When Carlos Russo moved to San Marcos in 2001, he said he came from a job at which he would often wine and dine clients in Austin, San Francisco and New York City.
One of the first things he said he noticed after moving to his new home in San Marcos was that it lacked the same kind of culinary offerings those cosmopolitan cities provided.
From left: Executive Chef Joe Feldmann, owner Carlos Russo and Head Brewer David Jones oversee operations at AquaBrew.[/caption]
So he dreamed up a dining concept that emphasized hospitality, a chef-driven menu and fresh ingredients, he said. Russo opened AquaBrew at 150 S. LBJ Drive, San Marcos, in March 2016.
The restaurant offers a mix of American food, including the AB Burger ($12) and the Grilled Cheese and Egg Sandwich ($10) as well as continental fare such as the Scottish Salmon ($18) and Steam Bun Sliders ($11). The restaurant also features beers created by Head Brewer David Jones. Some of the most popular selections include the Swine Dive IPA and San Marcos Blonde Ale, as well as a porter and a pilsner.
“It was an extremely steep learning curve. I worked harder last year than any year in my life probably because of [the restaurant]. It was fun, though, so it didn’t necessarily feel like work.”
—AquaBrew owner Carlos Russo on his restaurant's first year in business
“We always get very excited when someone comes for the very first time and we can show them around and tell them about what we do and watch their face when they take that first bite or first sip of our beer,” Russo said.
AquaBrew marked its first anniversary in mid-March with a week of events, food and special-release beers.
Russo said his lack of experience in the food industry—he had never worked in a restaurant before opening AquaBrew—provided quite a few learning opportunities.
“It was an extremely steep learning curve,” Russo said. “I worked harder last year than any year in my life probably because of [the restaurant]. It was fun, though, so it didn’t necessarily feel like work.”
The restaurant also unveiled its new beer garden, the Well at AB, at the
San Marcos’ AquaBrew creates a variety of beers in-house and offers flights featuring a sampling of four brews ($8).[/caption]
anniversary party. The new concept is geared toward college students and those out on the San Marcos Square late at night, Russo said. The Well at AB will be open until 2 a.m. Thu.-Sat., and until midnight on other nights.
The menu will feature street tacos, Executive Chef Joe Feldmann said.
“We put our heart and soul into everything, and all of our dishes are well-thought-out,” Feldmann said. “We’re proud of the menu.”