It wasn’t much of a stretch for Lisa and Sam Asvestas to convert the lot on West Cypress into a car wash, Laundromat and mini food court combo—they’d been in a facet of each business for 15 years. But when they added a bar and expanded the kitchen, something new was born: The Cove Restaurant.
“In the beginning, we served traditional fast food: burgers, fries, hot dogs,” says Lisa. But a blossoming interest in Ayurveda (the ancient system of natural healing) soon pulled her, and the restaurant, in a new direction.
“I changed what I ate, and it just got harder and harder to serve unhealthy food to customers,” Lisa says.
The couple began the subtle menu shift with the easy stuff—fish tacos and organic salads. They nudged out hydrogenated oil and iceberg lettuce, and brought in olive oil and organic vegetables. The biggest modification, though, came in the form of Michael Sohocki, a chef toting a resume bursting with talent and a commitment to sustainable, local ingredients.
Michael and the Asvestas began reaching out to local ranchers and growers, and soon the larger culinary dominos of change began tumbling. They spoke with Hugh Fitzsimons of Thunder Heart Bison who referred them to Loncito Cartwright of Loncito’s Lamb, who told them about Dewberry Hills Farms chicken—on and on.
The last thing to go was the hamburger made with conventional beef.
“We had to give it up,” Lisa says. “We now only serve grassfed meats and our hamburger comes from LT Beef. Our menu is a little more expensive, but we’re one of the only places in San Antonio with this level of commitment to organic, local food.”
Cove customers order at the counter, then linger at long, wooden communal tables. Live music often fills the airy, funky space decorated with pictures of rancher friends. And though some diners may not have noticed that the restaurant is powered by Windtricity (electricity generated from wind farms in West Texas), that the to-go boxes are made of sugar cane or that the drink cups are made of corn, they have noticed the quality of the ingredients in dishes like the grilled Gulf shrimp taco with cabbage, avocado and wasabi cream sauce, the Moroccan sweet potato salad, the lamb burger with Latin spices and Cotija cheese and the organic jalapeño carrot cake.
For the Asvestas, that’ll do.
“We hope that even customers who have no idea they’re eating healthy food will still have the intuitive sense that their bodies just feel better after dining with us rather than the typical burger joint.”
The Cove Restaurant
606 W. Cypress