SAN ANTONIO – An East Side gem is back in business and better than ever. Two new ballrooms, a speak-easy bar and lakeside views, the historical Red Berry mansion got a makeover under its new owner, The RK Group.
“It was originally built in 1951 by Virgil Edward Red Berry," Jamie Kowalski, director of relationship marketing for The RK Group said. In 2012, the city purchased it and we took over the renovations in 2019.”
The company, which focuses on event and hospitality services, worked with a team of architects, general contractors, civil engineers, landscapers, interior designers and even a historical consultant to put life back into The Red Berry Estate and make it grander than ever before.
Red Berry Estate image
“We wanted to make sure that we caught that era of opulence,” Kowalski said. “You see the gold touches, every little light fixture and wallpaper has gold leafing in it. It’s just meant to be very grand, beautiful and elegant.”
The original mansion featured two bedrooms, a three-car garage, small kitchen and a casino was gutted beginning in the fall of 2019. Now, the 15-thousand square foot property boasts three open-concept floors that still maintain part of its history.
“We start at the very top level, our chateau level. We have a bridal suite, a groom’s den and also a parlor,” Kowalski said.
After 75 years in the event business, The RK Group’s East Side property made space for every detail needed to make special memories such as in their bridal suite. “If you have a big ball gown, you want to make sure if you’re getting set up, you have mirrors to the front back side. You can see everything (here).”
The middle level features the mansion’s main ballroom that seats about 200 people.
The lower level pays homage to Red Berry, a Texas politician who is known for horse racing and gambling.
“It’s our speakeasy style, swanky casino level,” Kowalski said. " It’s a bar, a lounge. It (has) a very, very swanky feel to it. We will have gaming tables." Every corner in the casino level stays in-theme. “We have a hidden bookcase that you can now use as storage or a place to prep.” The secret entrance was updated and made easier to use than the original one Red Berry used in the 50s.
Although the The RK Group has preserved a special aspect tied to the casino, guests won’t have access to the tower.
“We kept the look out, which its original purpose was to make sure that when there was a casino game being run, there was someone up there to watch for the police,” Kowalski said.
The property now features new buildings and outdoor spaces unlike any other in the area.
“We have added the Lakeside Ballroom,” Kowalski said. “It is a large open space where we can fit about 400 people and an additional 200 can sit on the terrace.” The terrace offers lakeside views and lead to the deck where an electric boat awaits.
“The electric boat will be able to carry you across the 12-acre lake, bring you all the way across (from out headquarters) in grand style, whether you’re a CEO or whether you’re a bride and want to have an amazing entrance or a fantastic sendoff,” Kowalski said.
Historians say Red Berry kept his horses on-property and would have them exercise in the lake.
“The horses have a huge significance and a tie to us,” Kowalski said. “Red Berry originally, when he bought this place, had his horses on here. He would run them around the lake,” Kowalski said. “We have put little touches (throughout the property). The RK Group also has an event space at the Kentucky Derby Museum so, we also have a great love for horses.”
Bookings at The Red Berry Estate are now open for events of all occasions both indoor and outdoor. For more information, click here.