This fixture on Houston Street, next to the soon-to-be restored Alameda Theatre and the completed first phase of San Pedro Creek Culture Park, preserves history in its own unique way.

Rafael Ramirez, Owner and Head Chef of Café Alameda, is a graduate of the nationally recognized St. Philip’s College culinary arts program. It’s a little-known fact that St. Philip’s trains many of our local restaurateurs. Beyond the Tex-Mex fare, Rafael preserves local history through the trove of authentic posters and portraits that document a time when Mexican performing artists drew huge crowds to Teatro Alameda. 

Rafael Ramirez and Family (photo from 2019, pre-COVID)
Alejandra makes corn and flour tortillas from scratch

The Ramirez family is originally from Celaya, Mexico. Rafael says that Tex-Mex cuisine has deep roots in Mexican cooking, adapted to best utilize ingredients found in the area. Flour tortillas were used because wheat was easier to grow than corn up North. The Southwest U.S. and Northern Mexican States share an affinity for flour tortillas. Rafael’s sister Alejandra hand-makes all the tortillas (both flour and corn) every day, keeping the tradition alive. 

I love my restaurant. It allows me to have time for myself, for my family. That’s what San Antonio is all about: family.

Rafael Ramirez Owner, Café Alameda

"I love my restaurant,” Rafael says. “It allows me to have time for myself, for my family. That’s what San Antonio is all about: family.” Rafael recommends his biggest seller, the Mexican plate, to first timers. It comes with two enchiladas and a crispy taco. And Café Alameda offers daily specials during lunch. With fresh ingredients, culinary training, and a flare for traditional cuisine, Rafael has honed his offerings. He recounts one of the best compliments he can receive from a customer: “I love your picadillo, it tastes just like my mama made it.” 

Mexican Plate, the best-seller at Café Alameda

Cultura, historia, familia, y comida makes Café Alameda an undeniable gem of Downtown San Antonio. If you would like to support this small, family-owned business, visit them between 6am-2pm on weekdays at 342 W Houston St or call (210) 354-4414 for details on curbside pickup. 

Centro San Antonio's Main Street Economic Development Program is part of the City of San Antonio’s Recovery and Resiliency Plan. The Main Street Navigator team conducts outreach to micro and small businesses to provide support and connect them to critical capital and business development resources. If you own a business downtown, contact us at MainStreet@downtownsa.org. For more Main Street resources, please visit centrosanantonio.org 

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