If you didn’t know any better, you would drive right on past The Granary Cue & Brew location at The Pearl Brewery, thinking it was the long forgotten relic of a once thriving local beer enterprise on the edge of town.
Which it once was of course, but these days it is something else entirely. Since the site was snapped up by canny developer Kit Goldsbury, it has been transformed into one of San Antonio’s high end dining and residing districts with the opening of a Culinary Institute of America campus training the chefs of tomorrow to top it all off.
It’s the ultimate regeneration irony I suppose; the old fashioned beer factory replaced by trendy micro brewers producing more than a few tasty concoctions of their own.
In the midst of all this up market jingo is The Granary Cue & Brew, a fantastic restaurant which tries its level best to be as down to earth as possible. The building itself is a small rustic clapboard house, once owned by the brewery’s cooper master, the tables are long wooden affairs with simple bench seats; the drinks are served in little mason jars, the atmosphere is warming and very laid back, and the food is simply out of this world.
Brothers Alex and Tim Rattray have taken a giant leap of faith and begun a venture together, mashing Tim’s stunning culinary skills with Alex’s handcrafted beers. The result is a quite magical mix of informal but intellectual service and dishes that would not be out of place in a Heston or a Ramsay establishment.
Tim’s skillful blend of cooking science and the ability to produce some of the finest smoked brisket I have ever had ticks every box in my book. It is great that Tim still embraces the Texas BBQ concept even after working alongside some of the best chefs in the business, but when you take that idea and add some undeniably clever flavour mixes to it it goes to another level. Take the Grit Fritters for example; little balls of grits with country ham that looks like salt and a dollop of coffee mayo. Or my personal favourite, Beef Clod (smoked brisket) with a coffee quinoa crunch, tomato flavoured caramel and pickled celery cornbread. Extraordinary.
Alex’s brews have been born from his own experiences in the pubs of England; trying everything from Irish Red to brown ale. Having said that, there is an extensive wine list for lovers of the fruits of the vine.
The Granary is to me the new face of American cuisine; farm to fork, using delicious locally sourced ingredients in all manner of innovative ways. This isn’t process, it’s progress.
I even left my credit card there, so at least I could have an excuse to go back again!