On the corner of Gruene Road and the Guadalupe River, Cantina del Rio is just a couple doors down from Gruene Hall. In business since 2010, Cantina is situated in a bustling shady nook, river side and comfortable under the oak tree canopy. Formerly the Guadalupe Smoked Meat Company and Janie’s Table, the building was originally constructed in Martindale, Texas in the early 1900’s and was moved to Gruene in 1983. Enjoy the social atmosphere inside, on the front porch, or out back in the shady yard.
The menu honors staples like classic enchiladas and satisfying tacos alongside surprisingly crave-worthy burgers and fries. A Cantina favorite, the “El Rey Burger” (a.k.a. The King) is one of the best kept secrets in Gruene Historic District!
Don’t miss our craveable margarita— it’s been voted the best in town for a reason! Whether you like them frozen or on the rocks, these signature sips of perfection are made with top shelf tequila and fresh, hand-squeezed lime juice.
Arriving in Texas in the mid 1840s, German farmers Ernst Gruene and his wife Antoinette reached the newly established city of New Braunfels but acreage was scarce. Thus, Ernst and his two sons purchased land just down river and started building. His second son, Henry D. Gruene, built his home (now Gruene Mansion Inn) and several houses in various styles—a cottage (now The Pomegranate) and a frame house (now Gruene Haus). The first mercantile store (now Gruene General Store) was built in 1878 and a cotton gin (now Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar) was added soon after. A dance hall and saloon (Gruene Hall) was built the same year and became the center of the community’s social life. A new mercantile building (now Gruene Antique Company) was added in 1904. Sadly, the economic disasters of the boll weevil and the Great Depression were too much for the small businesses and they all closed, except for Gruene Hall which never did.
In 1975, Pat Molak bought Gruene Hall. With the help of his good friend Mary Jane Nalley, the duo worked to preserve the authentic, turn-of-the-century look and feel of Gruene by purchasing and repairing several more of the town’s most notable structures, turning them into thriving businesses. Their effort and attention seemed to rekindle the spark of Gruene and soon the town’s familiar bustling charm began to shine again. Today, Gruene Historic District is the perfect place to celebrate Texas culture and tradition in iconic fashion.