Memories of Paesanos
Lots of memories:
Customers always believed they got to Joe with free glasses of wine. Nothing was written down. When you went to pay, Joe figured everything in his head. There were very few credit cards, mostly cash.
Joe was a fixture on McCullough. He was either at the cash register, walking around, or sitting at his table with Nic.
Always the best and most consistent food in town. The toasted bread was wonderful.
I was a freshman at Trinity University in the fall of 1969. We found Paesanos that year and have loved it ever since. I remember being waited on by Joe with his leg in a cast. He was just hopping around carrying plates. Now every time I come to San Antonio I still have to have my Paesanos fix. I can't even begin to think how many people I have introduced it to over the 40 years!
When I was a sophomore at MacArthur High School in 1972, I was a member of the International Club. We picked a different country each month to study, and we also went to a restaurant featuring cuisine from that country. Somehow we managed to study Italy for several months in a row just so we could go to Paesanos on McCullough. I remember our group of 10-15 students standing among the tables in the front room while a waiter pulled together tables for us.
I loved Paesanos so much that I convinced my parents to go there with the rest of my family. We were a family of seven, so we didn't get to eat out very often. It was a HUGE treat to eat at a restaurant, and an even BIGGER treat to eat at Paesanos.
In 1976, my boyfriend got tired of hearing me rave about Paesanos, and finally took me there on a date so he could experience Shrimp Paesano for himself. I don't know if it was the food, the atmosphere, or the wine, but he proposed to me that night. We've now been married for 32 years!
Thanks, Paesanos, for being a part of my life all these years. And congratulations on your 40th anniversary. Here's to many more!
At the McCullough location, in the early years.
How could anyone ever forget....Joe knowing each table and who was sitting there, and in his head, keeping up with each customer's bill.
Did he really have such a great mind? I will always KNOW that he KNEW!
We remember standing in line for a table at the McCullough restaurant and Joe never missing a beat, never taking down a list, always seated us in the proper order, time and time again.
We remember at the McCullough restaurant being joined at our table by a couple, the wife being from France, that we had not met before and had a wonderful time getting to know them. After that we went to Joe's restaurant," Provence", with this couple and also enjoyed that outing. We remember her arriving in true French attire. That is the "togetherness" of Joe's restaurant.
We remember at the McCullough restaurant where my daughter Jeannette and her young man Matt joined us for dinner . He seemed very nervous and we soon knew why. He asked for her hand in marriage and now they have been married 29 years. Their boys. Ben and Alex, have continued the tradition and whenever in San Antonio insist on a night at Paesanos.
We remember bringing family and friends back to Paesanos, now at Basse Road, for many special occasions and Joe always saying, "I see you have the whole crew here tonight". It is a very special place to us.
Thanks Joe for providing a quality experience each and every time.
I lived in San Antonio in the 80's. Paesanos was always my choice when asked where I wanted to dine. I always loved the atmosphere when you walked into the restaurant with the glasses of wine sitting on the bar to how Joe would greet us ask how many in our group and be able to keep it all straight. My favorite was always Shrimp Paesano with the Hearts of Palm salad. To this day I can still taste that delicious meal!
I have not been back there since, but just recently I find that I will be making a trip back to San Antonio at the end of September and look forward to- know more like dream- of walking in to your restaurant and having that experience once again.
Congratulations on your 40th Anniversary!
--L.L., Safety Harbor, Florida
It’s been a long time since Sidney and I enjoyed your Shrimp Paesano. We’ve lived in Bethesda, MD, since 1983 but we’ve never forgotten you, the restaurant, or your hospitality.
Among many fond memories of evenings at the original Paesano’s on McCullough, for me the most indelible is the night in 1974 we brought our two-week old daughter Sarah with us for dinner. I was starved for a good meal and adult company, but you worried over exposing Sarah to germs. You were right, our tiny girl caught a very big cold.
We’re in town briefly for a wedding, then heading home. Today, Saturday, we’re having lunch at the Lincoln Heights restaurant. It’s just a few blocks from our San Antonio house – how we would have loved that!
Best of luck with all your adventures,
My wife and I lived in Uvalde ,Texas for Several years before moving to San Antonio. We always looked forward to driving to San Antonio from Uvalde on a Friday or Saturday night and dine at Paesanos. It was such a treat we never thought about the drive. I have many fond memories of parties we had at this fantastic restaurant and I still rank it as my number one restaurant in the world. Joe has always been consistent with his food and service and never slacked off all these years. My hat’s off to you Joe, you know how to do it right.
--J. H., Brentwood, TN
Our family was stationed at Ft Sam two times. During our second tour (1976-1978) my parents, who always seemed to find the great restaurants, started going to the first Paesanos. It was a special treat when they brought my sister and me out for the night to the tiny place. I think there were only 20 or even less tables. My dad “the colonel” would always speak with Joe. We absolutely loved the Shrimp Paesano. My son is now stationed at Ft Sam Houston. I hope I can share great memories with him when I visit. Congratulations on your 40 years of business, may you continue many more.
