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La Gloria Brooks Rekindles Flame with El Machito Favorites

By Carolina Gutiérrez | Photos courtesy of La Gloria


Beloved San Antonio chef Johnny Hernandez is known for looking ahead, but one of his latest moves involves a delicious trip down memory lane.


La Gloria at Brooks City Base, Hernandez’s third iteration of his popular La Gloria concept, recently reintroduced some old favorites: mesquite-grilled dishes from his former Alamo Quarry restaurant, El Machito. The homecoming has been a hit, drawing a new crowd to the Southside, delighting the neighborhood, and rekindling a flame for longtime San Antonians.


El Machito, which translates to “The Little Macho Dude,” thrived from 2015 to 2017, captivating diners with its open-fire mesquite cooking. Chef Johnny, a San Antonio native with a love for authentic Mexican cuisine, saw an opportunity to bring that fire back.


“This isn’t just a menu expansion; it’s a homecoming,” says Chef Johnny. “I always strive to be responsive to what my neighbors want, and that was El Machito.”



El Machito



The return of El Machito classics, like house-grilled cabrito (baby goat) and Mexican-style grilled ribs, complements La Gloria’s existing menu of favorites like enchiladas, fresh guacamole, and sizzling queso fundido. Seafood options like Camarones Agua Chile (spicy shrimp) and grilled fish offer a refreshing counterpoint to the smoky richness.


La Gloria Brooks itself is a feast for the eyes. Indoors, colorful Mexican folk art lines the walls around the bright big picture windows and above the bar, while an expansive patio, big oak trees, metal folk art statues, and a big open grill beckon diners outdoors for al fresco fun. A full bar featuring signature margaritas, fruity, flavorful cold cocktails, and the finest mezcals and tequilas promises to mix things up in all the right ways. Giving guests a ringside seat to an exciting dining experience, two giant lucha libre Mexican wrestler figures stand in the center of the restaurant, looking like they’re ready to bring it on. The true centerpiece of La Gloria Brooks, however, is the mesquite grill, the beating heart of Chef Johnny’s El Machito philosophy. Here, over roaring flames, ingredients acquire a depth unmatched by conventional cooking.


The relaunch of El Machito is more than just a menu expansion; it’s a testament to Hernandez’s commitment to his roots and the city’s vibrant food scene. Whether a longtime El Machito fan or a curious newcomer, La Gloria Brooks promises a dining experience that ignites the senses and rekindles Chef Johnny’s El Machito magic.



La Gloria Chef



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