Rarely do I visit a new restaurant (new to me, anyway) and really get excited. After tonight’s dinner, I’m kind of giddy! My family and I went to Orderup at the Colonnade (IH-10 @ Wurzbach) which bills itself as a Pizzeria, Taqueria, and Burgeria. I’ve seen advertisements for this place for a while but did not go until I read an article about gourmet burgers that featured a couple of paragraphs on the restaurant. What attracted me was the promotion of typically fast food made to order from scratch with healthy, fresh, and interesting ingredients. I am so glad we went.
The decor of the place is bright and minimalistic. They offer live music on Thursday through Saturday nights. The solo artist on our night played his version of popular covers and I appreciated that the volume was toned down, somewhat lounge-like, to allow for conversation.
The restaurant serves beer and wine which is only $2 when there is live entertainment (they should have told me when I placed my order, darn). In addition, they also serve breakfast, takeout, and I believe they may also deliver.
I only have two minor problems with this place, and I’ll start with the menu. I don’t have a problem at all with a minimal menu, as long as the restaurant does those few things well. However, the menu (on the wall at the ordering counter) is confusing at first. The order taker had to explain how to order. Essentially, you can get a 9″ pizza, an order of 3 tacos (beef, chicken, or fish), or a burger at a reasonable price (under $6). Each of these “bases” comes in a Veggie for $6.50. At the bottom of the menu is a very lengthy list of ingredients you can add to any of the three orders for only $0.25 each (when was the last time you went to a pizza joint where extras were only a quarter?). There are also two salads to choose from, fries, tortilla soup, and shakes. Once you understand the menu everything falls in place.
We ordered the fish tacos on corn tortillas which come with onions and cilantro and a side of red sauce and chipotle sauce. The fish is a moist, chipotle-marinated grilled tilapia that tastes great with nothing more than the fresh onion and cilantro it is topped with. The corn tortilla was lightly fried in order to hold its taco shape, but not be greasy. The red sauce is simply a blended pico de gallo (tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano pepper, lime juice) and the chipotle sauce has a very mild BBQ flavor, but retains its lightly smoky and spicy flavor.
My wife and I split a veggie pizza with grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, and black olives. My kids ate pepperoni pizzas (of course). This is one of the best fresh-made pizzas in town. The dough is made from scratch and reminds me of a very thin ciabatta bread, which is cooked in a brick-lined oven. The tomato sauce is unique and again, made from scratch. Tomatoes are cooked down until thickened, then blended and seasoned. Although it probably also contains the requisite onions and garlic, the result is a tangy/sweet, bright orange sauce that complements the bread and cheese well without overpowering either the taste nor the texture. My grilled vegetables were excellent and are a welcome change to the veggies normally found on pizza.
The service we experienced was incredible. The order taker was a vibrant, genuine individual that helped us understand the menu. Not only did he approach our table later to see how things were going, so did our waitress and even the dish washer came to see how we liked things. In addition, we got to meet the owner, David Galbreath, and his son, Coggin (turns out that our families have crossed paths in gymnastics). It was a pleasure to meet him and hear about his passion about using fresh ingredients and home-made recipies in his restaurants.
My second issue is that I feel the portions are small. I am not a big guy, but I burn a lot of energy. An 11″ pizza would be a little more satisfying for me. On the tacos, maybe a side of fries or slaw. I’ll try a burger or salad next time around and comment on my experience.
I, for one, will certainly return to try a few other things on the menu. If you are a visitor to San Antonio, stop by for a light lunch and you will be pleasantly surprised. If you are a local, restauranteurs like David should be rewarded for the food he creates by patronizing his stores. It is a standout in our fast food world with its fresh and savory food, and its refreshing service.