Magnolia Pancake Haus

606 Embassy Oaks #100, San Antonio, TX 78216
210-496-0828

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Chef/Owner Robert Fleming

Food and cooking have been a natural for passion for Robert Fleming from an early age. As the second of seven children Robert was drafted as the family cook when his mother (who learned at the hand of the esteemed Antoinette Pope) was ordered to bed rest during the last trimester of her pregnancy with his youngest sibling (also a chef). At the age of nine he dutifully took step by step instruction from his mother and learned to prepare such classics as stuffed pork tenderloin, classic marinara sauce, and braised brisket of beef and Roast leg of lamb. The flavors as well as the ability to taste and eat as he went along would cement a life’s passion.

At 14 years old Robert secured a job as a dishwasher in one of Chicago’s largest Greek Steakhouses. Quickly endearing himself to the chef’s who worked the line , Robert found himself being drafted to assist with preparation tasks such as butchering ducks for cooking, cleaning and prepping live lobsters and piping Pomme’s Duchess for the evening’s service. Pretty heady stuff for a high school kid. The work was hard and the girls were more fun so Robert took a break from this for his last two years of high school, though he was never very far from the kitchen.

In 1973 Robert came to San Antonio to attend St Mary’s University. A job posting for cafeteria help brought him back into the kitchen and sent him down the road to a full time career in the Hospitality industry. Quickly realizing he liked cooking more than studying he took the advice of his then mentor and transferred to culinary school at Harper College back home in Chicago. Completing their 2 year program in just 14 months Robert quickly caught one with one of Chicago’s large restaurants and became Company chef and a General Manager at 22 years old. Sensing that he needed to broaden his horizons Robert was recruited into the Hyatt Hotel system and became General Manager of the Fine Dinning restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Louisville. After a stint with Hyatt he was recruited to become the Food & Beverage Manager for the Sheraton Plaza Chicago and returned home to Chicago to lead the F&B efforts of that busy Michigan Avenue Hotel.

It was 1982 and the warm climate of San Antonio beckoned for Robert to return and so he did. A brief stint as the assistant F&B at the St. Anthony Hotel and the on to opening Cyrano’s restaurant as Chef and GM from there Robert went on to open Potpourri a New Orleans Bistro as General Manager. It was during that stint that Robert Meet and Married his life partner Sheila and they have been married20 + years.

In 1984, the ownership bug bit and Robert decided to open Steamer’s Café a Cajun Creole Bistro. Steamers was a popular success bringing the then hot Cajun Creole Cuisine to San Antonio. Steamers enjoyed a 4 year run until the economy crashed in Texas in 1988. Robert and his young family were economic refugees and found that a return to the Hotel Industry was just what was needed. Recruited as the F&B at the busy Sheraton Airport Hotel in Minneapolis, Robert quickly rose to the position of General Manager. In 1994 Robert joined Remington Hotel Corporation as General Manager for their Minneapolis Sheraton property and quickly was assigned more responsibility as and Area GM. In 1996 he was promoted to VP of Operations for the Mid- west and West coast properties. A portfolio of Full Service Radisson, Hilton, Holiday Inn Select and Ramada Plaza properties kept him on the road 40+ weeks a year. In Late 1998 a portfolio sale brought a downsizing and an opportunity to control his future. With a generous severance package and a desire to be his own boss a return to San Antonio was in the offing.

One of the lessons learned from many years on the road and in Hotels was that people love a great breakfast. During a visit to San Antonio and an attempt to eat Sunday breakfast at a well know San Antonio restaurant, the Flemings arrived at 10:35 in the Morning only to be told that breakfast ends at 10:30 Sharp! Robert’s wife Sheila still recalls that “you could see the light bulb go on over his head just like a cartoon!” and the idea for The Magnolia Pancake Haus was born.

Chef/Owner Robert Fleming

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