The St. Anthony Hotel first opened in 1909, but you’d never guess the “Queen of San Antonio,” as she has been called, is more than 100 years old.
A thorough renovation of the hotel, including the addition of the restaurant, Rebelle, and the bar, Haunt, has shown that there’s plenty of sparkle in her, from the baroque elegance of the lobby to the minimalism and serenity of the infinity pool tucked out of view on the sixth floor.
In its heyday, the St. Anthony was the first fully air-conditioned hotel in the world. Now, it shines anew in most every corner, as the recent grand reopening party showed, from its spacious ballroom to the new rooftop lounge on the hotel’s tenth floor, the St. A Sky Terrace, which will open in 2016.
But, of course, it’s the food that caught our interest.
Feast owner Andrew Goodman and chef Stefan Bowers are behind both Rebelle and Haunt, which have drawn great attention from local food lovers. Rebelle features a world of flavors from the comfort of cassoulet with duck and pork to lobster in green curry. The expected array of steaks, from the expected to the mammoth, are pan-seared to perfection, and are just a part of a varied menu that includes both hot and cold small plates to share, including baked oysters and a crab salad over celeriac. Of course, choices will change with Bowers’ inspiration and seasonal items.
That’s what attracted the management of the St. Anthony to the team in the first place. “Feast helped set the stage for San Antonio’s culinary rebirth. What they’ve done there has drawn national attention yet has stayed true to San Antonio. It’s well-rounded and well liked—they have a legion of fans. And Andrew (Goodman) is a local, while Stefan (Bowers) is local by marriage. We wanted to stay local and highlight local talent,” says Clyde Johnson IV, chief investment officer of BC Lynd, one of the partners in the hotel.
Goodman has stories and memories of The St. Anthony. “My grandfather had a standing reservation at The St. Anthony barbershop and my father would accompany him as a boy. I also came here as a child, I’ve been to weddings and events here. My grandparents and parents celebrated here. The hotel is part of the fabric of San Antonio and the restoration is magnificent,” he says. “Being part of the next era of such a tradition is an honor.”
The executive chef of the hotel is Michael Mata, who has worked alongside local chefs such as Andrew Weissman, Steven McHugh and Scott Cohen, as well as celebrity chefs John Besh, Lidia Bastianichi, Rick Bayless and Joanne Weir.
“Every plate has a story to tell,” explains Mata. “Both when we serve it to a guest and when it comes back to us. The food and flavors—and what guests enjoyed — tell a story. We’re always working to tell new stories.
“This hotel is more than a tradition — it’s a legend. And we want our food to match that legend. We want to be the best, every single time. That should be our culinary identity.”