Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

A journey to the Magic Time Machine

With just a short drive and the push of a door, visitors and residents of San Antonio alike can be transported to an evening of adventure and fun. Where can you find such a place, you may ask? At the Magic Time Machine, of course.

Since opening its doors in 1973, the Magic Time Machine has been recognized as one of San Antonio’s most iconic establishments, renowned for its whimsical charm, unique decor and overall sense of nostalgia. The restaurant prides itself on creating an over-the-top and unique dining experience for its patrons.

Upon entry, customers are seated at one of the various themed tables. These themes include but not limited to: Spongebob, where diners can sit in the nostalgic underwater pineapple; Area 51, decorated with various extraterrestrial items; an attic-decorated section, which displays unique objects typically stored away in one’s attic; a superhero-themed table and much, much more.

“Our concept back in 1973, when we first started, was coined as funky nostalgia,” Director of Operations for The Magic Time Machine Gary Johnson said. “Each one of our dining areas, each one of our tables, has its own individual motif. We’ve got a Spongebob-themed table, it looks like a pineapple under the sea, we’ve got an Area 51, which has got a flying saucer over the table, we’ve got a superheroes table, we have a Christmas table. So each one of them has its own unique motif to it, which makes a kind of light, carefree atmosphere for the guests.”

Not only are customers entertained by the very detailed and uniquely decorated seating areas the restaurant offers but also by the devoted and in-character staff that serves them. These servers play a huge role in transporting guests to another time period as they dress up to portray various pop-culture icons from the past, present and future. These eccentric characters range from individuals such as Snow White, one of Disney’s first iconic princesses; Miles Morales, a popular Spiderman variant within the Spiderman universe; Ace Ventura, the wacky pet detective famously played by Jim Carrey and various characters from the Harry Potter franchise, such as Hermione and Hagrid. 

“We are a conventional restaurant in the fact that we prepare food and serve food to guests; you come in for a dining experience, but we also are entertainment,” Johnson said. “Each of our servers dress up in costumes, whether from books, movies, TV or history. There is really nothing off-limits except for the fact that none of our characters are allowed to be scary or overly sexual. It is a family environment, and we strongly support that family approach.”

The Magic Time Machine ensures that their staff have the creative opportunity to portray any character they like, with the approval of the establishment’s costume committee. Many of their waiters and waitresses have multiple characters to play. They are even given an allowance by the restaurant to invest in their character’s look to ensure that the costume is perfect for the server and engaging for its patrons. 

Aside from the different seating areas and devoted staff, the restaurant also offers a wide range of meals. Some fan favorites include its hand-cut steaks, prime rib and fresh seafood. Young kids can choose from a wide selection of kid’s meals and fun drinks like the Bubbly Magic Time Machine Potion — a tropical fruit-like drink that bubbles and smokes like a witch’s brew — for both children and adults to enjoy.

Visiting the restaurant, one can see the Magic Time Machine’s charm and appeal within the community and the very welcoming and fun environment it provides for patrons and staff alike. 

“I can tell you, I’ve been here 23 years, and no two days have ever been the same because pop culture is constantly changing,” Johnson stated. “I love coming into work because I get to come in and laugh; I mean, I spend all day long laughing and watching as other people laugh. It’s an addictive environment to be a part of, you know, to see people enjoy what they do, to see people enjoy their jobs and what kind of impact that can have on others.”

From celebrating birthdays, marriage proposals, divorce parties, graduations, hosting student events and many other special occasion celebrations, the Magic Time Machine welcomes everyone for all and any occasion. It is a fun environment where kids can be themselves and parents can relax and enjoy the endless entertainment the establishment offers. 

So next time you are looking for an evening of fun and adventure, make sure to visit the Magic Time Machine at 902 NE Interstate 410 Loop, “where laughing aloud is allowed.”

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About the Contributors
Naydine De La Fuente
Naydine De La Fuente, Copyediting Coordinator
Naydine De La Fuente (she/her) is an English major with a double concentration in professional and creative writing with a minor in communication. She joined The Paisano during the spring 2023 term in order to indulge in her passion for writing. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in journalism or publishing in hopes to utilize her writing skills. Outside of the organization, she enjoys reading, journaling and spending time with friends, family and her dog.
Lauren Hernandez
Lauren Hernandez, Assistant Arts & Life Editor
Lauren (she/her) is a second year English student at UTSA. After graduation she plans on attending law school. Outside of The Paisano you can usually find her at a concert taking pictures, hiking in the woods, watching movies or thrifting with her sister.

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