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Mulberry's adds "bistro" to its offerings

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

For going on five years now, Mulberry's Wine Bar has been the place to go for something "a little different" in Bandera. Owner Sandra Schott has offered her customers a wide selection of fine wines, domestic and imported beers, and quality cigars in the adjoining Cigar Lounge. Accompaniments included fine cheeses, sandwiches and pizzas.
Recently, Schott decided to expand her food offerings to offer a variety of hot soups, salads and an expanded list of entrees.
Assisting with the addition of "bistro" to the wine bar's sign, is capable and experienced chef, Sidny Cook.
"It's all made from scratch," said Schott, "and we're trying to use as much local, organic ingredients as we can." That includes several dishes with those delectable Bandera County Diamond H quail, including quail tacos, poppers, and lettuce wraps. "These quail [and the chicken they use] are hormone and antibiotic free."
The menu will change monthly and seasonally, depending upon what ingredients are available. "And I'm open to customer requests," said Cook. "I like to try new things."
Cook, who spent part of her childhood in the Middle East, looks forward to tempting Mulberry's customers with selections not likely to be found on the menus of any other local eatery. "Life's short," said Cook, "so why not try something different?"
Cook recalls visiting the local markets, or souks, in the Middle East, picking up fresh vegetables and spices, freshly butchered meats and chickens so fresh they were still alive! "The Bedouins came in every Thursday with their wares," she said.
That exotic experience "opened up my palate very early." When she returned to the US, "I found American food very bland, it left me hungry to try new things."
"Our customers are very open to changes on the menu," said Schott. "They like good food and are willing to try pairing a dish with a new wine."
Mulberry's is noted for its festive special occasions, like Oktoberfest, St. Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day.
"We're a great place for a date," said Cook.
"We get a lot of people in for late-night dining, people coming in for a bottle of wine and a cheese platter," said Schott.
Valentine's Day features champagne and "something chocolate," St. Patrick's Day offers corned beef and cabbage with green beer and plenty of Guinness, Oktoberfest spotlights a variety of good German beers and oompa bands. "For Cowboy Mardi Gras this year, we're having a crawfish boil with red beans and rice, right after the parade," said Schott.
Schott thinks of her place as a nice alternative to the local honky tonks, "not that there's anything wrong with the honky tonks," she said with a smile. Mulberry's is a place where the music is turned down low, and customers are encouraged to get to know one another. "Even the shape of our bar encourages conversation," said Schott, referring to the long L-shaped bar with a "bubble" in the corner.
Because of the adjoining Cigar Lounge, some possible customers may have been avoiding Mulberry's, but "we went smoke free last year in the bar," said Schott, "and the smoke eaters in the lounge keep all trace of smoke out of the bar."
The expanded menu includes a selection of panini on ciabatta bread named for local dude ranches, stuffed shrimp jalapeño and fish tacos. The pizza selections have been broadened with cheeses including parmesan, havarti, bleu, provolone, brie and feta.
A Greek salad features fresh greens, cucumber, tomato, pepper rings, red onion, calamata olives, feta cheese and cold herb-roasted white meat chicken, drizzled with a lemon-oregano Greek dressing.
Or, you might want to try the hummus plate, the baba ganoush served with warm crusty bread, the pleasantly filling peasant meal with soup, salad, cheddar and fruit or the olive tapenade.
"We're very flexible," said Schott. "Our customers can come in and share a plate or platter, or enjoy a full meal."
As always, the staff at Mulberry's will be happy to advise you about the best wines or beers to go with whatever you order.
Mulberry's located at the corner of Mulberry Street and Main, next to Family Dollar, is open Thursday through Saturday. On Thursdays and Fridays, they open at 4 pm and on Saturdays, they open at noon. Closing is usually around 11 pm.
It's the perfect place to meet friends, unwind, and now, enjoy dinner, too!

Pictured: Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Mulberry's owner Sandra Schott and chef Sidny Cook have expanded the food offerings of the popular wine bar to include more hot foods. But don't worry, their exquisite cheeses and sandwiches will continue to be available.