Branching Out

Classic downtown Austin hotel enters new season with updated restaurant and bar

Classic Austin hotel enters new season with updated restaurant and bar

TRIO restaurant Austin interior
The Four Season's Trio is closing to make way for a brand-new concept. Photo courtesy of TRIO

With a string of new hotels competing for tourists' bucks, Austin’s older properties are fighting back. The latest is downtown’s Four Seasons Austin, which announced on July 30 a major overhaul that will transform the lobby; the bar; and Trio, the property’s signature eatery.

The biggest change will happen at Trio, which will be closing to make way for a brand-new concept. According to a release, Arborist will be located in the same spot as the former restaurant, but the dining room is being renovated to allow for expanded seating. The design will also get an upgrade, replacing the existing sunset colors with shades of green with wood accents.

The kitchen will be helmed by James Flowers, Trio’s current chef de cuisine and a vet of mainstay Austin restaurants like Cipollina, Asti, and Wink. The name subtly nods to the menu, which will explore the chef’s culinary roots, which include a Southern upbringing and stints cooking everything from Asian to Italian cuisine.

Although the full offerings are still in development, expect dishes that combine hearty proteins with bright accents, like pork belly grits with mint salsa verde and charred tomato caramel and pappardelle with wild boar ragu, charred Meyer lemon, Fresno chilis, and shaved Parmesan. Executive pastry chef Amanda Pallagi Naim will complement the classic cooking with all-American treats like Parker House rolls served with cultured butter, triple cream brie, and Good Flow Honey.

The lobby and lobby bar are also getting a rework, moving the concierge and reception desks to take better advantage of the Four Seasons' enviable location right off Lady Bird Lake. The open design will have a full view of the water, the property’s scattered heritage live oak trees, and a sprawling new deck that will allow for greater outdoor dining.

Renamed Live Oak, the bar will introduce new Guadalajara-inspired dishes from executive sous chef Abril Galindo and contemporary cocktails from head bartender Sarah Rahl. Full details on both programs will be shared at an upcoming date.

The rework is the last phase of a renovation that started three years ago. Designer Michael Dalton previously jazzed up the Four Season’s spa, fitness center, meeting spaces, and guest rooms. The lobby, bar, and restaurant are expected to debut in fall 2018. All will be open with usual hours during renovations.