It used to be that when people named great food cities, San Antonio was not exactly at the top of the list. But chefs like Jason Dady thought it was about time that changed. “I felt that San Antonio was the right market for us—young, green, blind entrepreneurs,” Dady told San Antonio magazine. “We were 24 years old and didn’t know what it really took to manage a business. We had to teach ourselves.” Even though Dady, who graduated from Texas Tech, had studied at the California Culinary Academy and went on to do stints at San Francisco’s Stars and at Napa’s Beringer Wine Estate, his heart still belonged to Texas
. In 2001, Dady headed to San Antonio, where he, his brother, Jacob, and his wife, Crystal, launched The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, introducing the city’s first upscale tasting menu.
These days, Dady and his Jason Dady Restaurant Group have a bit of a San Antonio empire going on, with Tuscan-inspired Tre Trattoria (2007) and Tre Enoteca; Two Bros BBQ Market (2009), a classic Texas “pit to table” joint for slow-smoked meats; B&D Ice House, which, among other things, stands for “BBQ & Draft” (2014); the DUK Truck, a roving market-driven food truck; Jason Dady Catering and Private Events; and Shuck Shack which opened in Summer 2015 with (you guessed it) oysters, alongside fried fish, crab fritters, and all the clam shack staples. Dady has made good on his promise to help put San Antonio on the foodie map, with his restaurants hitting many “best of” lists, including Best Restaurants San Antonio, by Texas Monthly four years running. Dady himself was a James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Restaurateur” semi-finalist and Star Chers “Rising Stars” Restaurateur award winner. This is one chef who thinks as big as the Lone Star