BBonnie and Joseph Brantley, along with their son Mike have made 259 – A Brantley Bistro into a Main Street staple of high quality, locally sourced dining for the past 5 years. The family, along with an extended “family” of loyal employees, continue to serve up fine dining in the heart of Boerne while having more fun than you’d expect.
Bonnie brings some deep roots to her restaurant as a BHS graduate of 1978. Her love for food was also something that has been with her a long time. She begins, “Food and restaurants is something I’ve always done. I went to school as a nutritionist, when I was as in college I waited tables and I’ve always loved being around the people and I didn’t want to be in a hospital somewhere doing nutrition.”
But her love of cuisine and her appreciation for sustainable foods started even younger. She continues, “I grew up on Upper Cibolo Creek Road here in town and we were dirt poor. My dad was a rancher and we didn’t have much but we absolutely ate meals like you wouldn’t believe because we grew our own vegetables and we had our own venison and beef and chicken. We always ate so well. Joseph was raised by his grandparents and he was raised a similar way and living off the land. So that’s what we did here at 259 – we came back to our roots. Our ingredients are produced by local farmers and producers, Texas craft beers, and even local wines.”
As for “coming back to our roots”…they did exactly that, not only with the location, but with simply returning to a town that they were so deeply involved. She explains, “We were going to open our concept in the Schreiner building in Kerrville. We were in Austin for a trip before we had officially signed for the location and I just said to Joseph, “I’m just not feeling Kerrville.” He paused a moment then he said ‘I’m feeling the same’. We agreed to get away to consider our decision. So we took off for a trip to go fishing at the coast and we drank beer and fished and while we were there the owner of this location called us and said ‘Please come take this location off my hands’ and we did it. We decided that anytime we have a big decision we go fishing and drink beer. I’ve been so happy with that decision ever since. My sister had her wedding rehearsal here in ‘80. My little sister waited tables back in high school here. I’ve known the landlords since high school. It was such an easy decision for us once we found the opportunity.”
Opening in late August of 2014, the team has been moving forward and growing ever since. While there have certainly been hiccups as with any business and with a building as old as the one that houses 259, the family has always found a way to make it work. Bonnie continues, “The staff is just so wonderful. Even after they leave to go to other jobs or college or whatever…we stay in touch and they come back to visit. It’s such a great feeling and I think is a real testament to what we’ve been able to build here.”
Since their opening, the team has been focused on bringing high quality dining to the Main Street District, and has done so with great success. As more and more restaurants have opened in the District, competition has increased, yet it has brought a more diverse and increased crowd to the area which benefits all. Staffing is a struggle, as it is for most area businesses, but the ones that join the team at 259 tend to be devoted and long-term, which is a testament to the environment that the Brantleys have cultivated. Bonnie explains, “Staffing is always a hard thing here. Seasons don’t really bother me because when it’s the slow season we can take the time to relax and fix things and take a vacation…but we never stop trying to improve things and perfect what we’re doing. I love the people here in town – I love the Old Boerne folks, the Middle Boerne people (if there’s such a thing), and I love the new people that are just getting here. They all become family and I love that so much.”
Locally, the family works heavily with the Empty Bowls charity, which benefits the Hill Country Food Bank by providing soup to the needy families in the area, as well as to the Kendall County Women’s Shelter. That feeling of inclusion and giving extends to several groups, as well as the families enjoying their evening out at 259 having a nice dinner. But at the end of the day, Bonnie explains that she is the real recipient of the joy that her restaurant brings. She finishes, “Let me tell you how I feel about this place – when I’m at home and with my husband and my son we enjoy our time together and make memories and just enjoy being together. Then I come here and it’s like home too. I never want to get away from here like most people might – we eat dinner together, we went to the Rodeo recently as a big group, we do things together all the time and it’s not a JOB. I never wanted to work (laughs) and sometimes I think I’m having too much fun here. It’s not about whatever money we make here, either. As long as we’re happy, making a living, and have employees that we value…I feel like we’re as rich as we can be.”
Brantley’s 259 Bistro
259 S Main St.
Boerne, TX 78006