Blanca Aldaco, the owner of Stone Oak restaurant Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine, said everything from her employees to the eatery’s aesthetics provide traditional, cantina-style dining.

“Cantina-style is lively and not formal, but it’s still prestigious and elevated. Cantina style can mean this is the hangout and place to be in the neighborhood,” Aldaco said. “I take a lot of pride in our food, service and cleanliness that are projected to our staff and to our clients.”

Aldaco, her family and staff have had more than three decades to foster a positive reputation among local diners. A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Aldaco opened Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine in 1989 on the eastern edge of downtown San Antonio.

According to Aldaco, the original eatery outgrew its first location and moved in 1999 to the now-former Sunset Station near downtown.

Aldaco said a chance opportunity led her to move the restaurant to Stone Oak in March 2008, fulfilling a desire to operate a location in North San Antonio.

“There’s been a lot of trial and tribulations, and lots of blood, sweat and tears. The hardest thing is being in the restaurant business because we spend more time away from our families than we spend at home,” Aldaco said.

Aldaco said longtime and newer fans of her restaurant have made popular dishes of several menu items, including chile relleno; carne asada; shrimp enchiladas; Pollo Aldaco’s, grilled chicken breast covered in a signature sauce; and The Centerpiece, a shareable dish that Aldaco described as a large “lettuce-less salad,” which patrons may enjoy as a whole meal if they wish.

“The Centerpiece was created to be a companion for your meal. Bring it to the center of the table, and it can be shared amongst the group. It can also accompany your own meal,” Aldaco said.

Aldaco also said some of the restaurant’s margaritas and dishes have received numerous awards and accolades, including the Martini Azteca, made with El Perrito Tequila Gold, which received the best cocktail award at the 2022 Texas Restaurant Association’s Lone Star Bash.

Aldaco said she owes much of her restaurant’s success to her employees, a few of whom have worked with her since the eatery’s inception.

“Luckily for us, we have a solid team. They’ve become like a family. They’re very loyal,” she said.