The block

Photo: Janae Rice

“This is like Christmas for us,” Jon Onstead exclaims as he unveils the modern titanium steel of the bar in The Block, the newest food truck park located on Roadrunner Way across from UTSA. One aspect of The Block that should appeal most to students is the fact that it was built by recent UTSA alumnus with thoughts of the students in mind.

“Not only am I alumni, but we have my bar manager, his name is Cole Mayfield. He just graduated this past semester. So far, out of the staff, five of us are UTSA graduates and students.”

Onstead graduated in 2009 from UTSA with a degree in real estate, finance and business development (RFD). He was of the first class to graduate in the RFD program. Onstead is originally from Houston, but fell in love with San Antonio when he first arrived and has yet to leave.

“I am so happy I was able to make this happen because now I get to stay here.”

The Block is two years in the making. “One day I was driving to Austin and the idea slapped me on the forehead. I need to put food trucks there,” Onstead explains. The idea has evolved, though, beyond the food truck park concept.

Some of the food trucks featured include Lagniappe Today, Stout’s Pizza and B-Daddy’s BBQ.

Not only will The Block feature six to seven different food trucks that will be on rotation daily, but the most inviting aspect is the bar. The modern patio bar paired with the food trucks is a one of a kind idea.

“We use the best materials and lighting. Everything is different here. It’s not cookie-cutter; it’s unique.” Wifi will be available for everyone along with electrical outlets scattered around the patio area. “This isn’t just a place to party; it’s also a place to study or relax before class.”

Onstead has taken the time to install lights in both the trees and the wall alongside Roadrunner Way. He has even included cooling misters in the shaded bar area to compete with the Texas heat. The lush, grassy area is meant as a place for students to lounge, picnic and participate in outdoor games. The concrete area is reserved for seating and there are even plans to construct a stage for live music. Students in the arts are more than welcome to perform as well.

Onstead is particularly proud of his signage out front. The LED lights shine through the sign in various colors, including the UTSA signature orange and blue. There are plans for movie nights and even screenings of the UTSA football games.

The staff is open to new ideas though. There has been talk of Greek nights, Twenty-one and Up nights and even Sunday Funday with drink specials. Onstead explains that nothing is irrevocable, and they are looking for any new ideas to be innovative and will keep the students happy.

Although there is an inviting nightlife at The Block, don’t expect to get away with underage drinking.

“We expect to have a mixture of professionals, family and students for lunch and dinner. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., we expect a lot more students. We will figure out which nights are our busiest and we will be carding at the entrance. Anyone who is twenty-one will get a wristband. That way it takes the load off the bartenders,” Onstead says.

“If we see anyone on the premises drinking without a wristband, they have to go. We will have a zero-tolerance policy here. UTSA PD have toured the establishment and are working with us so people know we are not going to tolerate any underage drinking.”

Look for the opening date of The Block on Facebook (The Block SA).

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