Making good on his promise to bring flaming, mesquite fire-grilled meats to his La Gloria Brooks location, acclaimed chef Johnny Hernandez is pleased to introduce a newly-expanded menu incorporating favorite grilled El Machito-inspired dishes.

El Machito, loosely translated as “The Little Macho Dude,” was the name of Chef Johnny’s popular Quarry-area restaurant from 2015 to 2017. With a colorful masked, Mexican lucha libre wrestler as its cheerful mascot, its carnivore-friendly concept was equally fun and was a fast-favorite of folks from San Antonio’s Southside, who became its biggest fans. Drawing from a grilling tradition popular in parts of Mexico, like Laredo, El Machito was an open-fired celebration of all things meat. And because that fiery dining experience was so popular with Southside diners, Chef Johnny now has just brought three handcrafted, custom-made asaderos, or open-fire grills, (two indoor and one outdoor) to La Gloria (including the original one from El Machito), and is already making grilled Norteño-styled meat a new headliner on the La Gloria, Brooks menu.

From their tables, diners get a front-row seat to watch Chef Johnny and his team prepare flaming grilled carnes, drawing from the traditional Norteño carne asadas of Mexico and the Jalisco-style grilled meats of Guadalajara. Influenced by the history, technique and artistry of the parrilleros (grill chefs) of Mexico, Chef Johnny is pleased to bring El Machito back into the ring.

A wide variety of grilled meat is firing up the menu, including beef, poultry, seafood, heritage pork, hand-made Mexican chorizo verde and longaniza sausages, and more.

“Machito was so loved and remains memorable to San Antonio families because it brought long-reaching traditions in grilling to Texas from the interior of Mexico. La Gloria at Brooks, with its Machito menu, is the only place you’re going to find house-grilled cabrito, Mexican-styled grilled ribs, and authentic pollo asado made over a hot mesquite fire, not charcoal. You’d have to go to Guadalajara to get ribs like ours. These specialty meats require time-intensive, skilled preparations and the right kind of wood. You just won’t find this outside Mexico,” says Hernandez.

Chef Johnny’s signature dish is a locally sourced cabrito al pastor specialty from Northern Mexico: tender young kid marinated for 24 hours, fired over mesquite and then served with a salsa molcajete and a garlic chipotle sauce. El Vaquero, featuring crispy pork ribs with red and green chorizo sausages, is also popular. Meats are served family style and are paired with traditional Mexican side dishes like elote preparado (corn with crema and chilé), seasoned rice and hand-made tortillas. Appetizers, like hot skillet queso fundido, which can be served sizzling with chorizo sausage and poblano peppers, as well as quesadillas al pastor and house-made guacamole, tortilla chips and salsas, are all hearty starters. Desserts, such as a traditional tres leches cake and a Cajeta (caramel sauce) flan, top off an authentic Mexican meal. An extensive selection of Latin spirits also graces the new menu, including the finest tequilas, coolest margaritas and newly crafted cocktails named for famous Mexican wrestlers like El Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras. All this celebrates the fact that El Machito is back and better than ever.

“I’ve traveled extensively throughout northern Mexico where I became passionate about traditional carnes asadas and the difficult-to-master techniques required to offer this authentic and wonderful food from the interior of Mexico,” says Chef Johnny. “The intense, rich, flavors of mesquite-grilled meats prepared on asaderos stayed with me, and I fell in love with the history and skill involved in this style of grilling that’s such an art form in Mexico. Today, I’m more excited than ever to offer the diverse flavors and Norteño dining experiences my guests enjoyed at El Machito.”

Matching El Machito dishes with La Gloria staples, like traditional Mexican enchiladas with moles and other sauces, fresh Gulf fish and shrimp dishes, tacos and more, is a real winner for not only the Southside but for all of San Antonio.

“The Southside community has been waiting for El Machito’s live-flame-grilled meats to make a comeback on our menu,” says Chef Johnny, “and it makes me happy to give them what they’ve wanted for so long.”

La Gloria has three San Antonio locations, including one at Historic Pearl and another at San Antonio International Airport. Still, it’s the Brooks City Base location, in the shade of ancient oak trees with relaxing park-like spaces, where El Machito’s grilled meats are back creating a Southside sensation. It’s a match made in La Gloria!