your online guide to lifestyle
RSScontact ussubscribe
December 16, 2013

Cured: Coming to San Antonio in celebration of charcuterie, dining, drinks and life

by Leslie Long


Some restaurants just have it. This one has it before it’s even opened its doors, which, for those lucky enough to be in San Antonio, is roughly scheduled for early January, 2014.

First of all, the location. Cured is the centerpiece of Pearl, a complex of cool stores LeeLee was a favorite for a small, well-edited selection of shoes, clothes and jewelry), apartments and the San Antonio branch of the Culinary Institute of America. All on the site of San Antonio’s former Pearl Brewery, the Pearl complex is repurposing at its finest.

Cured is setting up shop in the brewery’s jewel  — the intricately detailed former administration building. This freestanding brick structure has been painstakingly restored and updated over a period of several years. When invited to preview the restaurant, which is just about ready for its tables, I could just see how it will work once fully set up. The architectural details are spectacular on their own, especially the platinum-toned ceiling.


The entryway has penny round tile and an imbedded logo that incorporates the triple-X insignia that once was seen on bottles and kegs produced on the site dating back to the 19th century. The symbol began further back in 16th century Europe when royal couriers would mark the doors of inns based on the quality of their beer. Those serving especially good beer received an XXX to alert travelers (monarchs included) that this was the place to stop.


Up front is a huge class case for charcuterie where the house-made gems will be displayed and stored. Wine racks have been created with brickwork from the former brewery and imbedded in the brick walls. The hardwood floors are reclaimed from an old tobacco warehouse in North Carolina.


For our visit, the bar was up and running, with bartenders treating us to limoncello cocktails. The liqueur was made in house, a sprig of fresh thyme was added along with a few delicious ingredients.


And then there’s the Chef. Steven McHugh who has a calm, understated demeanor, comes from a large Wisconsin farm family of seven boys. It’s there where he followed his older brother to work at a nearby tavern, eventually being promoted to short order cook. He began college on a scholarship for jazz sax but it wasn’t long before cooking took precedence. So before long, he became a student at the Culinary Institute of America where he thrived. When it came time to do his externship, he chose New Orleans where he could combine his love of jazz and food.

Eventually McHugh’s talents and persistence landed him at August, the famed restaurant of Chef John Besh. Working amid such high standards, his passion grew. After Katrina, McHugh worked with Besh to scrub out the restaurant, serving breakfasts to hundreds of FEMA workers from a trailer. He continued working for the Besh Restaurant Group, becoming chef de cuisine of La Provence where he established a farmyard and kitchen garden, going back to his roots on the farm.

In January 2010, McHugh faced his biggest challenge when he received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After two operations and a year of chemotherapy, his cancer was in remission and he felt ready for a restaurant of his own.

The name Cured has a multitude of meanings for McHugh. It celebrates his recovered health and the house-cured meats which are part of a menu: Beef and Park Landjaeger, Port and Duck Pate, Verrine of Ham Hock and local Parsley to name a few. More concerned with eating well than ever before, he sources only the finest, freshest local ingredients. The weekly Farmer’s Market at Pearl will be a constant source of inspiration for the menu categories: Vegetable, Seafood, Pig, Bird, Beef/Buffalo and Goat/Lamb, each with four fine options.

As the finishing touches are being added, McHugh is excited. While Cured, the restaurant, cures hunger and thirst, he also wants it to feed the soul through his interest in helping others. “I studied social work in college and that sense of wanting to make a positive difference in people’s lives has never left me. Now, with my own place, I have the perfect platform for that. I can make it up as I go along.” To start, he’ll be donating a dollar for every charcuterie board ordered to a different charity each quarter of the year. “Beyond what’s on the plate, I want to achieve the sense of warmth and support that I remember growing up on the farm where our kitchen table was the gathering place for the whole community. I want every person’s experience to be more than just a meal.”

From the genuine warmth McHugh showed us as we previewed the space to the delicious cured meats we sampled and the truly spectacular space, Cured seems to have it all.

Sign up for updates and find out when Cured opens at

Find out more about visiting San Antonio at 800 447-3372 or

posted by: Limité Staff
to a friend

our sponsors
2015 Faces to Watch 2015 Faces to Watch
by Limité Staff
our sponsors
previous posts