Little Em's Oyster Bar in Southtown welcomes guests during a soft opening recently.
Little Em's Oyster Bar welcomes guests during a recent soft opening. Photo courtesy @littleemsoysterbar

San Antonio restaurateurs Emily and Houston Carpenter are bringing a new seafood spot to Southtown.

The couple is opening Little Em’s Oyster Bar for lunch service today in a former gas station, and in The Friendly Spot’s original home, on South Alamo and Beauregard streets.

After two successful soft openings, the Carpenters felt prepared to open their doors to the public.

“If we can do one thing it’s that this restaurant brings light to the area and everyone’s business gets business because of ours,” Emily Carpenter said.

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“We want this to be a gateway for those who’ve never been to Southtown,” Carpenter continued. “A lot of people don’t know about Hot Joy, Tito’s, Liberty Bar, Maverick, The Friendly Spot and more,” Carpenter said, likening South Alamo's potential to become what South Congress is to Austin.

The couple fell in love with a little oyster bar in Paris, which inspired them to create their own.

“They had a nice, small clean menu that was done right and we tried to copy that concept,” Carpenter said.

They believe Little Em's will bring people who have never been to the Southtown area, while playing a role in the growth of their community.

Ben Crumley will serve as the executive chef of Little Em’s, and brings over 20 years of culinary experience to their team.

“We chose Crumley because his food speaks for itself,” Carpenter said.

Courtesy Little Em's Oyster Bar

The menu will consist of oysters from the Northeast Coast, ranging from Canada to Massachusetts. Other food options on the menu include shrimp, lobster rolls, ceviche, salads and meat options such as burgers and a filet mignon.

The drink menu will feature local draft beers and an extensive wine list.

“The way we categorized each section, you’re going to know exactly what to pair with oysters,” Carpenter said.

“You’re going to know how each red tastes, how each white wine tastes, and it’s very user friendly,” she said. “We’re trying to open up the mind about those who don’t know about wine, and you’re going to be able to try this and that.”

Little Em’s currently doesn’t have a happy hour menu and plans to wait until 2021 to develop one for the restaurant.

Emily Carpenter. Courtesy Little Em's Oyster Bar

The restaurant can seat 20 people inside at 75% capacity and 40 people on the patio with tables spaced six feet apart. They also have a service window for customers to order drinks from the patio. They have 10 propane heaters at hand if needed for colder days.

Little Em’s has created Covid-19 safety measures that include deep cleanings of the restaurant, hand sanitizer dispensers, social distancing regulations, PPE worn by staff, and a mask mandate.

Little Em's Oyster Bar is located at 1001 S. Alamo St. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Sunday brunch.

Rocky Garza Jr. is a freelance journalist in San Antonio. Follow him at @r0ckssss_ on Twitter

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