Along with the CIA, the restaurant led the culinary-driven transformation of the historic Pearl Brewery complex. Now featuring
some 15 restaurants, cafes and bakeries, including Cured from
Chef Steve McHugh, a James Beard finalist for Best Chef: Southwest this year, the campus debuted Hotel Emma last November.
Housed in an update of the Pearl’s 1894 brewhouse, the 146-
room meetings-capable property is a wonderland of preserved
brewing equipment and fittings. With Midwest-meets-South Texas
culinary programming throughout from Executive Chef John
Brand, group venues include a prefunction exhibition kitchen and
Sternewirth Bar. Referring to the “Sternewirth Privilege,” which
entitled workers to freely draw beer while on the job, this historic
vaulted space includes intimate seating inside 20-foot tall cast-iron
finishing tanks, once holding 10,000 gallons of beer each.
Along with organizing the annual Paella Challenge fundraising
event at the Pearl, Hernandez also delivers the goods at the newly
renovated and expanded Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
via a new partnership that unites his long-running True Flavors
with two other local catering and event management institutions,
Black Tie Affairs and the RK Group.
Founded in 1946 by San Antonio icon Rosemary Kowalski, the
preeminent RK Group serves distinctive occasions and venues in
San Antonio, Austin and now Houston.
These include the Smithsonian-affiliated Witte Museum, San
Antonio’s oldest museum, dating to 1926. Featuring Rattlesnake
Dinners in the 1930s and 1940s, the museum is renowned for its
annual fundraising Game Dinner, created 46 years ago by the
still-active Ms. Kowalski, now 92.
This year, through its Rosemary’s Catering flagship, the RK
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Chocolate infuses the air in Hershey, Pa., where customized experiences include chocolate and
wine pairings, chocolate tastings, chef
demonstrations, interactive classes and
seminars, and more.
An hour south in York County, the
“Snack Food Capital of the World,”
historic manufacturers of pretzels, potato
chips and other snacks such as Snyder’s
of Hanover (1909) and Utz Quality Foods
(1921) offer factory tours and samples.
At the event-capable Coca-Cola
Experience in Atlanta, groups can see the
Coca-Cola bottling process, explore the
interactive Vault of the Secret Formula,
or book the entire 45,000-square-foot
facility for seated dinners for 400 guests
or cocktail receptions for 1,500.
In St. Louis, the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery offers unique and
memorable experiences for groups.
“From tours and beer school to photos
with the world-famous
Budweiser Clydesdales and private
events, we offer something for everyone,”
says Kendra Quartz,
manager for Anheuser-Busch.
and Jacksonville, Fla., also
offer tours. Other
group-capable beer venues include
Samuel Adams in Boston; the revived
1870 Anaheim Brewery in the city’s historic Packing District; and San Francisco’s Anchor Steam Brewery, from 1849.
Also in San Francisco, the landmark
Ferry Building Marketplace (1898)
exemplifies historic food halls around the
U.S., and offers space for F&B-themed
Other coordinates include Seattle’s Pike
Place Market (1907) and New York City’s
Chelsea Market. Housed in a circa-1890s
Nabisco bakery complex, this block-long
arcade offers tours and private events in
the Wine Vault. Inspired by Asian hawker
centers, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s
food hall, taking shape
inside historic Pier 57
on the Hudson River in
promises to be a foodie
destination for the ages.
ST. LOUIS BIERGARTEN
CHELSEA MARKET, NEW YORK CITY