Grinning since 1975


Tyler Jackson

A larger order of onion rings at Grin's restaurant in San Marcos.

Diana Furman

Fresh margaritas, huge onion rings and a treehouse-like atmosphere create a perfect place to enjoy a Happy hour.

From 2-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Grins offers 99 cent margaritas, earning it Best Happy Hour in the San Marcos Stars.

Since 1975, Grins has been a local hotspot for the San Marcos community. It was originally built as a house in 1948 but was converted into a restaurant in 1972.

Grins owners Paul Sutphen and Johnny Ferrell got their start at the restaurant working as chefs while attending Southwest Texas State University. Upon graduation, they bought the small, one-room restaurant and gave life to the community staple known today. The restaurant has expanded three times since 1975 and can accommodate up to 250 customers.

Dawn Manger, the business manager, said the owners have always maintained a passion for serving the community and Sutphen’s compassion for the town is evident through his work.

The establishment is mostly composed of windows and a tree-shaded deck, creating a relaxing atmosphere. Manger said it is perfect for enjoying an ice-cold margarita or bucket of beer after a long day at the river. The family-like atmosphere and commitment to serving quality food is a key component of the restaurant.

Manger said because Grins opened when the town was smaller it has remained a familiar spot in San Marcos as the town expands.

“The city’s changed so much but we haven’t,” Manger said.

Grins has become a tradition in San Marcos. Manger said they plan on maintaining that tradition for as long as they can. Grins is open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is located at 802 N LBJ Dr.

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