SAN ANTONIO — Alida Cafe was just a dream until the Reyes family walked in the doors of 527 El Paso Street.
Lou Reyes and wife, Bobbi Reyes DeJesus-Harris, could see past the bones of the structure. The space is best described as a restaurant-meets-coffeehouse space.
"As soon as we walked through that door, we had a vision about what this place should look like," Lou said. "And all we did from that point forward is execute that vision."
The couple found the place taking a wrong turn looking for a battery. They decided to let the space speak to them. So there are traditional restaurant tables and chairs but the space also comes with couches, a giant chalkboard, games and a real comfortable energy.
Alida Cafe is also packed with nods of Lou's East Coast upbringing and the couple's love for movies. For instance, the way Alida is laid out on the menu pays homage to train lines in New York.
The couple named the business after Lou's mother. The two were estranged and have since reconciled. Her name on the business is a sign of the reconciliation.
Their menu is adult made and Reyes children approved. Bobbi and Lou decided to do sandwiches, soups, bowls, salads and fresh baked sweets.
"We just decided to a universally appealing menu," Bobbi said.
The Reyes' culinary background is all over the place. He is Puerto Rican and leans toward East Coast and Caribbean food. She leans more Hawaiian, Korean and Asian Pacific.
The fare is made from scratch. Neighborhood Eats was provided with a sampler of soups and sandwiches.
The taste test started with the Alida MegaClub: Honey ham, turkey, bacon with cheese, spinach, tomato and mayo on a huge crisp Torta. This is a good sandwich.
It gets even better paired with a bowl of Tomato Basil Cream soup. Truly dip-worthy!
The Wyld Child sandwich comes with turkey, andouille sausage, pepper jack cheese, Cajun butter and arugula on a brioche bun. ¡Qué rico!
Finally, the house soup is Lou's attempt at a family recipe for Banzo soup. His attempt is excellent! When friends encouraged the couple to open a restaurant some would not visit unless Lou was serving soup.
It's Organic chicken stock, chickpeas, rice, fresh cilantro and a secret ingredient they jokingly call unicorn tears.¡Qué rico!
Try out Alida Cafe and give Marvin your review. If you have a restaurant or food truck suggestion send him an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it on his Facebook page. #KENS5EATS