San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

An old building on Hutchison Street is undergoing renovations to accommodate Shy Inc.’s Louie’s Beer Garden and Seafood Shack, a Cajun restaurant. Black’s Barbecue has also announced plans to open a location in San Marcos and a company called Austin Street Tavern LLC has taken initial steps to build a brewery and upscale restaurant on a blighted stretch of S. LBJ Drive. MERCURY PHOTO by BRAD ROLLINS


Three new restaurants in San Marcos’ Central Business District are either under construction or in the planning stages, including Black’s Barbecue, the decades-old Lockhart favorite with a cultish following among smokepit pilgrims.

On Tuesday, the Planning & Zoning Commission rezoned two tracts of property at 500 and 520 Hull Street from industrial to mixed-use to accommodate Black’s planned new location next door to the former Texas Reds Steakhouse off S. Guadalupe Street. After renovations to an existing building are completed, the restaurant will total 4,300 square feet indoor and 2,800 square feet outdoors with 150 seats, according to site plans on file with City Hall.

Also on Tuesday, planning commissioners approved a six-month conditional use permit that presumably will allow Austin Street Tavern LLC to move forward with plans to build what it describes as an upscale restaurant, brewery and gelato shop on the site of the former Costumed Occasions at 150 S. LBJ Drive. The establishment is being called Aquabrew.

The building will total 12,000 to 14,000 square feet with a total of 300 seats, half of which are planned for an outdoor courtyard.

In recommending that planning commissioners approve the permit, city planning staff said the multi-million dollar investment could spur redevelopment on the deteriorating stretch of buildings that welcome visitors to downtown.

But two owners of a nearby office building at 110 E. San Antonio Street — who said they were speaking for other like-minded property owners on the south side of the square — said allowing Aquabrew to host outdoor music would set the scene for another nasty fight between longtime downtown property owners and new establishments with inherently noisy business models.

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10 thoughts on “Restaurant boomlet latest in downtown redevelopment

  1. I don’t get why Hohn has his knickers in a wad. Last I checked, there’s no live music during business hours – most every venue I’ve ever been to starts their shows well after sundown.

    It sounds like he just likes the sound of his own voice….a condition all too common among attorneys….

  2. Not trying to start anything with you Dano, but there are a LOT of dwellings in the immediate areas that are rented out. Seems enough to be cause for concern for property owners. Unhappy tenants who can’t sleep due to loud music/voices/cars wouldn’t be a good draw for making money going forward.

  3. Maybe those people shouldn’t choose to live on the square then….it’s been the unofficial “late night entertainment district” since long before I moved here (in 1998), and I can’t imagine that anyone who chooses to live there would be surprised to find out that there are bars there.

  4. Oh, and Reyna….thanks for the soft phrasing, please don’t apologize for simply disagreeing. You make a good point, and I hope my counterpoint was adequate. I do tend to be direct with my comments and I will enthusiastically defend my point of view, but I very rarely take any offense when someone wants to debate a point….my actual antipathy is reserved for a select few 🙂

  5. It’s cool Dano, and I appreciate what you are saying. I moved here in the mid/late nineties also and had friends who lived in several apartments around the square. While I enjoyed the nightlife back then I could never see the appeal of living in an area with all the noise. Even less so now. I noticed the upsurge in apartments built around the square in the last decade (and few years) and that is a little different than the old dwellings already there. Anyone who moves to a district frequented by drunk partiers at all hours of the night should expect noise. But if I owned or had built property for people to reside in, prior to a lot of outdoor music venues opening, I would be concerned. Regardless, I see both sides. Thanks for the feedback, btw. 🙂

  6. Hello San Marcos,

    I am the visionary behind AquaBrew (AB). I am a man on a mission, it is to help transform the restaurant industry in San Marcos, and find ways to elevate the dining experiences for our citizens. I have always been a big fan of great dining experiences and there are too few outlets in San Marcos. Ultimately, I dream of San Marcos as a dining destination, with many eclectic restaurants and great variety of culinary experiences. AquaBrew is one small step.

    AquaBrew is about is making things. From craft Ales and Lagers to culinary creations made from scratch ingredients, crafted by talented and passionate industry leaders.

    I invite you all to AquaBrew once it opens, as well as to communicate with me during our final planning stage. We are 1-2 months from a construction start, or 6-8 months from opening day, but I can’t be too sure. I can assure you that it will become a real part of our town before too long.

    I look forward to sharing my passion for great food, drink and dining experiences. Feel free to send me a message to my email

    Carlos Russo

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