It was a long time coming… five years, in fact. The long-awaited day finally arrived on July 19 when the ribbon was cut and the newest Margaritaville Cafe in the United States was open in San Antonio, Texas. This is the first Margaritaville to open in Texas and is operated by International Meal Company U.S. out of Brazil and is not owned by Jimmy Buffett. The original Margaritaville opened in Key West in 1987, but today’s new Margaritaville is a more corporate venture than Buffett’s first cafe.
The new Margaritaville San Antonio is located on the San Antonio River Walk and can seat up to 315 patrons. They will be open 365 days a year and will have live music everyday starting at 5:00 pm in the “Five O’Clock” outside bar. Inside the restaurant, live music will begin every night at 9:00 pm.
The menu is full of delicious items, including several types of cheeseburgers and the Volcano Nachos, which is a favorite menu item at all of the other Margaritaville Cafes. Of course, there is a lengthy menu of interesting margaritas and fun boat drinks from the bar.
The creators of the Cafe took care in adding touches of Texas in different areas of the restaurant. There is a “Texas” area, a “Surf” area and a “Tiki” area all represented in different parts of the decor.
The actual huge tiki bar inside is spacious and colorful and the outside “Five O’Clock Bar” actually sits out over the San Antonio river and is claiming to be the most spacious patio bar on the River Walk.
The Cafe has a host of enthusiastic wait staff and includes a few of the well-known “stilt walkers” that we see at Meeting of the Minds and at Jimmy Buffett concerts. These very tall ladies and gentlemen are adept in creating balloon hats for patrons to wear.
There is an elevator to the side of the front entrance that takes you upstairs to the second floor and opens directly into the Margaritaville retail shop. This store is filled with the typical tee shirts and hats, along with glassware and trinkets. On display in the front is their signature San Antonio shirt and I was told they will design a shirt for Fiesta, held in San Antonio every April.
At the July 19 opening, several of the members of the San Antonio Parrot Head Club were in attendance and a handful wore what I call “concert hats,” along with coconut bras and grass skirts, much to the amazement and delight of patrons not well-acquainted with actual Parrot Heads!
I found that the daily entertainment isn’t truly Trop Rock/Buffett based, but Trop Rock entertainers will play when they’re in San Antonio and can get scheduled. Donny Brewer and Jerry Diaz are the first true Trop Rockers to play on August 5.
With all the vacationing families and conventioneers who visit San Antonio year round, I predict the new Margaritaville will be a tremendous success. If you find yourself in downtown San Antonio, stop in and order a cold Landshark beer or “Perfect Margarita.” Tell your waiter you’re a Parrot Head and you should enjoy an extra helping of welcome!