Original Hemisfair Buñuelos


Established in 1968.

It all began when two friends wanted to participate in the World’s Fair coming to San Antonio, Texas in 1968. Other food items already were taken, so Tony Specia and David Carter decided to create a food booth dedicated to the popular Mexican pastry called a buñuelo. After being awarded space at the Fair, Buñuelos made their national debut in 1968 at HemisFair when San Antonio celebrated its 250th birthday. The large crowds of people that attended the World’s Fair (HemisFair ’68) loved them and that started the now famous and award winning brand of buñuelos.

Buñuelos have always been a tradition in the Specia family.  Tony Specia’s wife, Mary Ashley Culp, held a prized family recipe from her great grandmother, Señora Trinidad Bustillos Guitierrez, a descendant of the Canary Islanders who immigrated to San Antonio in 1731.  Eager to introduce this cultural tradition to the World’s Fair, Tony Specia and David Carter invented a method to produce large quantities of Buñuelos in several sizes. A Buñuelo cone filled with mango ice cream became a crowd pleaser and crispy, packaged three-inch Buñuelos could be purchased from vending machines. Happily for everyone, Buñuelos were the best-selling food item at the Fair, and their popularity continued to grow in Texas. These delicacies are still fondly known as The Original HemisFair Buñuelos even after many years since our doors have closed in 2015.

“We only used the highest quality ingredients available. Our award winning buñuelos recipe makes the greatest tasting buñuelos in the country. The taste, texture, and precise thickness remains unmatched to this today. Since 1968, locals and tourists and even a President and dignitary or two have happily been eating these wonderful regional treats.”

After HemisFair, the two business partners ran the main kitchen from the rebuilt Carriage House (108 Auditorium Circle) at the back of the Maverick Carter House, David’s homestead. The original Carriage House partially burned down in a fire during the late 1930s or early 1940s. Only a few walls and doors of the original structure remain standing. With the success of their little venture in HemisFair, the Carriage House was rebuilt for the use as the buñuelo kitchen. An additional office and distribution center was located on 5917 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212. Between the surviving original windows of the south side wall of the Carriage House still reads in old paint the 1968 “Buñuelos Inc.” sign.


For Further Reading See Also:
Buñuelos — a lucky holiday tradition” by Chris Waters Dunn 12/29/2010
Buñuelos bring luck and tradition” by Julie Cohen 4/7/2016
“HemisFair” – San Antonio Remembered. 8/04/2010. Approximately 01:28:59. Marlene Richardson. PBS – KLRN.

Excerpt from KRLN PBS San Antonio Documentary

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