2 from Landry’s, Margaritaville, Hard Rock, Fogo de Chão and Yard House were selected. Sorry, Hooters

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Before this River Walk series, I had never been to Hooters. The shorter the shorts, the more average the wings. But when it’s time to sort through the best chain restaurants on the River Walk – and they are legion – you do what you need to do. You’re welcome.

Hooters didn’t make the cut. Neither Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Joe’s Crab Shack nor the famous Dick’s Last Resort. I haven’t found a good barbecue at The County Line. I did not find good Mexican food at Iron Cactus. And I haven’t found anything good in what the Rainforest Cafe is supposed to be.

But what I found on trips to 16 regional and national restaurant chains along the River Walk were good lamb chops at Fogo de Chão’s Brazilian Steakhouse, a solid burger at Hard Rock Cafe and top notch steak at Landry’s Seafood House. And yes, Margaritaville makes a decent margarita, Saltgrass Steak House grills a good sirloin, and Yard House serves a respectable beer in half-yard glasses.

This is the third in a four-part, bi-weekly series covering restaurants on the River Walk. I started with the top nine local spots, then the top seven hotel restaurants and now the chains. To qualify for the series, restaurants must be on the river, starting at César E. Chavez Boulevard to the south and stopping at Fourth Street to the north.

In two weeks, I’ll be ranking the 10 best restaurants in River Walk overall. But first, let me show you this tie-dye plastic shaker I got with my overpriced margarita. Ah, memories.

Lamb chops are part of the endless parade of grilled meats at Fogo de Chão’s Brazilian Steakhouse on the River Walk.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse

Restaurant prices on the River Walk are rising faster than billionaire rockets. Prepare a few appetizers, wings, and a burger, and you can spend $ 100, no sweat.

Or you can spend $ 56.95 ($ 39.95 at lunch) and get an endless parade of gauchos with steel knives slicing through grilled sirloin, lamb chops, bacon-wrapped tenderloin and ribs. beef straight to your table in a room fitted out like an upscale steakhouse. The price includes a salad bar with cold cuts, cheeses, salads and fruit, and there is always room for more cheese bread and another caipirinha cocktail.

Ask for the room with imposing floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the lagoon near the Rivercenter shops. Fogo de Chão isn’t the best Brazilian steakhouse in town, but it’s the best (and the only) on the River Walk. 849 E. Commerce St., Suite 393, 210-227-1700, fomodechao.com

The legendary Steak Burger is filled with bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried onion ring at the Hard Rock Cafe on the River Walk.

The legendary Steak Burger is filled with bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried onion ring at the Hard Rock Cafe on the River Walk.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Hard Rock Cafe

That’s not how it was back then, a rock club and museum with memorabilia from people like Selena, ZZ Top, and Willie Nelson serving food. The music is down and the lights are on.

And maybe that’s a good thing, because in the daylight at one of the few tables on the large riverside patio, it’s the food that counts. Count on the legendary Steak Burger, a stack of bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried onion ring that’s one of the best burgers on the River Walk.

Barbecued pork ribs are ubiquitous on the River Walk, but these were the best, a carefully topped rack with a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce and a nice balance of fat and lean. 111 W. Crockett Street, Suite 120, 210-224-7625, hardrockcafe.com

Ribeye Valentino is a 20-ounce bone-in rib eye topped with scallops, shrimp and crab at Landry's Seafood House on the River Walk.  The bar also mixes an upscale Perfect Patrón margarita with Patrón Silver tequila and Cointreau.

Ribeye Valentino is a 20-ounce bone-in rib eye topped with scallops, shrimp and crab at Landry’s Seafood House on the River Walk. The bar also mixes an upscale Perfect Patrón margarita with Patrón Silver tequila and Cointreau.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Landry seafood house

Because even a sightseeing visit to the River Walk has its moments of disguise, this flagship of Landry’s many parent company concepts on the river features a clubby dining room with uniformed waiters and a menu of top fish, chops and cocktails. range. From its perch on the second floor, on the row of umbrellas and tables by the river, Landry’s cultivates a baroque New Orleans atmosphere.

Seafood is right there in the name, but my pick at Landry’s is the Ribeye Valentino, a sophisticated surf-and-turf with a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye seared in a perfect medium and topped with scallops, shrimp and crab. 517, rue N. Presa, 210-229-1010, landrysseafood.com

Margaritaville capitalizes on the image of singer Jimmy Buffett with his Double Cheeseburger in Paradise, left, the Perfect Margarita, a watermelon margarita and grilled fish tacos on the River Walk.

Margaritaville capitalizes on the image of singer Jimmy Buffett with his Double Cheeseburger in Paradise, left, the Perfect Margarita, a watermelon margarita and grilled fish tacos on the River Walk.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Margueriteville

If I had to judge by the noisy and artificial Jimmy Buffett atmosphere of the tiki bar ersatz inside the restaurant, I would run away from Margaritaville, I would blow my thong in my haste to escape. But outside by the river, they have an airy bar that serves the entire menu, plus something that surprised me: a really good margarita.

They call it the Perfect Margarita, and it’s just golden and silver tequilas, triple sec, Curacao, and lime juice. It’s strong and tangy and so much better than the limeade that passes for margaritas along the river.

The food was also better than average, especially the gooey and decadent Double Cheeseburger in Heaven and a trio of grilled fish tacos with habanero cream sauce and pico de gallo mango. 849 E. Commerce St., 210-973-5911, margaritavillesanantonio.com

The Gulf Coast Steak & Shrimp plate at Saltgrass Steak House on the River Walk includes a sirloin steak, grilled shrimp, baked potato and salad.  The bar serves a grilled pineapple margarita.

The Gulf Coast Steak & Shrimp plate at Saltgrass Steak House on the River Walk includes a sirloin steak, grilled shrimp, baked potato and salad. The bar serves a grilled pineapple margarita.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Steak House with salted herbs

Think of Saltgrass as the less ostentatious little brother of Landry’s Seafood House, which is fitting since they are part of the same parent company. The front patio offers the best of both River Walk worlds: right by the river, but separated from the heckled crowds by a rail and a few feet above sea level.

The Gulf Coast Steak & Shrimp plate features surf and turf that won’t break the bank, with a chubby sirloin steak grilled rare to order and a quartet of large garlic-grilled shrimp with a baked potato loaded and a nice house salad with blue sauce.

For something a little different, get the Grilled Pineapple Margarita that goes tropical without getting syrupy. 502 River Walk, 210-222-9092, selgrass.com

Nashville <a class=fried chicken, draft beer served in half-yard glasses, and tacos are part of the menu at the Yard House on the River Walk.”/>

Nashville fried chicken, draft beer served in half-yard glasses, and tacos are part of the menu at the Yard House on the River Walk.

Mike Sutter / Staff

Court house

Straddling the lagoon of River Walk in the shops of Rivercenter, Yard House offers panoramic views of the water below. And that view is even better through a half-yard glass of Yard House’s Belgian white beer, a 32-ounce pie and yeast in a towering glass with a bulb on one end and a trumpet on the end. other, like a clown horn for when you want more.

Beer is the big draw, with dozens of local, national and imported beers on tap. But the food is a good companion, especially the Nashville Melted Orange Fried Chicken Breasts, fried crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, with chili oil that demands your attention and more. beer.

Yard House also cooks respectable tacos, including Korean beef bulgogi and a vampire taco with lush carnitas and a fried cheese shell folded inside the tortilla. 849 E. Commerce St., Suite 409, 210-354-3844, yardhouse.com

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