CAN YOU DIG IT?

Longtime Austin restaurant lifts curtain on new secret garden patio

Longtime Austin restaurant lifts curtain on new secret garden patio

Z'Tejas Grill sign
Z'Tejas is now offering patio seating at its Arboretum location. Z'Tejas/Facebook
Fire pit Z'ecret Garden Z'Tejas Arboretum Austin
Along with space to social distance, it includes firepits. Courtesy of Z'Tejas
Z'ecret Garden at Z'Tejas Arboretum Austin
Z'Tejas is opening Z'ecret Garden patio at the Arboretum location. Courtesy of Z'Tejas
Z'Tejas Grill sign
Fire pit Z'ecret Garden Z'Tejas Arboretum Austin
Z'ecret Garden at Z'Tejas Arboretum Austin

Austin’s perennial Southwestern grill and Mexican-inspired eatery is leading locals down a secret path.

The Z’Tejas location at the Arboretum is opening a new 1,100-square-foot outdoor dining area and private-event space charmingly dubbed the Z’ecret Garden. Opening January 21, the virtually hidden patio deck is nestled among the hills of North Austin, treehouse-style, and offers striking sunset and wooded views, according to the restaurant.    

Z’ecret Garden, which will offer limited seating and space to socially distance, features seating for 28 guests and is adorned with six fire pits, as well as potted plants and dangling lights that create an intimate, magic-garden ambiance.

“The Arboretum is such a special place, with the abundance of trees and green space. We have always wanted to build a patio that utilizes this area,” says Robby Nethercut, chief operations officer for Z’Tejas. “We know our guests are going to love this new option.”

In combination with the opening of the Z’ecret Garden, the restaurant is revamping its cocktail menu, adding drinks made with agave-based spirits, as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Handcrafted with fresh-squeezed juices and made to order, highlights of the new drink menu include an organic margarita, in addition to watermelon-strawberry and white-peach margaritas, a Z’Colada, a raspberry-peach cosmo, a High West Old-Fashioned made with High West Rye, an upgraded Ranch Water cocktail with Mi Campo Reposado, and house-made horchata with Fireball Whisky or coffee, Kahlua, and Fireball. Non-alcoholic drinks include strawberry lemonade and mango-peach iced tea.

The opening of the new garden comes at a time when Z’Tejas is focused on renewed growth. The company first opened independently in Austin in 1989 and later expanded with locations in Arizona, but has seen its fair share of difficult times in recent years, with ownership changing hands, the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection twice, and Z’Tejas closing several locations, including its Parmer Lane eatery. But amid the challenges of a pandemic, Z’Tejas appears ready for more progress, recently also announcing it would open a new 3,500-square-foot restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, in February.