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San Antonio Bar & Grill to close in Crystal City after 30 years

San Antonio Bar & Grill in Crystal City (courtesy of Edwin Magne)

After a three-decade run, the San Antonio Bar & Grill in Crystal City is set to close this Saturday, marking the end of an era.

The Tex-Mex restaurant, a mainstay in the underground Crystal City Shops since 1993, was notified by its landlord, JBG Smith, three months ago that its lease would not be extended past December, according to co-owner Amparo Magne.

Magne, who operates two other San Antonio Bar & Grill locations in D.C. and Alexandria, said no specific reason was given for the non-renewal, but she suspects it might be due to the landlord’s desire to renovate the space.

“That’s what we think,” she told ARLnow. “We don’t know.”

A PR rep for JBG Smith declined comment.

Edwin Magne, Amparo’s brother and business partner, said the notice from JBG Smith was unexpected. Still, he noted there were signs that changes were coming based on the rapid changes in the area, such as the opening of Amazon Fresh, Alamo Drafthouse and the recently renovated Crystal City Water Park.

“I mean most of the stores in the mall are closing down as well,” he told ARLnow.

While his sister has the means to reopen the restaurant in Arlington, Edwin said rising rents — in an area now home to Amazon’s HQ2 and, potentially, a new sports arena in Potomac Yard — may push them further from their original location.

“It’s prime real-estate,” he said.

Wherever they reopen, Amparo and Edwin hope it won’t be too far from their loyal customers in Crystal City.

“We don’t want to go far away,” Amparo said. “We want something near.”

They are currently looking at Clarendon as a potential option, but no final decisions have been made.

“We just got to find a good place for us that’s gonna fit, that’s going to be good for our employees as well and it’s going to be close enough for our guests that we used to always have,” Edwin said.

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