In 1921, George W. Mitchell established himself as G.W. Mitchell General Contractor by initially building residences for many notable San Antonio families. One of the earliest homes Mitchell completed was for Judge Winchester Kelso, Sr. at 2415 North Main Avenue. Judge Kelso lived in the house next door and had this home built for his son, Winchester Jr., and his new bride. Although the Kelsos only lived there for a brief time, the house would stand as an iconic landmark of San Antonio for many years to come.
In 1930, two young, resourceful sisters, Virginia Berry and Nannie Randall opened a Mexican food-to-go shop across the street from the Kelso residence. In spite of the Great Depression, their food business flourished and Berry & Randall were able to purchase the original Kelso residence from its current owner, converting the home into a full-service restaurant. In 1932, La Fonda on Main formally opened and for many years the family lived above the restaurant in the second story.
To this day La Fonda on Main stands at the oldest Mexican restaurant in San Antonio that has been enjoyed by both local residents and visitors alike. Moreover, La Fonda has been visited by many of history’s most celebrated people and celebrities. Several famous officers in World War II have dined there including General Eisenhower, MacArthur and Hill. American Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson have enjoyed La Fonda’s delicious cuisine. Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Yul Brenner, Veronica Lake, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, among many other stars, have also visited this historic restaurant.
Most importantly, over the past 82 years, La Fonda has become an iconic restaurant and dining tradition for many San Antonio families. Similarly, over G.W. Mitchell Construction’s 93 years of business, footprints of San Antonio’s history lie within many of Mitchell’s buildings and continue to take on new form and meaning, enriching the heritage and culture of our great city.