Punk rockstar turned culinary rockstar, Brent Schumacher, of Pink Avocado fame, helms SouthBites alongside friend and business partner Quirino Silva. Having originally moved to Austin to pursue his love of music, Schumacher’s love of food capitulated him into a successful culinary career that now includes the role of SouthBites Executive Chef and Owner.
Hailing from Detroit, MI, Schumacher’s 20-plus years in the restaurant/catering business began humbly as a busboy in his teens. Throughout high school, he held various kitchen positions, all spare time. In 1994, two years after graduating from high school, this passion for drumming led Schumacher to pack up and move to Austin in pursuit of musical opportunities.
After putting down roots in Austin, Schumacher joined a punk rock band that quickly found him out on the road keeping up with a busy tour schedule. In between tours, Schumacher wound up back in restaurants picking up shifts. He continued working in Austin’s burgeoning food industry- honing his skills and falling more in love with the industry and the power food, like music, has in bringing people together. Schumacher’s most formative culinary years took place while working on the opening team of the very first Central Market, where he rose through the ranks and eventually landed the role of executive sous chef for the brand. During these ten years at Central Market, Schumacher worked alongside the best and the brightest of Austin’s culinary scene, all the while gaining invaluable experience, knowledge, and training.
Armed with an impressive, diverse restaurant portfolio and a lifelong entrepreneurial spirit, Schumacher eventually set off on his own to open a solo catering business, Pink Avocado, in 2005. Now a juggernaut in the Austin food industry, Pink Avocado went on to become the go-to caterer for Austin-area businesses, private clients, parties, and festivals- including partnering with SXSW as its official caterer.
This partnership with SXSW would eventually lead to the opening of SouthBites on the ground floor of the SXSW Center in June 2019. The natural next frontier for both himself and Pink Avocado, Schumacher is thrilled to have the opportunity to operate his first brick-and-mortar restaurant alongside business partner Quirino Silva. Crediting much of the inspiration behind the café and its forthcoming, adjacent restaurant with his global travels and appetite for reading cookbooks, Schumacher looks forward to bringing a unique, thoughtfully curated menu and killer cocktail program to downtown Austin.
When not running back and forth between SouthBites and Pink Avocado, Schumacher is busy running, in triathlons. He is one of only 333 men to have completed the ultra endurance triathlon, Alaska Man, and continues to train daily for ongoing races alongside less intense physical activity- walking his two beloved rescue pups, Podrick and Dottie.
Coffee connoisseur and Texas native, Denise Caballero brings a lifetime of passion and experience to her role as general manager and head barista of recently opened SouthBites in the new SXSW Center. Having opened in June, 2019, the café and coffee bar’s beverage program is elevated by Caballero’s creativity and mastery of the industry.
Born and raised in Dallas, TX, Caballero’s love affair with coffee began when she was just five years old. Growing up, her grandparents would often serve her a special "coffee milk" with her breakfast during weekend visits. By age 17, her affinity for the sugary, coffee-flavored milk developed into one for strong, black coffee. Years later on a trip to the Pacific Northwest and its plethora of coffee shops, Caballero’s passion for coffee was further deepened.
In 2007, Caballero moved to New Orleans to pursue a degree in graphic design. However, her passion for coffee remained strong throughout her education and shortly after graduation, she began to pursue job opportunities within the field. Fully immersing herself in the coffee culture, Caballero held a wide range of positions within the community over her 12 years in New Orleans, including working as a barista at Cake Café; production assistant and delivery driver at French Truck Coffee; barista at Willa Jean; floor manager and coffee program director at Pulp & Grind; production assistant and barista at Congregation Coffee Roasters; front of house manager and lead barista at Bywater Bakery; and most recently, as general manager of Revelator Coffee Company.
In her new role as the general manager and head barista at SouthBites, Caballero is able to apply all of the knowledge gained during her time spent working in New Orleans towards creating an exceptional beverage program for Downtown Austin residents and businesses. Passionate about experimenting with cutting-edge brew methods and hard-to-find beans from around the world, she is committed to continually evolving and elevating the café’s beverage program and to offering unique menu items for both casual coffee drinkers and fellow coffee aficionados to experience and enjoy. SouthBite’s coffee menu currently offers a wide variety of classic coffee and espresso beverages but will continue to expand and evolve under Caballero’s direction as lead coffee expert to include more imaginative selections like signature beverages and rotating, locally sourced pour-over options.
“I am thrilled to be back in Texas and have this amazing opportunity to do the job I love in the state I call home,” Caballero said. “I look forward to sharing my passion and craft with my team and hope to introduce new, exciting coffee options to our neighbors in Austin looking for a delicious cup of coffee served in a beautiful space.”
Alongside longtime friend and colleague Brent Schumacher, restaurant operations veteran Quirino Silva makes up one half of the dynamic duo operating SouthBites. As director of operations of SouthBites, Silva is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, menu development, staff management, and much more.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico but having grown up in both Austin and San Antonio, Silva’s passion for cuisine and cooking was ignited at a young age. Silva’s maternal grandparents owned and operated a grocery store in the border town of Del Rio, where they butchered and sold traditional South Texas barbacoa, birria, and cabrito. The family business lent to a childhood tradition of weekend cookouts with Silva’s relatives and instilled in him the value of food in bringing people together and a desire to learn to do so in a professional setting.
Silva's career across 20+ years in restaurant operations began in 1997 the summer after his freshman year in college as a busboy at Mexican restaurant, La Margarita, in downtown San Antonio. After returning to UT Austin that fall, he was hired at County Line on the Lake BBQ, where he would eventually work as kitchen manager for ten years overseeing food prep, expedition, production, quality control, and kitchen staff. Silva then went on to hold multiple other restaurant positions including: kitchen manager, general manager and executive chef at Cannoli Joe’s; chef and interactive marketing manager at previous employer County Line; part-time chef at Schumacher’s Pink Avocado Catering; culinary operations consultant for Roost Backyard Grill and other new restaurant concepts; and, most recently, director of culinary operations at Flyrite Chicken Company here in Austin, Texas.
His years of top-to-bottom restaurant experience has lent to an expertise in all facets of running a successful dining establishment including: concept and menu development; recipe training and implementation for high volume concepts and various culinary styles; event planning; catering; management; operations; purchasing; staff training and management; and fiscal responsibility for multi-unit restaurant operation.
In his current role at SouthBites, Silva is excited to apply his experience towards growing a unique, inviting cafe experience; conceptualizing a high-quality, seasonal menu; building a dynamic, passionate team; and, most importantly, fostering personal relationships with friends, neighbors, and employees of the SXSW Center.
When not helping to steer the ship at SouthBites, Silva enjoys running, swimming or biking with his wife and their dogs, as well as cooking for family and friends. The self-proclaimed news junkie, sci-fi/tech nerd, and former hip-hop DJ is excited about the opportunities ahead and looks forward to serving Austinites for years to come.