1425 North Main St.
San Antonio, TX
Visited October 18, 2010
Beer selection: A decent variety of Texan and Mexican beers.
Food: Burgers and bad chili for light-in-the-loafers Texans.
As much as I travel for business, I don’t think twice about pulling up a barstool and dining alone in a strange city.
Dive bar. Bad part of town. Blue collar. White collar. No collar – you’ll find me with a beer in hand, eating the house specialty, whatever that may be.
However, Luther’s did remind me of one recurring…let’s just say…concern.
Concern that I might stumble into the wrong place in the wrong part of some big bi-coastal metropolis.
Beyoncé videos playing on the flat screen instead of Monday Night Football and nothing but dudes in the place.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t… a concern.
But certainly not here deep in the heart of Texas – land of the cowboys, longhorn steers, 72oz. porterhouses, 350lb offensive linemen, and the legends of manly men who died fighting for liberty.
This isn’t Vermont. This is the great nation of Texas, gosh darnit!
And Luther’s Café certainly doesn’t give off anything but that manly Texas-proud vibe.
It’s a Route 66 themed open air roadhouse known for beer and giant burgers.
Just my kind of place.
But my first concern…was that the entire waitstaff was male – at least in the biological sense.
However, the way they pranced around, you’d think they were auditioning for the sequel “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: Slumber Party!”
I mean, I have yet to meet a FEMALE that acts … that …feminine.
What is the deal? Sam Houston and Davey Crockett are rolling in their graves.
Sure, the bartender was a little strange, but I hadn’t really put the whole sisterhood thing together until it was too late.
I had already placed my order for a cup of chili and the “Chipotle Ranch Burger” – which took FOREVER to come out of the kitchen.
The problem was, I didn’t have forever. I had exactly 40 minutes to wolf down my lunch and dash across town for a meeting so important, I flew halfway across the continent for it.
I really didn’t have the time – or patience – to wait for Snow White and her Seven Dwarfs to casually get around to bringing me my lunch.
By this point, even before I got my food, I knew I had made a poor choice. My instincts failed me this time. Luther’s looked cool on the outside. But in my mad dash to fill my narrow 40 minutes for daily sustenance, clearly I had erred.
Unfortunately, the chili didn’t do anything to change my mind.
For a place that has no trouble displaying its flamboyance when it comes to their staff, Luther’s sure makes a bland, tasteless chili.
It was awful – and $3.25 for about five bites? You’ve got to be kidding me.
It didn’t even taste like chili, more like childhood memories of my mother’s pot roast. Not good (sorry mom).
My burger finally came out almost 30 minutes after I ordered it. None of these “guys” were in much of a hurry. They were all too busy chatting about their hair or skintight jeans or whatever. I tried not to pay attention.
I had exactly five minutes to inhale my lunch before my drop-dead-I-have-to-get-out-of-here-to-make-my-really-really-really-important-meeting time.
To be honest, the burger wasn’t that bad. Topped with decent onion rings, a little ranch dressing and good thick bacon, it was better than average.
Of course, as fast as I ate it, I can’t really be sure.
As I looked around the bar and patio, I started to ease my mind a bit. The patrons were mostly normal looking couples. A few edgy college-aged types, but nothing that screamed, “You need to get the hell out of here — NOW!!!”
The décor didn’t cause much alarm either. Coca-Cola and beer signs and Texas license plates on the wall. All very Lone Star State. All very manly.
“Maybe I’m just being paranoid,” I thought as I crammed the last chunk of beef into my mouth and grunted for my prancing bartender to bring me the check.
Just as I started to feel a little better about the place, I made a mad dash for the men’s room to wash the burger grease off and make myself somewhat presentable.
And that’s when I saw it.
A poster with the unmistakable shape of Texas — done up in tell-tale rainbow colors. An ad for some sort of “gala” event I’m sure I wouldn’t be interested in attending.
You might expect something like that up the road in Austin, where the hipster mantra is “Keep Austin Weird.”
But deep in the heart of ol’ San Antone? Just a few miles from the Alamo?
Where Davey Crockett and 188 brave Texans chose to go down in a rain of fire than surrender to Mexican tyrant Santa Anna so that one day their fellow Texans would be free and independent?
Somehow, I don’t think this is what Davey and the boys had in mind.
Rating: Clean Grill With Shirt.