Profiles of Innovation
Beau Theriot's Oasis: Creating Austin's iconic lakeside retreat
When you think of exchanging Austin city life for a nearby retreat, there’s likely one spot that comes to mind without fail: The Oasis.
A lakeside slice of Heaven for over three decades, The Oasis has been an iconic escape for Austinites — and Texans in general — thanks to the innovation of founder and owner, Beau Theriot. Raised in the South Texas town of Port Arthur, Theriot’s entrepreneurial spirit started young. He opened his first restaurant, Houston-based Brownstone at the young age of 26.
“It’s very difficult to be successful without some capital behind you, and I had no capital,” Theriot says. “I had to create my own capital.” Perseverance and creativity paid off, and after the success of Brownstone, Theriot turned his sights toward Austin and a lakeside hilltop in the middle of nowhere.
“I told everyone I wanted to open a little beer garden on the hill overlooking Lake Travis, overlooking Hippy Hollow,” he says. Though many had their doubts, Theriot purchased the hilltop locale in 1978, signaling the naissance of a destination that’s now a deeply rooted piece of Austin culture.
As the years passed, 2222 shifted from small winding road to main thoroughfare and families began planting roots in Lake Travis, but one thing remained the same: The tiny hilltop retreat of The Oasis became an anchor for Austin’s ever-expanding city limits.
In 2005, tragedy hit when lightning struck The Oasis and in just three-and-a-half hours, the restaurant was demolished. “I live next door, so it was one of the most heartbreaking things a business owner could go through,” Theriot recalls. “Just like losing a person you love.”
But Theriot’s spirit wasn’t broken by the fire — in fact, he applied the tenacity and perseverance from his early career and rebuilt a bigger space that is even more of a destination for visitors. “I decided a few years ago that this hilltop here in Austin was what I wanted to concentrate on and make the neatest hilltop it could be in this whole part of the country.”
Today, The Oasis has been transformed into a village with several restaurants — including chef-driven Soleil and Uncle Billy’s — and seasonal attractions like an ice-skating rink during the holidays. “My next goal is to create a small lodge out here at The Oasis. Something with a beautiful view — a place for people to come and stay.”
The road for Beau Theriot, Hilltop Owner, has been a winding one. But hard work, creative ideas and chance-taking paved the way to success for Theriot and his hillside haven. "I wasn't dependent on other people to make me successful, I was dependent on myself," Theriot says.
He recalls the words of naysayers from decades ago: “Nobody will ever drive way out there to eat.” That may have been the case before Theriot’s vision was realized, but today, his little beer garden is an oasis for thousands. “Last Saturday we served over 5,000 meals,” he laughs. “I proved them all wrong.”
For Beau Theriot, being an entrepreneur is all about taking chances and remaining steadfast in your endeavors. "Anything that you attempt, don't give up easily," he says. "Persevere and go for the gold. Climb every mountain singing."