--K.P.C., Grosse Pt Park, MI
Our first visit to Paesanos was to the McCullough Street location back in 1978. We were hooked! We stopped in every time we were in town. Most recently...we enjoy the 1604 Paesanos. We are so impressed with the staff. On one occasion we were celebrating an event in our lives. We wanted a special wine. The waiter had a young man stop by our table. He chose the perfect wine...Robert Young Chardonnay 2004. It was so good we purchased another bottle to take. We went back the next year, last Spring. Sat at the same table out by the pond. Again, we wanted a good wine. The same young man came to our table. And he remembered us! Needless to say...we feel at home at Paesanos!
--B.H., Brush Country Travel, Llano, TX
My Mom was a big fan of Shrimp Paesano's. We had always taken her there for her birthday, or anniversary for years since you opened your first restaurant. She got very ill 6 years ago and it was right before her 74th birthday. We had made plans to take her there again because of the tradition. Well, she ended up in the hospital, too ill to go. She was there for about 3 days before her birthday. I had called in and ordered us all the shrimp Paesano's to go. I got a cooler and added some wine, wine glasses and cake. I brought up the Shrimp Paesano to her room and we all had a picnic around her bed. The doctors and nurses all came in because of the wonderful smell, laughter and fun happening in there. They were surprised but also very understanding and let us continue. That was the last birthday party for my Mom and it was the most wonderful memory for all of us. Thank you for being part of our memories.
My now fiancé and I always loved going to eat at Paesano’s when we were in San Antonio. We joked that it was ‘our’ restaurant. Now it is even more special since he proposed in San Antonio and took me to eat at Paesano’s to celebrate!
We had our first date at Paesano’s on McCullough over 28 years ago. We are coming to San Antonio this week-end to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary and plan to have dinner at Paesano’s on to celebrate. See you soon!
--J. & S. M., Houston, TX
Remember the night of the “big snow” in the 80’s? How much snow---was it 16 inches?
Everyone was excited and we had to meet friends to go to Paesano’s!!! Would it be open even? Did a little snow faze us? We put sandbags in the back of Jim’s pickup truck and hauled ourselves to Paesano’s on McCullough Ave. It was open of course and just packed, as usual. Most of the Turner crowd showed up. Nothing could beat the Italian food, the warm atmosphere, and the joy of dining with friends-Joe included-during a once in a lifetime snow event. Joe is always open.
--L. & J. H.
In 1969 I was a Junior at Trinity University and Paesanos was my secret place to take a date. It was tiny and everyone got personal service from Joe. Then it grew and grew and grew. I felt so sophisticated to have found a special little ristorante to enjoy an intimate dinner. Congratulations!
My first visit to Paesano’s was in the early 80’s and my client, who I was with, recommended that we have dinner at your original location north of downtown. We started off with a great wine and when it came time to order, Tom (client) told me to order the shrimp paesano so I ordered an appetizer along with a traditional Italian entree. Tom ordered a shrimp paesano appetizer and entrée, which surprised me. When I asked him why he did that he said ‘because it’s that good’. I found out he was absolutely right and ever since, whenever I come to San Antonio I visit the Riverwalk location and get my fill of the best shrimp dish I’ve ever had…shrimp paesano.
Thanks for such a great creation. I’m coming to San Antonio on Friday, March 6th for the weekend and we’ll be stopping by.
Happy 40th Paesanos. I was lucky to have worked at the original place for a summer job in 1981-1982. It was the greatest experience in my life. I thank Joe and my Uncle Nick for that. Working with Joe in front was great and fun. He made working under pressure easy. I will never forget. The food was amazing. Hope to go back some day since I live in Montreal now.
I miss the old place on McCullough wher Joe and Nick would meet you with a glass of wine to wait for one of the few very popular tables. I was attending flight surgeons school at Brooks AFB and we loved to go to Paesanos for a dinner starting with the unbelievable shrimp paesano followed by some eggplant and finished off with the best snapper or roughy in the world. Simply the best Italian food ever.
It was my birthday and my family and I had an excellent experience. Our server Wesley was fantastic and knew the menu extremely well and was very knowledgable. The service was fanstasic and everyone worked together as a team to make us happy. Wesley had excellent recommendations and everything we ordered was cooked perfectly. The presentation was lovely and we will definitely be back in the near future. Thank you Paesano staff for making my 46th birthday dinner a lovely evening and experience.
I've never had a chance to let anyone know how our experience was at Paesanos. We went this year for "Spring Break" and decided on our last day we would pick an Italian Restuarant and we wanted the best. So we chose it on our own. We don't live in San Antonio, we live on the out skirts of Sugar Land & Houston. I'm so happy that we made it to your restaurant, it was fabulous and everyone there treated us so wonderful. We are looking foward to going again; my son is in National Guard Training in San Antonio and we are picking him up for the Christmas Holidays. We hope to stop there and have lunch or dinner.