Reflections of a Restaurateur

Lisa Wong of Rosario’s

An exclusive eskca interview with Lisa Wong of Rosario’s, which was honored in our:
Tell us your origin story. How did you come to be involved with Rosario’s?

I have been in the restaurant industry since the age of 18, when I opened my first restaurant, Lisa’s Mexican Restaurant, on the west side of San Antonio in 1981. Years down the road in 1992, I saw an opportunity and bought Rosario’s, which was a small neighborhood restaurant that had been closed down. With neighborhood support, Rosario’s soon became a staple in the heart of Southtown.

What were the biggest hurdles you encountered in your journey?

Keeping customers coming in your door and maintaining consistency are some of the challenges I have faced. Rosario’s over the years has become a popular tourist destination, but we have always had our local regulars at Rosario’s too, so consistency is key. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had to shift. We implemented curbside to-go, which we are still currently offering. It was a struggling time, but my team and I figured out ways to adapt.

What does the future hold for you and Rosario’s?

Our Southtown location is getting a whole new look. We are moving just down the street and the new Rosario’s Southtown will be in a much bigger space with a rooftop bar, an outside patio, and a separate private event space in a historic house that is on the property. I am so excited and looking forward to this new opportunity for Rosario’s.

What are your thoughts on the food scene in San Antonio?

Having been in the restaurant industry for so long, it’s been an incredible experience to watch our city grow as a culinary destination. We still have a long ways to go compared to some of our larger city counterparts, but I’m excited to be a part of the city’s continued growth.

What’s your best advice for aspiring restaurateurs?

Set goals and have a plan to execute those goals. Practice and perfect recipes, and always remain consistent with food and service. Always show appreciation for every customer who dines with you.

Our readers love recommendations! What’s your favorite item at Rosario’s?

I have many favorites, but one of my top picks is the Lisa’s Special. It includes two cheese enchiladas with your choice of beef or chicken fajitas, rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, and  guacamole. You get a variety of items in this plate and it is delicious!


For more exclusive interviews, see our full Reflections of a Restaurateur series