Last February, the SSA Group took over the food and beverage portion of the Texas State Aquarium (TSA). Its directive was to offer an elevated dining experience, in direct contrast to most visitors’ expectations of fast casual dining. By May, it had opened several brand-new dining concepts: Fathoms, The Back Porch and Canopy.
For patrons seeking a sit-down dining option with heightened flavors and a multitude of menu options, look no further than Canopy. Executive Chef Mike Garza serves up South Texas campechana, a refreshing combination of shrimp, avocado and cucumber with an addictive sauce. The shrimp roll is fierce competition for Maine’s lobster rolls, and the gumbo could make a Cajun blush; it’s that good. The southwestern flavors make the Riviera Bowl another easy favorite.
Fathoms is located on the first floor across from the H-E-B Caribbean Sea exhibit. This new concept utilizes the open space to offer kid-friendly favorites like Frito pie, Dippin’ Dots and snacks to curb a famished family’s hunger while they survey a sunken shipwreck. Come March, patrons will want to take advantage of new kegerators featuring local draft beers and a margarita machine — these might help keep mom and dad happy after a long day at the splash pad.
Poignantly named, The Back Porch offers guests a relaxing respite overlooking Corpus Christi Bay. The breathtaking views only get better in a porch swing with a gourmet hotdog and a cool beverage in hand. A seasonal dining option at the aquarium, The Back Porch re-opens next month just in time for spring break.
A few other tasty delights you’ll find throughout the aquarium include Café Aqua, located in the main lobby and ready to serve you a fresh cup of joe. On the ground floor, Aqua Dulce dishes up soft pretzels and other sweet treats; and the Tiki Hut situated near Stingray Lagoon serves up alcoholic bevvies and snow cones. The beloved Pepsi Shoreline Grill is currently under renovations, but its most popular menu items continue to be served throughout TSA’s other dining options.
The 90-day turnaround to execute various new dining concepts is impressive; the high level of execution even more so. Victoria Conley of the SSA Group said, “Offering our guests a once-in-a-lifetime [dining] experience at a place where guests don’t expect it is very exciting for our team and makes us very proud.” With well-conceived menus and fun dining atmospheres, Fathoms, The Back Porch and Canopy fit flawlessly into one of Corpus Christi’s crown jewels.