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“A sad imitation of its former self” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Earl Abel's

Earl Abel's
1201 Austin Hwy, Suite 175, San Antonio, TX 78209-4858
+1 210-822-3358
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Ranked #1,152 of 4,140 Restaurants in San Antonio
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: American, Coffee Shop, Dessert, Family Fare
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Description: Earl Abel's has been serving the San Antonio dining community for over 81 years and is recognized for its home style comfort foods made fresh daily. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Earl Abel's is famous for its "Simply Delicious" fried chicken and its award winning desserts, including pies, cakes, eclairs and creme puffs. Recently, the restaurant has added many healthy menu items such as Bison Burgers, Chicken Fried Bison, Kobe Burgers, Spinach Salad with strawberries and homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing, Greek Salad with peppers, olives & feta cheese, sweet potato fries, and sugar free desserts. Earl Abel's truly has something for everyone. We serve soups, salads, burgers made with freshly ground in-house USDA Chuck Steak, sandwiches, Niman Ranch "all natural" steaks, seafood, Mexican food, and daily specials served seven days a week. The restaurant is also known for its outstanding breakfast including its famous "Thins" pancakes, chicken and waffles, three egg omelets, pork sausage made in-house, and fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice. For beverages, Earl Abel's serves Cain's coffee, Cain's iced tea & sweet Tea, and an organic coffee blend from Chiapas & Guatemala and roasted by a local San Antonio roaster, Ferra Coffee Company. We also serve locally brewed Busted Sandal IPA and Alamo Ale, along with other Texas beers and imports.
Dallas, Texas
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A sad imitation of its former self”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

The staff just didn't seem to have its act together. The hostess/cashier just seemed so confused when she seated me and later cashed out my check. Several long minutes passed before a server realized I was sitting there. The food was bland and unremarkable. It was Saturday, when spaghetti is its special. The menu brags that this is their signature dish, but I swear, it was about as good as what a 20-year-old bachelor would make himself for dinner.

I fondly remember the old location on Broadway. It was just a classic, and I miss it. This is a pale shadow of what it used to be. Mostly, it seems to be a draw for older folks who used to patronize the old location. I felt like I was eating in a retirement community dining room.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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72 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    9
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Austin, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Poor Service and Okay Food”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I ordered online for a pick up order. Online the order said it was ready as soon as I placed it but I waited a bit before going to pick it up just in case. When I arrived I had to use the fron entrance, no the pick up entrance because it closes at 8pm even though the rest of the restaurant is open until 10pm. Okay , whatever. I stood at the front of the restaurant with no one acknowledging my existence for 10 minutes! At which point I went to the back and asked a waitress to help, I just had a pick up order. The young waitress was very friendly but the to-go woman told her to tell me she was busy and I needed to wait. Wow, um, okay. So I waited, 10 min later, the to-go woman starts guessing at what I had ordered (fried chicken?) No I had the open faced roast beef with a slice of Boston Creme Pie. Well, they were out of Boston Creme Pie, what else did I want? I ended up with Apple. I waited while the order was re-input and cooked, then it was given to me with no utensils so I couldnt eat it when I got back home (because I hadnt unpacked utensils). Needless, to say I was very disappointed in their service (excpet for the young waitress, she was nice, giving me water and offering a seat while I waited 20 minutes for my to-go order). THe food was okay but Its basically like any Jim's just with different options.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spring Branch, Texas
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Good Place to Sit and Talk”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

We went for an early supper with our aunt and uncle, the seat yourself sign was up so I grabbed four menus from the counter. The restaurant wasn't crowded at all, so we selected a table in the center of the dining room. After a few minutes, we were greeted by a waiter. He took our drink orders, recited our order incorrectly and came back short one water, and a cup of coffee. Our salads came on a plate with the dressing in a small bowl on the side of each plate. It was a lot of dressing, but we ate it all. My husband and I ordered the fried chicken and my aunt and uncle ordered the chicken fried steak. The crust on the fried chicken was very crispy, had lots of cracked black pepper and was hot. The mashed potatoes were very creamy and were topped with cracklin' gravy. My carrots were tender, but a little bland and my husbands broccoli looked a yellowish brown and faded instead of a bright green, but he ate them anyway. The chicken fried steak had an anormous amount of breading and a very thin piece of meat that was dried out and looked burnt on the edges. They ate it anyway, but my aunt took half of hers to go. The rolls were dense and tasty, but the crust on the outside was a little hard. Everyone left the tough pieces of bread on their plates. They did give us extra rolls, though. Those were taken to go also and my uncle thought they'd be good in bread pudding. We were pretty full, so we passed on the desert.

We did have to ask our waiter for more tea and water and I don't think my aunt's coffee was ever refilled. Although the restaurant wasn't that full, our waiter seemed very busy.

The most important part of the dinner was that we were able to sit and visit and could hear eachother and weren't rushed at all to leave. I don't know if we were talking loudly, but a man next to us turned around and joined in on our conversation. We didn't mind as there were several men eating their dinners alone there.

Although there is probably better food around town, we always seem to return to Earl Abel's for our standard southern style comfort food plates. There's something for everyone.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“previously a San Antonio classic, but no longer able to recommend it”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

As a long-time San Antonio resident (almost 25 years), I've had many a good meal at Earl Abel's, particularly at the old location on Broadway. In the early days at the new location on Austin Highway, the food quality remained high as did the service. Actually, the QUALITY of the food and service is still above average. However, portion size has gone WAY down.
It used to be that two breasts of chicken (Earl's is famous for the fried chicken) was a meal you could split, and my wife and I often did. Since the move, the pieces have gotten smaller until now, a meal with "two breasts" is surely ONE modest breast cut in two...or else Earl has searched far and wide for a "mini-me" mutation of chicken. Nine dollars for what's essentially ONE breast cut creatively into two (or, giving them the benefit of the doubt, two TINY breasts) is not worth it.
And the previously generous slices of cake and pie are much smaller. The cake slice we got a few days ago is even smaller than it was a year ago, which had been cut down from what it used to be. I joked to my wife, when the cake "slice" was brought, "how nice of them to give us a sample to try before the real slice came." But that WAS the slice.

Earl Abel is a "classic" of San Antonio, and perhaps the elderly customers do not want a big meal, but my family is quite unsatisfied and will be not going there anymore. Good for a "snack," but if that's the case, they should charge snack prices. There are many fine restaurants in our fair city...best to give your business to one that at least attempts to give you your money's worth.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“San Antonio Food Landmark”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

I have lived in San Antonio all my life. I have gone to Earl Abel's as long as I can remember. This is a landmark of geat home cooking in San Antonio. Family owned for decades and the current tradition goes on. Historical pictures and themes make this a special place. The Fried Chicken is one of the best! They even have Buffalo Burgers. Recently they have added a hot line. I mean spicy hot!! Some burgers with Habenero and Jalapeno and more spices. Watch out cause you will be on fire if you love hot and spicy. This one is for the experts of sock it to me. The home made deserts are the best! I also recommend the Pork Chops and Eggs for breakfast. Come and get it!

  • Visited February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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