Lead architect: Patrick Wynn, Total Art Design and Architecture
Rosella at the Rand
114 E Houston St.
San Antonio, Texas
Some things really do grow bigger in Texas. Case in point: Rosella Coffee Company.
The San Antonio-based company opened Rosella at the Rand, a nearly 3,000-square-foot showpiece, in late 2017.
Even the definition of what a coffeehouse can be is bigger here. Rosella at the Rand not only offers espresso drinks and pour-over coffees, but also coffee-based cocktails (thanks to a full bar), as well as full breakfast, lunch, brunch, happy hour, and dinner service.
The cocktail menu includes original creations like the “Caffe Mente,” pairing Rosella’s iced coffee with minty amaro, and the House Rosella OG OF, a combination of bourbon, orange bitters, and coffee syrup.
Syrups are made in house, in flavors including vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, white chocolate, chai, and seasonal syrups such as peppermint white chocolate.
Food-wise, Texas is cattle country, and Rosella at the Rand’s menu—by Chef Rafael Peña—reflects the state’s beefy heritage with big plates of steak frites and burgers made with a blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib. Breakfast items range from avocado on Texas toast to huevos rancheros.
Part high-tech coffeehouse, part glitzy lounge, part hearty restaurant, Rosella at the Rand makes a big statement.
The Rand itself is a historic structure with its own tall tale. The eight-story business complex ranked as the tallest building in San Antonio when constructed in 1913, originally housing Wolff and Marx, a popular local department store until 1965. The San Antonio Conservation Society saved the building from demolition in the 1980s.
Today the Rand’s upper floors are home to high-tech workers from Google Fiber, Rackspace Open Cloud Academy, and small business incubator Geekdom.
Rosella at the Rand is one of the newest additions to the coffee company’s rapidly expanding empire, with more on the way.
Rosella co-owners Charles Gonzalez and Tom Schleuning opened their first San Antonio café off Jones Avenue in 2014. “Originally it was a coffeehouse with a little bit of food, now it’s turning into a restaurant with coffee,” Gonzalez says. “We used to have a menu with seven to ten items; now our breakfast menu alone has 20 items. It’s become a destination for breakfast and lunch.”
Since then, Rosella has spawned destinations around San Antonio, including mini Rosellas at various H-E-B supermarkets, Rosella at Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center, and plans for another café concept in the Southtown neighborhood, a two-square-mile swatch just a few blocks below San Antonio’s touristy epicenter. Come this spring, the San Antonio Botanical Garden will welcome Rosella at the Garden.
Future plans include consolidating all roasting in house and building a commissary kitchen to centralize foodservice. “Now it’s all about finding the people to help us grow—employees, staff, and managers,” Gonzalez says.
Rosella’s original location employs between 15 and 20 workers; each satellite employs about 10; the Rand, with its full bar and kitchen, and front of house staff, adds another 25 to 30. By the middle of next year, Gonzalez expects his total staff to double.
“Our goal is to be a part of the San Antonio coffee scene for years to come and beyond,” Gonzalez says. “Coffee is deep in the heart of what we’re doing.”
Rosella’s original location is within the burgeoning Broadway corridor, just south of the Pearl District—the 22-acre site of The Culinary Institute of America, the year-round Pearl Farmers Market, Hotel Emma, and several destination restaurants.
Other notable coffee shops in the area include Brown Coffee and Merit Coffee (formerly Local Coffee).
The Rand Building was constructed in 1913 in the Art Deco style. Entering through the main doors on busy Houston Street, guests are greeted with a luminous gold wall, which provides a prime backdrop for Instagramming photos and a small sitting area for lounging.