The Driskill in Austin, Texas, has announced the anticipated return of The Driskill Grill, now open in the original dining room, which is attached to the bar. The 82-seat space has maintained a classic ambiance that is a natural fit with the elegance of the hotel, largely influencing the decision for reopening. Guests who wish to return to the beloved restaurant can enjoy a newly launched menu – this time with a focus on both traditional Texas fare and dishes that are inspired by the various eras that the hotel has lived throughout its years.
Visitors to the 137-year-old hotel will find classic dishes that evoke a feeling of nostalgia, while simultaneously being introduced to more modern flavors. Various starters at the iconic establishment include Oyster Rockefeller, Halibut Ceviche, Lobster Bisque and Steak Tartare. Mains will rotate seasonally, with savory options like Tournedos Rossini, a 6oz filet mignon with foie gras, sautéed spinach, duck fat rösti and truffle sauce; Whiskey Infused Duck Breast with sous vide duck breast, sugared baby carrot, wild mushroom risotto; Pan Seared Black Halibut with carnival cauliflower, warm grain salad, sweetened yogurt glaze; and Roasted Chicken Breast with wild mushroom ravioli.
The historic hotel’s culinary team is helmed by Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director, Mark Dayanandan, who joined in early 2020. With 25 years as an executive chef in the hotel industry in kitchens from Norway to New Orleans, Dayanandan has a strong belief that hotel kitchens are a great place for young chefs to develop their talents and craftsmanship. Restaurant Chef Cliff Benavides and Pastry Chef Kristen Groth are important culinary players for The Driskill Grill. Benavides is helping to modernize a portion of the menu, with some of his favorite creations being the Pan Seared Scallops with bacon lardon, tequila beurre blanc and salmon roe to the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with creamed corn. Additionally, Groth has brought her pastry and baking skills to the dining concept with her freshly baked epi bread, served with Texas whiskey pâté, olive tapenade and farm butter. Her rotating dessert menu includes Citrus Panna Cotta, Apple Tart, homemade gelato and the famous 1886 Chocolate Cake.
“Having The Driskill Grill reopen is the beginning of a new era for this hotel where we’re back to offering our guests a dining experience that has been sorely missed,” says Executive Chef Mark Dayanandan. “I’m confident that under the leadership of Benavides and the support of a talented culinary team we will be able to bring back the great days of this historic restaurant and make our unique mark on Austin’s diverse culinary landscape.”
Cocktails and libations will come from the iconic Driskill Bar with favorites like Durango Cowboy made with Desert Door Texas Sotol and the Batini with Tito’s and house-made hibiscus and ginger juice.
Since opening in 1930, The Driskill Grill has earned its place in history as a renowned Austin institution and served as the site of many legendary events, like the first date of President Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson in 1934. For decades, it was a favorite dining spot for ranchers, politicians, high society folks and celebrities. Only closing in 2020, the reopening of The Driskill Grill will continue its tradition of excellent service and refined cuisine – offering guests a distinctively Driskill dining experience.
“We’re thrilled to have three Texas-inspired culinary concepts for our neighbors and guests to enjoy,” says General Manager Markus Puereschitz. “Reopening The Driskill Grill is another way to preserve the property’s reputation as a beloved icon in downtown Austin and provide visitors with top-notch hospitality.”
Originally imagined and built by cattle baron Colonel Jesse Driskill, the hotel was conceptualized to be a luxurious grand hotel and showpiece for the once frontier town of Austin, meant to rival the palaces of other big cities. Since then, the hotel has undergone several upgrades with the most recent being a renovation of 14 guest suites on the historic side, led by award-winning architect Clayton Korte.
The Driskill Grill is open for dinner service from Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and closed on Sunday and Monday. Specialty holiday menus will be announced and a $60 pre-theatre prix fixe menu is available for those catching a show at nearby venues, like Paramount Theatre. There will also be partnerships with local wineries and distilleries.
The Driskill is located at 604 Brazos St.