Johnny Hernandez’s long-anticipated opening of La Gloria was Wednesday.
The fare is Mexican street foods, including tortas, tacos, panchos, tlyudas, dorados and more.
The restaurant, with a patio overlooking the new Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk, is across the parking lot from the new Culinary Institute of America building, under construction now. The CIA is Hernandez’s alma mater.
As the early afternoon temperatures began to rise on Monday, two days before opening, Hernandez’s staff was working on serving a private party. Manager Francisco Mannechez and assistant manager Eric Valdez handled the talking and details, while La Gloria’s chef de cuisine, Greg Fernandez, watched over as food came out of the open kitchen.
Hernandez was running interference but stopped a moment to sit by his mother, Teresa Hernandez. He pointed out the view to the river and mentioned that the lights outside would, he hoped, would complement the look of the lighting on a shade the Pearl is putting up before the summer gets too warm.
Teresa Hernandez was proud but nervous, as a mother would be. “No, I didn’t teach him how to cook,” she said in answer to my question. Hernandez’s father was a longtime employee of Earl Abel’s and gets the credit for steering his son toward the restaurant business.
Hernandez headed back to the kitchen on an errand as the food began to be served. His mother leaned across the table. “I think he’s going to have to do a variety platter,” she said, indicating a large blackboard of menu items on the wall. “Everyone is going to want everything.”
- Photos by Bonnie Walker