What began as one of the most picture-perfect wedding venues in the Texas Hill Country has now evolved into a true Texas Wine Country resort with the addition of a fine-dining restaurant.
Camp Lucy, named for co-owner Whit Hanks' mother, Lucy, has been stunning bridal parties since 2008, though the 289-acre property has been in the Hanks family since 1985. It encompasses four venues — including a 19th-century Catholic chapel that was disassembled in Vietnam and rebuilt, piece by piece, in Texas — guest rooms, and charming cottages.
Now Whit and his wife, Kim, who make up Whim Hospitality, can add "restaurateurs" to their resumes. The "American Nouveau" eatery Tillie's opened at the beginning of October, with executive chef Brandon Martin crafting a menu of comfortable favorites with unexpected, international elements.
"I have a very distinct flavor palate that I want to achieve, but it's how we get there that's going to be different," says Martin. "I want our guests to feel comfortable and grounded, but to also enjoy a new experience when they dine with us."
Martin is a 12-year veteran of the Austin food scene, having served as sous chef at Odd Duck and Barley Swine and in the kitchens of Foreign & Domestic, Lenoir, and Old Thousand.
The menu will be seasonal, and items from its first iteration include fried Brussels sprouts seasoned with chili jam, orange supremes, crispy shallots, and herbs; crisp pork belly with masa gnocchi, seasoned corn, chard, red-eye butter, and a carrot puree; and Wagyu beef sirloin with grilled cabbage, corn relish, beef-infused pesto, and black garlic jus. A craft cocktail and wine bar, providing more than 100 different types of wine, will highlight the restaurant's drink selections.
Keeping in theme with the rest of the Dripping Springs resort, Tillie's resides in a repurposed town hall from the Ninh Binh region of North Vietnam. An additional, separate dining room adjacent to the main restaurant — which was also imported and repurposed from a Vietnamese family home — is meant for hosting private parties and business meetings.
In addition to its modern kitchen, there is also a hybrid gas- and wood-burning oven for preparing breads, pizzas, desserts, and more. The wood used in the oven will be sustainably sourced from oak and pecan trees found on the Camp Lucy property.
Tillie's, which will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, adds to a growing list of features and amenities currently being added to the Camp Lucy grounds. A resort pool, complete with swim-up bar and adjoining outdoor brick oven, was also just completed.
"Food is an integral part of all of our lives," says Kim. "It's how we come together to celebrate. It's what brings us together. It's one of the most common ways we connect with one another. We hope that Tillie's becomes the preferred place in Dripping Springs and Austin to come together and celebrate what lies ahead."