Housed in the original brewhouse building at the Pearl complex, Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery has set a high standard for Gulf Coast cuisine in San Antonio.
The restaurant opened in 2015 and has since become one of the most acclaimed restaurants and breweries in the state. Chef Jeffrey Balfour, along with his crew, which includes brew master William Les Locke Jr. and general manager Phillipe Place, have created a concept that continues to delight and impress guests locally as well as visitors from around the world.
The menu is reminiscent of Chef Jeff’s childhood in Galveston, Texas. His Gulf Coast influences shine through with unique takes on Southern specialties like fried gulf oysters and cracker-crusted redfish. Southerleigh is also known for their outdoor oyster bar, their authentic shrimp boils and their heaping seafood towers meant to be shared family-style. However, one of the restaurant’s most famous dishes is their fried snapper throats. The throat is not usually a part of the fish that restaurants will serve, but it is meaty and sweet and served with crystal aioli and a tangy creole mustard remoulade that complements the flavors perfectly. Balfour states, “We didn’t plan to make this our signature dish, it just happened due to the publicity it received for its uniqueness.” It is their most popular dish, so you’ll need to arrive early because they often sell out.
Another one of the dishes that put Southerleigh on the culinary map in San Antonio is, without a doubt, their delicious fried chicken and biscuits, and it rivals the best in the country. It is pressure-fried and served with jalapeño aioli and their house-made tiger sauce. Every order also comes with a heap of their incredibly addictive fried biscuits. These little balls of deliciousness are drizzled with honey, lemon and cayenne pepper and will have you ordering more before you even finish your chicken. They are that good.
On the brewery front, Southerleigh has anywhere from eight to ten beers on tap, brewed on-site in the brewery upstairs. Creative and award-winning, there is something to make every beer drinker happy. The beers range from golden ales to IPAs and have colorful names like “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” and “Over My Dad Body.” The brewery is always working overtime, and Southerleigh works hard to produce the finest beers and to keep-up with the high demand and maintain quality.
Housed in the original Pearl brewhouse, Southerleigh is an architectural beauty. The talented architects and designers that brought Chef Jeff’s Southerleigh dream to life managed to salvage and repurpose a large amount of the original equipment of the brewery. Walls were blasted and scraped back to the earlier layers – you can still make out the outline of a worker’s wrench where it must have hung for many generations. The staircase leading to the brewing mezzanine was painstakingly moved and reinforced to maintain its unique industrial ironwork design, and the original grain silo now houses an intimate private dining room for up to twenty guests.
The Southerleigh brand is of the highest quality and you will find the food outstanding and unique. So, whether you’re craving some down-home fried chicken or delicate Gulf Coast seafood, you can’t go wrong at the Pearl’s crown jewel restaurant. They are open for lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. You’ll want to make plans to try all of their menus. Chef Jeff and his talented team are creating a legacy in San Antonio, and we are very lucky that this Texas chef chose to move inland and call San Antonio home.
By Meredith Kay
Photography by Janet Rogers