Well, I hate to give up one of San Antonio’s best kept secrets, but I am compelled to tell you about a place that I take my wife to for breakfast any time I can get a morning off. The Guenther House is located in the King William District, just south of downtown. It is the oldest historical district in Texas and is a fabulous place to go for a walk. The restaurant was the home of the Pioneer Flour Mill’s founder and was built in 1860 and is completely restored. It is one of the most serene places on the river, making a brunch on the patio a very relaxing experience. The restaurant and gift shop are open daily for breakfast and lunch, but it is the breakfast that has me coming back frequently.
On most mornings you will find a number of tourists as well as many local professionals taking in a slow morning with their colleagues. Be aware that on weekends and holidays, you can expect to wait as long as an hour if you arrive after about 9:30. Nevertheless, coffee is available while you wait and a stroll through the grounds makes things more enjoyable. Sitting inside is nice, but on a beautiful day you should sit outside. Heaters or misters make the temperature more comfortable and the birds always stop by looking for your crumbs. I’m a sucker for the same things here, so I’ll tell you what I am familiar with.
You should be happy with any of the pastries from the display case inside. I usually order the Peach Strudel which is warmed up before serving. The peaches themselves are sweet with just a hint of tartness and the dough is flaky and firm (makes my mouth water just thinking about it). The cinnamon rolls are big enough to not be stingy, and several other house-made pastries are delicious as well.
The pancakes are a good choice here, too. Yeah, everyone makes pancakes, some better than others. I would place these on the “better than” side. In fact, if you really like them you can buy the mix in the gift shop, or save some money and buy it at the grocery store where its available as well.
What keeps me coming back, though, are the biscuits and gravy, a pretty filling and satisfying meal by itself. The biscuits are dense and neither too doughy nor too crumbly. The cream gravy is chock full of a mildly spicy sausage and is doused with plenty of pepper. A plate of this with a warm peach strudel and a hot coffee will keep me full for a good portion of the day and keep a smile on my face.
Many locals I talk to don’t even know this place exists. However, once turned on to the good food and relaxing environment of The Guenther House, my friends easily put this on their list of places to go on special occasions. Its a great place for locals and visitors alike to experience the culture of San Antonio by tasting a piece of its history, and enjoying one of the most beautiful locations on the San Antonio river.