A True Neighborhood Bistro
True satisfaction when dining out comes when you leave a restaurant full, happy and you feel that your money was well spent. It is such a tremendous feeling to know that you were taken care of by people who truly care and love what they do. Such is the case with one of the most unique restaurants in San Antonio.
Outlaw Kitchens seats only 28 diners, and it is usually packed. This tiny and adorable restaurant is housed in the front section of the residence of Chef Paul Sartory and his wife Peggy. It is surrounded by organic gardens and offers a beautiful patio for outdoor seating on those temperate nights that we love so much. Everything in the restaurant and the residence, was repurposed and built by Peggy herself. She is a dynamic lady with a warm and welcoming personality. Paul and Peggy bought the house on North Flores Street with the intention of creating an intimate restaurant where friends and neighbors could gather for a tasty meal without travelling too far.
Chef Paul creates the menus every Sunday with the freshest ingredients in mind. The restaurant is currently open from Wednesday through Saturday, and the menu changes every two days. Paul creates menus based on the season and the weather, and he takes menu planning very seriously. He states, “I put my menu together with the best that I can produce on that particular day.” He keeps the restaurant and the options to a minimum so that he can “touch everything” to make sure his guests have the best experience.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York, Chef Paul has had quite an impressive career. Raised in Pittsburgh, he taught at the CIA campuses in Hyde Park, Napa and most recently, he opened the CIA in San Antonio. He had the honor of working with Alain Ducasse in Monaco, and he represented the US at the Bocuse D’Or, one of the most prestigious cooking competitions in the world. He met his wife Peggy in New York and they have been together for ten years. Her former mother-in-law was an instructor with Paul at the CIA — that’s how they met.
Menus are posted on the Outlaw Kitchens website each week, and reservations are highly recommended. The restaurant has a huge following of regulars, with many of them dining there twice a week to sample both weekly menus. Each menu consists of an appetizer, two entrées (one meat dish and one vegetarian option), and your choice from three desserts. They offer a limited but thoughtfully curated selection of wine and beer, and you will definitely want to start your evening with their signature Lillet Sparkler.
One recent menu was inspired by Spain — Chef Paul created an lovely meal with a tapas sampler, paella, goat cheese macaroni and cheese, and profiteroles for dessert. It was a delightful meal full of flavor and cooked with love. The menus truly reflect what is in season, with a more produce forward and Mediterranean flavor for the summer months, and a heartier fare served in the winter months.
Beginning in 2020, Outlaw Kitchens will be open Thursday through Saturday, with the menu changing weekly.
This restaurant is a true gem, and the warm and friendly staff welcome you like family. Outlaws does take walk-in diners, but you will want to call ahead or email for reservations to secure your seat at the table.
In a city full of chain restaurants and high-priced culinary destinations, Outlaw Kitchens is truly one of kind — a quaint and comfortable neighborhood bistro where guests are treated like treasured friends.
By Meredith Kay
Photography by Janet Rogers