. The quality of the food is good, not overdone, tastes good without a lot of flair. They do provide a drink with the meal as well, and they come in kids cups to minimize the spill factor. They also have the Young Defenders Club, you can sign up your tot and when you get 6 meals the next is free.

Selection: B-

There are two sections that the kids can order from, a Tex-Mex section and then All American Favorites. I appreciate the two categories, it can be difficult to get a toddler to get down on an enchilada sometimes. There are six options in each subdivision, which gives you some choice and variety. They are not the healthiest of all, which is why they earned the B-. I know kids don't usually go for the healthy choice, but if you offer it, you may be surprised, grilled chicken can go a long way. Their drinks selection is the usual, soft drinks, lemonade and milk.

Entertainment: B

This grade can be raised depending on the weather. If you have the option to dine outside, take it. The outdoor dining area is a great place for kids to get some energy out without annoying other patrons. The backside of the restaurant has a large open area that is grassed with a water feature. It is nice to let the kids get some energy out while you can sit, relax and watch them comfortably. The do provide kids menus and crayons, but if you are sitting outside the tables are permeable and don't allow for coloring on them. Inside they are a welcome distraction, and can keep your children occupied until the food shows. There is usually very little time in between ordering and food delivery, so it is nice that they don't get bored.

Bonuses:
-Young Defenders Club-free kids meals after 6 punches
-Open almost all year, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter
-Their tortillas and queso are simply amazing, and you can buy them to take home.

Overall the Alamo Cafe receives a B+. We have been loyal patrons for years and have plans to continue in the future. I applaud them on their family friendly environment, and good food without a high price tag.

-Thomas Troop and Sitzman Clan

Alamo Cafe on Urbanspoon

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