Pros at San Antonio's Pullman Market share their must-try items

The 40,000-square-foot culinary market opened this spring.

click to enlarge Fife & Farro's vegetable pizza gets high marks from Emmer & Rye's hospitality director. - Nina Rangel
Nina Rangel
Fife & Farro's vegetable pizza gets high marks from Emmer & Rye's hospitality director.
Entering Pearl’s sprawling new Pullman Market can be overwhelming, what with its soaring ceilings, arrays of colorful produce and seemingly endless shelves of specialty foods.

Given the density of Pullman’s offerings and the crowds drawn by its just-opened novelty, it can be a good idea to approach the space with a game plan.

In that spirit, we asked folks involved with the 40,000-square-foot retail space, including with its Austin-based owner, Emmer & Rye, what they considered must-try items, from items on grocery shelves and chef-prepared foods to menu picks from the markets’ restaurant concepts.

Consider this a jumping-off point, curated by people who know the venture inside and out.

Noah Bradley, general manager of retail, Pullman Market:

“[Deep River Specialty Foods owner] Sherry, her son and one other person make their products, and when I … tasted her products, I knew we had to get them in there. They have regular mustard, sure, but they also make beer mustards, bacon mustard, and honestly, you’ve got to try them to really believe how good they are. And it really warms my heart that we’re supporting a small family business. You can tell they’re not doing it because this is just what makes ends meet, Sherry’s doing it because she’s passionate about it.

“Good For Nothing Coffee is the brand brewed in our coffee bar by our coffee manager, Kyle Lopez. He and his partner have built [coffee] businesses from the ground up, and when they started Good For Nothing Coffee, they had focused more on wholesale coffee beans. I would put our coffee up against any other shop in the area, so I approached them about selling bags in a retail capacity. It’s just absolutely excellent coffee.”

Tavel Bristol-Joseph, director of hospitality, Emmer & Rye:

“I’ll start with the ice cream shop. [W]e are showcasing some incredible Texas dairy, and the must-try is the chicken and waffle ice cream. It’s something incredibly unique, and I don’t think there’s anywhere, certainly not in the state of Texas, that you can go and try something like that — and it will have the same effect. From the dairy, that’s just beautiful, to the flavors that we’re using, I just think that it’s really special.

“Fife & Farro: I love the cocktails there, especially. They really nailed the spritz. I also think they did a really good job on the breads, and the carbonara is so good. And the veggie pizza? I’ve never had a pizza like that. It’s just very fresh and different.”

Kevin Fink, CEO, Emmer & Rye:

“The burger stand is the thing that I’m always so excited for people to try, because it’s incredibly high quality, it’s super fresh and it’s really delicious. It’s a $10 Wagyu burger from prime beef, and we make the buns with local grains, and the fries are all fresh-cut. It’s just hard to beat that value.”

“The carne asada Caramelos [at Mezquite], I would say is one of the best-kept secrets in the space. We start with a mixture of Oaxaca-style cheese from Dallas and Mexico, to get some of that tang from cheese south of the border. And we add that to marinated prime beef grilled over mesquite wood. And then the tortillas [feature] pork lard and beef tallow and are made right there in the tortilla space. The whole bite is just incredibly delicious.”

Jessica Salazar, corporate pastry chef, Emmer & Rye and Pullman Market:

“In talking about Mezquite specifically, I would really highlight the tres leches and chocoflan. As a native to San Antonio, these are flavors I grew up with. They were a key part of every birthday, every family celebration. So for me to put something on the menu that’s familiar to people but also has a slight twist, an extra touch, is something I feel is special.

“As far as the bakery goes, the most unique thing is the blue corn and white chocolate cookie. I wanted to do a take on the classic white chocolate macadamia cookie that had some locality. So I took a look at what [Dripping Springs-based] Barton Springs Mill offered, and they grow blue corn locally and produce it pretty regularly, so that blue corn flour became a really harmonious, local touch to a well-known favorite.”

Matt Levere, head butcher, Pullman Market:

“I may be biased, but any of the protein offerings from around the market are special to me, because they illustrate the full utility of each animal that comes through the butcher shop. The carnitas at Mezquite, the jarred beef tallow in the grab-and-go section of the grocery … all of that comes straight from Texas ranches and is processed here onsite. We don’t waste a thing.

“The pepperoni at Fife & Farrow, especially, is a great example of the collaboration between the specific skill sets of the butchering team and the chefs running these restaurants. Before we opened, we worked together to develop a flavorful product that we could make right here, and now it tops one of the best-selling pizzas.”

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Nina Rangel

Nina Rangel uses nearly 20 years of experience in the foodservice industry to tell the stories of movers and shakers in the food scene in San Antonio. As the Food + Nightlife Editor for the San Antonio Current, she showcases her passion for the Alamo City’s culinary community by promoting local flavors, uncovering...

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