San Antonio’s first food hall, the Bottling Department, opened at the Pearl Brewery on Monday. The food hall, which differs from a food court by the absence of fast food chains, is home to five boutique food vendors and one bar that highlight San Antonio’s growing culinary scene.
The hall is located in a vaulted brick building at the site of the brewery’s original bottling plant and includes salvaged, original cornerstones and a stone name plate. The building has seating for just over 100 guests inside, with additional seating outside and around the adjacent Park at Pearl.
At 7 a.m., Maybelle’s Donuts and The Good Kind opened for the inaugural breakfast crowd. Four hours later, lunch patrons began eagerly filing in as Tenko Ramen, Fletcher’s Hamburgers, Bud’s Southern Rotisserie, and The Bar at Bottling Department opened their windows for business.
Tenko Ramen, founded by former Hot Joy chefs Quealy Watson and Jennifer Dobbertin, brings an array of flavorful Japanese dishes with a casual atmosphere. Snacks like the Karaage fried chicken fajita cost $3-7, and full meals like spicy miso Tonkotsu are $9-11, with add-ons ranging from $0.50-3.50.
Maybelle’s Donuts and Fried Pies, run by Jeremy Mandrell, Anne Ng, and Charlie Biedenharn of Bakery Lorraine, offers only the essentials: an assortment of fried pastries, coffee, and soft serve ice cream. Donuts are $3 and fried pies are $5.
The Good Kind modern market and café by Tim “the Girl” McDiarmid specializes in healthy and sustainable culinary creations with a wide variety of flavors and influences. Pressed juices and smoothies are around $8. Salads, bowls, and sandwiches mostly range from $6-9, with assorted extras for a few dollars more.
Bud’s Southern Rotisserie, created by Pieter and Susan Sypesteyn of the Cookhouse and NOLA Brunch and Beignets, delivers the duo’s signature modern cajun comfort food with slow cooked porchetta and chicken and sides like cornbread and jambalaya. A hot plate of meat and two sides runs $14. A sandwich with one side is $12, and extra sides are $4.
Fletcher’s Hamburgers, by Mexico City native and former director of Latin Cuisine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America Sergio Remolina, features unique, carefully crafted hamburgers, featuring a blend of short rib, chuck, and brisket for $8-10. The menu also includes hot dogs and milkshakes each for $6, and chicken sandwiches for $7.
The Bar at Bottling Department offers a selection of beer and wine seasonally curated by sommelier Scott Ota, general manger and beverage director at the High Street Wine Co. The menu caters to a variety of tastes, with wines ranging from $5-9 by the glass, and lagers and ales from $3-7.
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Continuing its opening celebration into the evening, the Bottling Department will host local “barrio big band” Bombasta from 5-8 p.m. to serenade patrons from the park outside.
The Bottling Department is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.