Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery, helmed by San Antonio Chef Jeff Balfour, brings a modern take on Texas’ cross-cultural cuisine to Pearl. Influenced by the coastal classics of Chef Balfour’s upbringing in Galveston married with the comfort of southern cuisine, Southerleigh boasts a curated, seasonally shifting menu that reflects Chef Balfour’s innovative craftsmanship. Southerleigh will house a custom manufactured brewery designed by Portland Kettle Works, and brings brewing back to Pearl offering 21 different beers on tap. Southerleigh is located at 136 East Grayson, Suite 120, on the ground floor in the historic Pearl brewhouse.
Jeff Balfour, Chef Owner
Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Chef Jeff Balfour developed a love for his native cuisine and the freshest ingredients. Balfour realized his culinary passion over fifteen years ago while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. Balfour switched gears and transferred to Conrad Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.
While working in kitchens in Houston, including the former La Reserve, he honed his skills in French and American cuisine under several of the nation’s top chefs. In 2002, Balfour moved to San Antonio after given the honor of creating the food service concept for Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. Under his direction, Citrus Restaurant became known as one of San Antonio’s most innovative fine dining restaurants. Citrus has been recognized numerous times and consistently named among the top hotel restaurants in San Antonio, including being named as a “Best Hotel Restaurant” by the San Antonio Express-News in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Balfour also received one of the culinary world’s top honors, being chosen to showcase his talents at the James Beard House in New York.
In April 2015, Balfour brought a new concept to the historic Pearl’s brewhouse with the opening of his restaurant, Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery. The restaurant, which is Balfour’s modern take on Texas’ cross-cultural cuisine, is influenced by the coastal classics of Chef Balfour’s upbringing in Galveston married with the comfort of southern cuisine.
Philippe Place, General Manager
Philippe Place brings his lifelong expertise and dedication to detail in culinary services as general manager of Southerleigh in the historic Pearl brewhouse in San Antonio. Place’s passion for dining and cuisine first emerged at the Claridge’s Hotel in London in 1989, where his fervor for serving culinary excellence as chef de rang was experienced by the most renowned palates, including the Queen of England, Princess Diana, and Prince Charles. His proficiencies became evident among many in the restaurant industry and he served as director of banquets at Hôtel Lutetia in Paris until 1993.
Following his time at Hôtel Lutetia, Place spent eighteen months as maître d for French General Roquejoffre, commander of the Gulf War, and was awarded the Bronze Medal of National Defense. Place relocated to the Right Bank in Paris, France, where he was the assistant director of banquets at the world-renowned Pavillon Ledoyen in the eastern part of the Champs-Élysées.
After many years in France, Place looked west to the United States and from 1997 to 2001, he served as the food and beverage director at Wheatleigh Hotel, a small palace nestled atop the highlands of Massachusetts in the Berkshires. During this time, Place met and married his wife.
In 2001, Place and his wife decided to head south and settle in San Antonio, Texas. Here, Place devoted seven years of outstanding service as the director of restaurant at La Mansion Del Rio on the River Walk. After all of these prosperities, Place decided to open his own restaurant, COCO Chocolate Lounge and Bistro, which received numerous accolades including “Pick of the Month” from Texas Monthly in 2008. He also assisted in the grand opening of Sustenio with star chef Stephen Pyles at the Hotel Eilan Resort and Spa. Place is excited to now be the general manager at Southerleigh. The restaurant, which is renowned San Antonio Chef Jeff Balfour’s modern take on Texas’ cross-cultural cuisine.
Les Locke, Head Brewer
Born and raised in San Antonio, Les discovered home brewing in the Marines while stationed in Hawaii at the age of 19. After returning to San Antonio to attend college, Les discovered that San Antonio lacked a brewing culture and scene so he moved to Eugene, Oregon where he earned a Masters degree in economics and began his professional brewing career in a small brewpub. After moving back home to San Antonio and completing an MPA degree, he ended his career as an economist and opened Branchline Brewing as the head brewer. In 2014, he was hired as part of the opening team at Southerleigh as their head brewer.