Polishing the Pearl

Story and Photos by Meredith Keller

The T-shirts read, “Keep San Antonio Lame,” and they were inspired, I assume, by the popular slogan emblazoned across the grungy T-shirts worn by Austin hipsters that read, “Keep Austin Weird.” I was a little offended when I first encountered one of these shirts, although it did elicit a curious giggle. I don’t think San Antonio is lame at all. Ours is a large city steeped in history and rich with culture, and although we may not be the most forward thinking community in the nation, we have every right to be proud of the 210 area code.

I have called San Antonio home for more than 20 years now, and although there have been times that I considered packing it up and moving back to the West Coast, I have come to love this city. The past several years, in particular, have been very exciting as the city continues to grow and change. We have a bustling arts scene and our festivals are unsurpassed. The culinary scene in San Antonio is also becoming a force to be reckoned with, and the national foodie press is starting to take notice of our innovative restaurants, as well as our many talented and ambitious chefs.

Downtown is not just for tourists anymore, and even suburbia isn’t as boring as it used to be. Certain areas of town are exploding, and our city continues to attract thousands of visitors from around the world with our abundant convention and entertainment opportunities. People who now visit San Antonio will return home with myriad wonderful memories, as they remember much more than just The Alamo.

A local investment group, Silver Ventures, undertook one of the most ambitious and successful projects in recent years. When the iconic Pearl Brewery shut down their bottling lines and moved production to Fort Worth, it left a huge hole in the heart of San Antonio, and a huge empty space in an area just north of downtown. Many generations of San Antonians had worked at the brewery. This historic hometown treasure witnessed two century marks, and survived Prohibition to become one of the most successful breweries in the country. The closing of the Pearl Brewery signaled the end of an era.

Read more in the September 2014 issue of S.A. Scene.