Grumpy’s Mexican Cafe (San Antonio, TX)

For the first part of this trip to San Antonio, we were staying at the JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country. While it’s a rather nice resort (and indeed, has a really good water park and some nice bars), I didn’t find any of the breakfast options there appealing. Since the general area is well known for Tex Mex food, we ended up looking for a good Tex Mex breakfast place in Northeast San Antonio (since the JW Marriott resorts is rather far outside of downtown). We ended up finding one place that had a lot of good reviews: Grumpy’s Mexican Cafe on Farm-to-Market Road 2252.

Grumpy’s is particularly known for three things: good food, friendly service, and big portions. It’s basically a greasy spoon located on a moderately busy local road in an area that’s not sporting too many restaurants. Inside, it’s got the “country style” greasy spoon ambiance down pat: walls covered with all sorts of random stuff (particularly, someone at Grumpy’s seems to love the Packers, since there’s rather more Favre paraphernalia than I’d expect for Texas), and a whole lot of little tables

Sitting down, I was at first a bit disappointed in the menu, since I only saw a few basic egg combos on the menu… then I realized that my menu had been put together wrong, and I was missing an entire second page of Tex Mex items, including Migas, burritos, tacos, and the like. And some US items as well, like a chicken-fried steak combo (almost required in a Texas joint). After a little bit of discussion back and forth, Carol and I decided to divide and conquer, with my ordering of the Migas, and her ordering of the chicken-fried steak.

I’ll start with the Migas. I realized when writing up my review of Maria’s that a lot of people that don’t live in the Southwest might not know what “migas” is: it’s pretty much the quintessential Tex Mex breakfast dish: eggs scrambled up with strips of fried corn tortilla (or tortilla chips), along with onions, peppers, diced tomatoes, cheese, and usually a few meats. Oh, and a lot of salsa. It’s a similar concept to the more traditional Mexican Chilaquiles, but with a distinct Tex Mex flair to it. In any case, Grumpy’s makes a good migas: the order comes out as a bountiful platter with a large portion of migas mounded up, some nicely fried up hash browns, refried beans with chips, and some tortillas. This was a very flavorful migas, cooked up with the tortilla strips still somewhat firm, nice flavorful chunks of ham, and plentiful cheese (a four cheese blend) and salsa, and this was very satisfying. The beans were also flavorful and yummy as well (which usually means, in my experience, that I don’t really want to know how fatty they are…). Served up with rather nice red and green salsas on the side, I enjoyed this dish a lot. It wasn’t haute cuisine, but it was good.

Speaking of bountiful portions, Carol’s chicken-fried steak plate was a sight to behold as well: a large dinner-plate-sized portion of chicken-fried steak was served up with a thick layer of gravy, two eggs, hashbrowns, and biscuits. The result was one of the largest breakfasts I’ve seen in recent history. On top of that, it was also a really well done chicken-fried steak, with a nice flaky exterior and a tender, juicy interior. Not the best I’ve had, but definitely near the top of the list. (For those wondering, that honor, as well as the most excessive breakfast honor, still go to the Pines Cafe in Palmdale, CA, although they’ve since closed, so I can’t ever repeat that feat).

Overall, we had a thoroughly pleasant breakfast, as well as a thoroughly filling one. While primarily being known for large portions, we found that Grumpy’s does indeed serve up good food with pleasant service. It’s definitely a gem for this part of San Antonio.

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