Restaurants / Openings

Stephan Pyles Is Opening a Brand New Texas Restaurant In a Surprising Place — Alma Proves This Celebrity Chef Is Far From Retired

Georgetown Becomes the Seventh City to Get the Pyles Treatment

BY // 11.11.22

Stephan Pyles is synonymous with Southwestern-style menus. The celebrity chef who is credited with bringing modern Texas cuisine to the fore has opened 23 restaurants in six cities during his more than 30-year career. And there’s good news for Texas foodies. Pyles is involved with another new restaurant that will be opening soon in Georgetown.

“I’ve opened restaurants in six different cities, Georgetown will be my seventh,” Stephan Pyles tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “It will be called Alma, which means kind. And it is opening in January.”

This restaurant opening is unique for many reasons. It will be the premiere restaurant of the soon-to-open Hacienda at Georgetown ― which is a luxury senior living community being brought to life by Watermark Retirement Communities.

The idea behind the new restaurant really piqued Pyles’ interest, because it will be open to outside diners too. The intention is to enrich the lives of both the senior living residents and the surrounding community.

Many seniors are considered socially isolated, and COVID only made matters worse. Now Pyles and Watermark plan to bring together young and old under one roof, and what better enticement than potentially award-winning food and beverage options?

What a novel idea. An intentionally multi-generational dining experience. We hope this catches on.

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“Of course, the residents will be treated like VIP’s, with first access to reservations,” Pyles says. “But opening it to the larger community is something special. I don’t know of any other retirement communities that are doing this.”

Alma restaurant should open in January at The Hacienda in Georgetown, Texas.
Alma restaurant should open in January at The Hacienda in Georgetown, Texas.

 

It helps that the food and beverage are licensed through a sought-after chef like Stephan Pyles. Who wouldn’t want a reservation to dine there? And this celebrity chef plans to give the people what they want.

“People expect my menus to be filled with Southwestern and Modern Texas dishes,” Pyles says. “Over the years, I’ve learned you should dance with the one that brung you. But Alma will be more specific to the Hill Country, relying on local wineries and purveyors.

“I call it Hill Country soul food.”

Stephen Pyles is crafting menus for the Hacienda's Bistro Cafe too.
Stephen Pyles is crafting menus for the Hacienda’s Bistro Cafe too.

Pyles says he is consulting on all food and beverage at Hacienda. In addition to Alma, there is a casual coffee bar and a pizza kitchen on site that Pyles is involved in too.

Stephan Pyles’ Life Outside The Kitchen

Since 2020, Pyles has also been leading culinary tours all over the world. He schedules about four such trips per year for between 20 to 30 people.

“We just got back from Nova Scotia, Canada,” he says. “We were just in time for the fall colors.”

Past tours have included a private yacht tour of the Greek Isles and sailing from New York to Quebec. Upcoming culinary tours include one to Reykjavik, Iceland, and next fall will bring a trip to Normandy, France departing from Paris.

Most are river tours, to make the most of each destination, and Pyles arranges the excursions for his group, giving them behind-the-scenes access and sharing his chef’s knowledge of the cultures and cuisines. He also does a cooking demonstration on board the ship.

On a recent culinary tour in Quebec, Pyles booked ARVI for his guests, one of Quebec's top restaurants.
On a recent culinary tour in Quebec, Pyles booked ARVI for his guests, one of Quebec’s top restaurants.

“When I was running my restaurants, I always made travel a priority,” Pyles says. Texas diners have been tasting the inspiration from his travels for decades.

Among the highlights of Pyles’ prolific restaurant career include his Routh Street Cafe, Baby Routh, Star Canyon, Stephan Pyles, Samar and Stampede 66. So when he closed his beloved Flora Street Cafe in 2020, the last of his remaining restaurants, some wrote that he had retired.

When I mentioned this, in a recent conversation with Pyles, he immediately shrugs and laughs. You see, Stephan Pyles is far from retired. He was merely repositioning his brand. Ending his ownership of independent restaurants has freed him up to pursue his passions more fully.

Let someone else deal with the shipping delays and plumbing issues.

Pyles has been busy with his licensing and cuisine consulting for more than 20 years, having been called on by the likes of The Omni Hotel, The Dallas Museum of Art and American Airlines to create their food and beverage offerings. He decided to let go of running his own restaurants so that he could be more available to focus on new projects instead.

Stepping back from a career that has brought him accolades and awards, not to mention major name recognition, Pyles says his other great passion is philanthropy. One in particular above all others. He was one of the founding members of Share Our Strength, which has been laser focused on ending childhood poverty for more than 35 years. You might be familiar with its offshoot called No Kid Hungry as well.

“Before I got involved, I was unaware that one in four American children suffer from food insecurity,” Pyles tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “I believe that number has improved slightly, it might be more like one in five now, but we still have a lot of work to do.

“We’ve raised a lot of awareness over the years, and being a part of this mission has been my greatest joy.”

Whether it’s being involved in one of his beloved charities, an upcoming culinary tour or one of his new restaurants, it’s easy to see that Stephan Pyles is not retiring any time soon.

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