Head of the class
The St. Philip’s College community has taken a major step toward opening a facility that will make San Antonio a hub for hospitality education. At a ceremony on August 27, Alamo Colleges District revealed that the new Tourism, Hospitality, and Culinary Arts Center for Excellence and its two hospitality projects will open by fall 2020.
The 61,800-square-foot, four-story building, designed by Page Southerland Page, is destined to be a showpiece. There will be new general instruction spaces, administrative offices, common spaces, and teaching kitchens devoted to culinary arts, tourism, and hospitality — all among the vital, growing industries across San Antonio.
Along with state-of-the-art classrooms, the project will include two public-facing components: Artemesia’s Restaurant and 1898 Cafe.
The former is named after late St. Philip’s College president emeritus Artemisia Bowden. Cantilevered off the fourth floor and offering sweeping views of downtown, the restaurant will be where advanced culinary students hone their skills by planning menus and readying and serving four-course meals to the public.
The more casual 1898 Cafe, named for the year the college opened, will serve American cuisine on the center’s first floor.
The $30 million project also includes a 100-seat tiered lecture hall that can double as a food demonstration kitchen and a mock hotel office. Breakout rooms with retractable walls can be configured to act as simulated hospitality spaces, like conference rooms or a hotel ballroom.
Supporters of the project have said the bigger, state-of-the-art THCA Center for Excellence fills a need in the growing city. San Antonio has one of the nation’s strongest tourism industries, pulling a $15 billion impact in 2017, according to a Trinity University report.
“The new facility will rival any program in the country,” said San Antonio celebrity chef Johnny Hernandez in an earlier release.
Artemesia’s Restaurant and 1898 Cafe aren’t the only student-run concepts highlighting the next generation of hospitality leaders. Savor, the still-new restaurant run by the Culinary Institute of America, opened in the Pearl in December 2018.