Commodore Perry Estate, a historic architectural landmark and forthcoming urban retreat situated in the heart of Austin, Texas, announced a new restaurant concept, Lutie’s Garden Restaurant, opening spring 2020. Helming the restaurant’s ingredient-driven culinary program are husband-and-wife team Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu, formerly of beloved neighborhood establishments Barley Swine and Odd Duck. After years of honing their expertise at esteemed restaurants across the globe, the move marks a homecoming for the power couple.
Built in the Jazz Age in 1928, Commodore Perry Estate was originally the country home of Commodore Edgar and Lutie Perry, and often the setting for lavish social gatherings and soirées between the couple’s stints of travel through Europe. Named after the matriarch and driving design force behind the estate, and with the fresh perspective of two talented, homegrown chefs, Lutie’s seeks to evoke the effortless glamour and warm hospitality of the estate’s legacy for its guests. Located just north of The University of Texas at Austin and set on the east side of the estate, the elegant garden restaurant will offer highly-seasonal menus with a focus on hyper-local ingredients sourced from the estate’s in-house gardens and local purveyors for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
“Texas is home, so to have the opportunity to come back and build such a special project in the same city where we first started our careers is amazing. I am excited to return to Austin, where regional heritage and responsibly sourced cuisine are truly celebrated,” says Bradley Nicholson, Executive Chef, Lutie’s. “We look forward to offering our community a dynamic dining experience inspired by our travels and the local ingredients, flavors and partners that make Texas unique.”
With more than 10 years of experience, Executive Chef Bradley Nicholson began his culinary career in Austin, Texas, serving as chef de partie at Enoteca Vespaio and Vespaio Ristorante for two years before joining the Barley Swine team in 2011. While there, he served as executive sous chef, where he worked with chef-owner Bryce Gilmore to develop seasonal tasting, à la carte, and happy hour menus. Nicholson was at Barley Swine until 2017. Most recently, Nicholson served as executive sous chef at Birdsong in San Francisco, where he worked one-on-one with Chef Chris Bleidorn to create and manage three tasting menu experiences. He also worked with Chef Corey Lee at three-Michelin-starred Benu. Skilled in several kitchen disciplines, including a focus on heritage cooking techniques and extensive studies in preservation and fermentation, Nicholson was recognized in Zagat’s 30 Under 30 in 2015 and was a recipient of the Ment’or BKB Grant program for 2016-17, allowing him the opportunity to expand his training and skills in Copenhagen with former Noma Chef Matt Orlando at Amass and learn to forage and embrace a no-waste philosophy.
Executive Pastry Chef Susana Querejazu also joins the Lutie’s team with more than a decade of professional pastry experience, having served as a pastry chef in restaurants like Enoteca Vespaio, Vespaio Ristorante, Uchi, and Uchiko before taking on the role of executive pastry chef at Odd Duck and Barley Swine and later as pastry sous chef at Quince Restaurant and three-Michelin-starred Saison in San Francisco. In addition to her expertise in plated desserts, breads, baking, and viennoiserie, Querejazu served as assistant sommelier at The Riddler in San Francisco. Querejazu was named an Eater Young Gun in 2016 and was nominated for a 2016 CultureMap Tastemaker Award for Pastry Chef of the Year. Like Nicholson, Chef Querejazu was also a recipient of the Ment’or BKB Grant program for 2016-17, where she staged at Le Meurice in the birthplace of patisserie: Paris, France.
Lutie’s will offer approachable, honest fare prepared in creative, elevated ways. Menus will celebrate regional flavors and spotlight seasonal organic ingredients sourced from the estate’s in-house gardens and local purveyors. The ever-changing menus will be complemented by a robust beverage program featuring craft cocktails; a curated collection of rare and vintage liquors, digestifs, and spirits; craft beers highlighting the best brewers in the state; a wine list of by-the-glass, carafe, or bottle selections with a focus on natural wines; and coffee in partnership with a local roaster.
Under the direction of powerhouse designer Ken Fulk, the restaurant’s interiors will deliver a modern interpretation of a sophisticated yet classic country club, offering a contemporary, convivial dining experience. Guests will be beckoned into a dining room brimming with natural light from a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that open out to a covered patio with expansive views of the property’s immaculate English gardens and fountains. The space features a curated a mix of custom and heirloom antiques, with imaginative design details inspired by the estate itself, as well as an abundance of delicate greenery that draws the eye upward.
“Lutie’s is remarkably charming. Utterly familiar yet like no place you’ve ever been, the restaurant is tucked into the formal gardens of the Commodore Perry Estate. It’s designed as an unexpected urban refuge where you can linger over a delicious meal and enjoy a refreshing cocktail while taking in the bucolic setting,” says Ken Fulk, creative director of Commodore Perry Estate.
Commodore Perry Estate is the vision of Austin developer and filmmaker Clark Lyda in collaboration with partners the Marchbanks Company and Austin Pfiester. The property is managed by Auberge Resorts Collection, a portfolio of award-winning small luxury resorts, residences, and clubs around the world. In addition to Lutie’s, the renowned luxury hospitality brand announced plans to open its first urban retreat on the treasured 10-acre estate, which will include 42 rooms and seven suites in a newly built three-story inn, and five suites in the property’s historic landmark mansion, with amenities including flexible event space, a cocktail bar, a member’s club, and a serene outdoor swimming pool. Chefs Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu will oversee all food and beverage operations at the estate, including delivering one of a kind catering experiences and events for weddings and social occasions.