Chef Steve McHugh is opening his first Austin dining concepts – Luminaire and Las Bis – in the new Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue Austin February 1, 2023, and new details and images of the space and menu have been released today. Reservations for both the restaurant, Luminaire, and the 31-story hotel in the heart of downtown Austin are open now at hyattcentriccongressavenueaustin.com.
Located at 721 Congress Avenue, Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue Austin stands next door to the historic Paramount and State theatres in the middle of the vibrant downtown arts and culture district and steps from the Texas Capitol. The hotel’s designers, Nelsen Partners (architecture) and UCO Studio (interiors), worked to weave the spirit of the city and the venues next door into many areas of the property. Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue Austin will fit in not only with Austin’s love of music and the arts – showcasing an extensive art collection created by local and Texas-based artists in the 246 guestrooms and public spaces – but also with its proclivity for memorable dining experiences.
Steve McHugh, the six-time James Beard Foundation finalist and San Antonio-based executive chef of Landrace at Thompson San Antonio and owner and executive chef of Cured, will bring a touch of the familiar for those who are already fans of his cuisine as well as plenty of new dishes that are soon to become favorites. He enlisted the help of Chef Greg Driver to take on the position of executive chef of Luminaire and Las Bis and bring his vision to the table. Chef Driver was previously the interim executive chef at Westwood Country Club in Austin.
“We’re thrilled to finally lift the curtain and bring in guests to dine with us,” says Chef Steve McHugh. “Chef Driver and I work really well together, and I have no doubt that Luminaire and Las Bis will shine under his leadership.”
Luminaire is the full-service all-day restaurant occupying the entire ground floor of the hotel. With a relaxed and casual atmosphere, Luminaire will put the spotlight on seasonal local Texas fare and charcuterie, along with a full-service bar offering a selection of classic cocktails, craft beers, and new world wines. Patrons will delight in specially curated meat boards, including 24-month jamon, smoked chorizo de Leon, and lomo embuchado. Among other highlights on the menu, which will be heavily Spanish influenced, will be a variety of delicious breakfast empanadas, chicken a la plancha, the Angus beef Luminaire burger, and more. The restaurant will be sourcing many of the ingredients from Texas farms and ranches.
There’s also plenty to delight in visually within the restaurant. Patrons’ eyes will be drawn to the open kitchen as well as a visible charcuterie case situated above counter seating, which will showcase plenty of jamons, cecina, chorizo, lomo, salchichon, and sobrasada. Market-style products will line the wall – olive oils, mustards, jams, vinegars and more – many of which will be used in dishes and available for guests to purchase and bring a little of the restaurant home with them.
Luminaire offers seating for 120 with a mix of options, accommodating 58 inside the main dining area on the first floor and 30 outside on the patio, which will stretch to both sides of the corner along Congress Avenue and 8th Street. Floor-to-ceiling windows decorated in a style to evoke the feeling of theatre curtains surround the space with large garage-style glass doors incorporated that open along either street to let more of the life and energy of the city into the space. Additional seating for 32 is available on the second floor, just up a short staircase from the restaurant’s street level in a comfortable lounge-style room that’s also available to book for special events.
While Luminaire is the perfect dinner destination before catching a performance at a nearby venue, Las Bis is the spot for the post-show recap, or for a nightcap before heading back to your room. Located on the 8th floor of Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue Austin, the terrace bar and lounge shares space with the hotel’s lobby, which rests among beautiful furniture, artwork and architecture, incorporating an array of vibrant colors and textures.
Guests can check in and head directly to Las Bis for craft cocktails, natural and biodynamic wines, and an assortment of playfully plated conservas, both domestic and imported. But between the menu and the outside terrace views of the Capitol, downtown and beyond, Las Bis is sure to attract far more than just hotel guests.
“Our team put many thoughtful hours into the menu creation for Luminaire and Las Bis, blending familiar flavors with plenty of discovery,” says McHugh. “And for those without much experience in cured meats and conservas, we made sure to include plenty of must-try items to introduce folks the right way.”
In addition to Luminaire and Las Bis, Chef Steve McHugh’s team and Executive Chef Greg Driver will provide room service for guests, as well as catering for the hotel’s four meeting and event spaces. Starting February 1st, Luminaire will be open Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Las Bis will be open Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight and Friday and Saturday, noon-midnight.