I love a good story. From before-and-after tales to business fables, I am fond of a good yarn. And when a story tells of a life-changing moment that happens because of a struggle, I am all ears. Add to it that a story has a bit of someone’s inspirational personal history, I can’t get enough.
The scene for our story? A sunny afternoon at Cured, a lovingly restored restaurant in San Antonio’s Pearl district. Once the Administration Building of the Pearl Brewery, it’s now a dining hotspot created by Chef Steve McHugh. A repeat James Beard Award finalist, Chef McHugh and his team have created a welcoming environment to enjoy charcuterie and a tasty wine list, which top an interesting menu.
But no, this is not a restaurant review. It’s a story about how someone’s history made our own experience even sweeter. From the moment our group of four walked into Cured, we were skillfully taken care of by a cheerful sommelier and unobtrusive server. We were delighted to have an impromptu tour—from the brewery’s safe to the original early 1900s fixtures to a printed description of the restoration.
Our somm friend sent over a taste of rosé when he noticed that we were celebrating an engagement among us. While we sipped this treat, he told us Chef McHugh’s story. Based in New Orleans, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and determined that the medical centers in the River City would be his best option. He soon moved to Texas.
We learned that Chef McHugh opened Luke, John Besh’s first restaurant outside of New Orleans. Our informative sommelier shared that concurrently, Chef McHugh went through rounds of treatment. Soon, he had plans to open a restaurant of his own in the Pearl. After his doctor indicated that he showed signs of remission, McHugh was inspired to rename his restaurant Cured, as this was the first time he felt like he would be.
This experience underlines the importance storytelling has on all of us. Whether it be a powerful award-winning movie or a rags-to-riches fable, telling a compelling story is an essential human trait. Done well, it can be at the cornerstone of an organization’s brand or a shared history. Cured has incredible cured meats, a charming staff, and a lovely space. But it’s the story that makes Cured stand out…a beautiful story that weaves a tale of triumph, inspiration, and being cured.