Chef, restaurant-owner, and visionary Angela Mancino was recently named the runner-up for the Texas Restaurant Association’s Rising Star Award. And it’s no surprise, as in just over a decade she has created three unique, thriving restaurants in Fredericksburg.
Whether it’s breakfast at the cool, casual Sunset Grill; lunch at the bustling, farmhouse-style Woerner Warehouse; or fine dining and cocktails at Granite House Lounge, Fredericksburg residents and visitors have countless delicious dishes to choose from.
Mancino was born and raised in San Diego and first came to Fredericksburg to visit a friend, Sue Porter, who had opened a shop called Rawhide on Main Street. Porter ultimately convinced her to follow suit and move on down in 2006.
“I packed my stuff up, sold my condo, moved here, and never looked back,” said Mancino.
She quickly realized Fredericksburg could benefit from more restaurants, especially ones serving breakfast. “I felt like I wanted to bring a little bit of where I was from to this community. We had such great places to eat for breakfast in California, and I wanted to share the things that remind me of home with people here.
Wow. This is it. I’m gonna buy this because I know this is going to be something really wonderful one day.– Angela Mancino
“I opened Sunset Grill in November of 2009. And then I heard that the Woerner Warehouse was for sale, and I thought, ‘An old feedstore—what a cool concept!’ I converted it into what it is today is—a full-service bakery, café, and restaurant with full catering.”
Mancino continued to imagine new culinary ideas for the town. One day her mom insisted on showing her a property. “We pulled in front of what is now Granite House, and it was like a shanty—completely rundown. It was this old ’30s Craftsman house. I was like, ‘Mom!’ But she told me to just go inside. I looked around and thought, ‘Wow. This is it. I’m gonna buy this because I know this is going to be something really wonderful one day.’” Her vision: a dinner house.
She decided to create a menu that’s simplistic, that everybody can connect with, that’s not overly pricey. Inspired by her travels, especially in the south and New Orleans, she knew she wanted the look of a dark dinner house, plus a full bar with craft cocktails, and a combination of Southern cuisine with a specifically Texas flair. That became Granite House Lounge.
It’s a lot to run three restaurants, but it helps to love the work. “The reason I’m able to do what I do,” Mancino explained, “is because I have wonderful people to help me. Bobby and Mary help manage everything at Granite House. My business partner Jamie Lucky helps over at Woerner House, and Alicia over at Sunset Grill. So I have this incredible team where we all strive for excellence, take our jobs seriously, and love what we do.”
It’s become a well-oiled machine that Mancino worked hard to put together. She also feels blessed to be surrounded by a tight-knit family; her brothers even work at the restaurants, too.
The Granite House cocktail menu is seasonal but always features classic staples—like the Sazerac and the Pops Old Fashioned—sometimes with a twist. Some cocktails remind Mancino of her travels (a French 75 just screams New Orleans), and some remind her of bartending days in San Diego when she’d regularly shake up drinks like the Pomegranate Martini and Ruby Red Cosmo.
It’s tough for her to choose favorite items on the menu, because she must admit, it’s all so good! Highlights include the southern New Orleans BBQ Shrimp appetizer with a rich, smoked-bacon sauce, served with olive ciabatta bread for dipping; the light House Salad with candied pears, gorgonzola, and a cane sugar dressing; the sweet and spicy Voodoo Shrimp Poor Boy (yes, Poor Boy); and, of course, the Chicken Fried Steak served with a fried egg on top. She’s also worked for years to perfect the bread pudding dessert.
Mancino isn’t stopping now. She’s bought the two lots next to Granite House and will essentially be creating “Restaurant Row,” moving both Sunset Grill and Woerner Warehouse right next door and adding a retail shop. That will help this rising Texas restaurant star continue to shine.