Day Trips: Schilo's Deli, San Antonio

For a century the German deli has served the rye bread fresh and strudel à la mode

Photos by Gerald McLeod

Schilo's Delicatessen has been a landmark in the shadow of the Alamo for a century. The San Antonio restaurant is one of the oldest continuously operated eateries in the state. Serving a mixture of traditional German foods and American fare, the little diner attracts a mix of locals and tourists.

It's hard to resist the Reuben sandwich stacked high with corned beef and sauerkraut and slathered with the housemade hot mustard. The mustard is unique with a strong flavor of horseradish.

If you're really hungry, go for one of the daily lunch specials served with a side of their famous split-pea soup. Wash it all down with a frosty mug of the homemade root beer. Save room for the warm apple strudel served à la mode.

Fritz Schilo arrived in Texas along with a wave of German immigrants in the mid-1800s. Initially he opened a saloon in Beeville. In 1914, he moved his business and family to San Antonio. Unfor­tunately, Prohibition closed his saloon three years later, forcing him into the restaurant business using old family recipes.

Over the years, the German deli occupied different locations in downtown. Since 1945, the diner has been in a former bank building with pressed tin ceilings and black-and-white tile floors.

Fritz passed away in 1935. His descendants ran the restaurant for two generations until it was sold to another Texas-German family in 1980. A photo of Fritz and his children still hangs next to the cash register.

Schilo's Delicatessen is at 424 E. Commerce St. at the River Walk in San Antonio. It's open 7am-8:30pm, and closed on Sunday. For info, call 210/223-6692 or go to

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Schilo's Deli, Fritz Schilo, San Antonio River Walk

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