Esquire Tavern owner Chris Hill, who has been renovating the nearby Witte building on East Commerce Street for more than two years, has announced more details on the tiki bar and Asian restaurant he’s been planning for the 1890s Witte building rehab.
The river-level bar will be called Hugman’s Oasis, named after River Walk architect Robert H.H. Hugman, and the restaurant, House of Má, which will face Commerce.
Both are scheduled to open in “early 2021,” but no specific dates were given.
“We are particularly excited to add some depth and interest to not only the Riverwalk, but to the overall food and drink scene in San Antonio,” Hill said in a press release.
The tiki bar menu is being fashioned by veteran bar owner and operator Jeret Peña, beverage director and owner of the Boulevardier Group. Jill Giles, who’s designing both the bar and restaurant, hired tiki bar expert who goes by Bamboo Ben to design the hideout.
“We’re pairing craft cocktails with a relaxed atmosphere and it’s something that feels intrinsically ‘San Antonio’,” Peña said in a press release. Peña will also run the bar program at House of Má.
Louis Singh and Eric Treviño, the partners behind Singh’s Vietnamese restaurant on the St. Mary’s Strip, will run House of Má, and will mostly Vietnamese food such as chicken pho, but also a Cambodian soup called Hủ Tiếu.
“House of Má is going to focus on Vietnamese homestyle cooking,” Singh said. “This is the type of food that has been passed down from Vietnamese mothers and grandmothers for generations.”
In a previous interview, Hill said the upper floors of the Witte would be turned into micro-apartments. Public upgrades include an new public stairway and elevator at Commerce and the River Walk.
For the rehab of the Witte building, Hill has received a portion of a $5.3 million grant from the Houston Street Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, as well as a Riverwalk Capital Improvements Reimbursement Grant worth up to $1 million for the stairway and elevator, and $958,000 in other incentives from the city.
Tiki bar, Asian restaurant, apartments part of Witte building restoration
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