SAN ANTONIO-The Hoppy Monk comes from a happy place.
More accurately, it was born from happy places. Travel to pubs across the globe and hot spots in Mexico that speak to a new generation.
"We wanted to create something that was more of our own," Longoria said.
Longoria, 35, his brother Beto, and business partner Joseph Valenzuela opened The Hoppy Monk in El Paso in 2010.
If you subtract being customers from the equation none of them had restaurant experience.
Longoria worked in social services. His brother and Valenzuela had backgrounds in finance.
The business' name derives from the hops in beer and the monks who are historically connected to brewing beer.
Longoria said The Hoppy Monk gives them an opportunity to share their Earth conscious platform. The building has solar panels and a garden in the rear which will get a 'beerigation' system in the future.
"This was a project---not that we felt we could tackle but that we were passionate about," Longoria said.
For Beto and Valenzuela it was new footing after the economy took a dive and left them without a job. The trio walked into success doing something they love.
Longoria came to graduate school in San Antonio. He searched for the same craft beer and pub food experience 'The Monk' offered El Paso.
He only found pints of disappointment until he traveled to Austin. Why couldn't they expand to San Antonio? They did in November 2014.
"We were fortunate enough to be able to purchase this land and build from the ground up" he said.
The space is described as an independent family-owned Belgian/English pub with a scratch kitchen. 99 taps of craft beer are on the wall. Don't even think about looking for corporate beer in this space. The same goes for their collection of liquor.
"We want to create a pub atmosphere where people do talk about the food," Chef Emiliano Marentes said. "They do share the food....rather than just have your meal to itself."
Marentes said the menu does have a Mexican influence but this is not a Tex-Mex establishment. It is not fine dining even though some of the dishes have that appeal. The cuisine is created to compliment the beer.
"Our Reuben (sandwich) for example," He said. "Instead of using brisket to make corned beef. We use beef tongue."
Neighborhood Eats was provided a three dish sampler starting with their vegan posole verde: Veggies, green chile broth, fried organic tofu carnitas with a red cabbage and radish garnish. It's good!
The restaurant makes boar's bologna in-house. They even removed a burger from the menu for the sandwich with aged white and yellow cheddar cheese. ¡Qué rico!
The eat on our sampler was the codorniz adsada: Quail in an achiote marinade coupled with a jalapeno puree, dollops of salsa on the plate and tortillas---just in case you want to make it into a taco.¡Qué rico!
That's this week's edition of Neighborhood Eats. If you have a suggestion for Marvin send him an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it on his KENS 5 Facebook page. #KENS5EATS
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