Setting New Standards
Austin is growing up fast. Everywhere you look it’s new, new, new: new bars and restaurants seem to keep popping up on every corner, the skyline is filling up with new buildings and there’s a flux of transplants moving here in droves, bringing new faces to the city streets.
While new is nice and change is good, sometimes old and familiar is a breath of fresh air. There’s good reason why old Austin staples have continued to not only survive, but thrive in this ever-evolving environment—and this is certainly the case with Shoreline Grill.
This perennial favorite is brought to us by restaurateur veterans Jeffrey Weinberger and Ron and Peggy Weiss, also of Jeffrey’s fame. It’s been in business since 1989, with Austin icons like Ann Richards among the original crop of frequent diners. “If these walls could talk,” Weinberger often says. The setting is described as "upscale casual," with patrons sporting shorts and flip flops meshed with those in suits from the office tower next door.
The place to be is the bar and lounge area, featuring views of Lady Bird Lake. The long, wooden bar, covered in studded leather, is complemented with cowhide barstools. The lounge seating is made up of plush leather couches and banquettes with tables dressed in lake-blue tablecloths, adding a touch of class while keeping things casual.
Shoreline Grill is also keeping things fresh, with a newly-added happy hour offered Monday through Friday from 4 pm - 7 pm. Whether you're at the bar and lounge or ample outdoor patio area, the Grill offers a hideout to savor the early fall evenings in. The best part? Everything on the happy hour menu is $6.
Executive Chef Britt Markle knows a thing or two about seafood, and it shows in the abundant (they don’t skimp) and plump Wild Gulf Shrimp Cocktail appetizer. The Grill prides itself in offering only sustainable seafood, so dine guilt-free. Another standout is the Wagyu Corndog, served with sides of Dijon mustard and ketchup for dipping: the perfect mix of gourmet creations and comfort food.
If the happy hour menu is pitch-perfect, the drinks are what really blew me away. Creative and flavorful like none I’ve had around town, they don’t necessarily fall into the craft cocktail category but are definitely mixed with thought and care. I fell for the Schoolyard Crush, a punch made with freshly muddled strawberries, smoked jalapeño, lime, cucumber, Aperol and ginger. It had just the right amount of sweetness and the flavors were well balanced. The Aperol, an Italian liqueur with bitter orange flavor, cut the sweetness of the fruit without overpowering the other ingredients.
Their take on sangria was also notable: instead of packing the glass full of fresh fruit for flavor, they infused white wine with herbs and citrus and combined it with creme de violet and topped off with Champagne. It looks like a sparkling water, but one sip and your taste buds will tingle.
Situated on the shores of Lady Bird Lake with fabulous views and a fine setting, this oft-forgotten little gem is a place that reminds you that sometimes old is as good as—if not better than—what’s shiny and new.