ESTATE OF GRANDEUR
Long-awaited Jazz Age restaurant opens on the grounds of Austin’s historic estate
Maybe it’s a little too soon to jet on over to a charming European villa and dine on elevated cuisine handcrafted by renowned chefs. Luckily, you don’t have to, as one such long-anticipated and perfectly stunning restaurant is now open in Central Austin.
Originally planned for a fall 2020 opening, Lutie’s Garden Restaurant, the upscale eatery located at the Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection, officially opens Wednesday, April 7, to hotel guests and private club members, with dinner service available Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 pm. And beginning April 14, Lutie’s will open to the public, but only by advanced reservations on OpenTable. (Access to the estate grounds and amenities will remain exclusive to hotel guests and club members.)
Promising to blend relaxed European charm with gracious Texas hospitality, Lutie’s is named after the estate’s matriarch, Nannie Lewette “Lutie” Perry, and evokes the spirit of the Jazz Age, when the property was built and became the country home of Lutie and Commodore Edgar Perry. With a backdrop featuring the historic estate and abundant sunken gardens, Lutie’s summons thoughts of lavish soirees and maybe even conjures up fanciful notions of The Great Gatsby.
The 10-acre estate, located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, is nothing if not dramatic and downright breathtaking, and Lutie’s, soon to be embellished with ivy-covered walls and overlooking the immaculately tended grounds, fits right in.
Helming the ingredient-driven restaurant, which will emphasize “Texas heritage fare,” is a distinguished husband-and-wife team: executive chef Bradley Nicholson (formerly of Barley Swine) and executive pastry chef Susana Querejazu (formerly of Vespaio Ristorante, Uchi, Odd, and Barley Swine), both of whom further honed their culinary crafts at Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco before returning to the Capital City to open Lutie’s.
Their rotating, seasonal menu will feature ingredients from local farmers and ranchers in preparations that honor Texas flavors and highlight elevated techniques. Multi-course dining is the best way to experience Lutie’s, with the menu including such specialties as Yonder Way pork with pickled cabbage and creamer peas, charcoal-grilled chicken with leeks and hominy, and royal red shrimp with daikon and celery. Desserts include a tempting kouign-amann ice cream and seasonal soft-serve flavors like fresh strawberry finished with Texas olive oil. The beverage program will include craft cocktails; a curated collection of rare and vintage liquors, digestifs, and spirits; craft beers; an extensive wine list featuring many natural wines; and coffee in partnership with local roaster Tiny House.
“Deceptive simplicity in cuisine has become my foundation for creativity,” Nicholson says. “Lutie’s is the culmination of a personalized, handcrafted approach and allowing ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors to be the guide.”
The Lutie’s building was designed by acclaimed local architecture firm Clayton & Little (now Clayton Korte), and Ken Fulk, the designer and creative director of Commodore Perry Estate, provided the restaurant’s design style, a “modern interpretation of an old-school country club” featuring plenty of natural light, gilded details, vibrant shades of green throughout, freestanding banquettes covered in a custom floral fabric, and a latticework ceiling bedecked with elegantly draped flora. The covered terrace overlooking the estate gardens is an ideal spot for sipping wine with friends. Indeed, Lutie’s aims to give guests the feeling of dining in a close friend’s country home.
“Lutie’s is delightfully old-fashioned and remarkably charming,” Fulk says. “It is utterly familiar yet like no place you’ve ever been. [It was] 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.”