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Photo courtesy of the St. Elias Mediterranean Festival

Believe it or not, the Mediterranean is not that far away. It’s quite a hike to get there, but it’s nearly identical in latitude — a great predictor of harmonious culinary styles and ingredients. Austin and Cairo are less than a quarter of a degree apart.

The 88th annual St. Elias Mediterranean Festival is closing that gap longitudinally on September 30 and October 4, with food, cocktails, and more. The open-air festivities are loud and certainly not as reserved as many would guess at an Orthodox church. “He’s Baptist, so he’s not supposed to be drinking,” says a festival attendee in a video from 2012, arm around the giggling rule-breaker.

Along with food vendors, who in past years have represented Lebanon, Palestine, Greece, Eritrea, Russia, Romania, and likely many more countries, other craft vendors will run their own bazaar. It’s all set to live music, with both performed and social dancing (like dabke, the Middle Eastern line dance in which participants hold hands), something incredibly rare to run into for Austinites who aren’t regularly involved in these communities.

Nothing is truly Mediterranean without wine, and the festival is known for its wide and sometimes exotic selections. Cocktails will be provided by Absolut and Aperol — the aperitivo maker most associated with the citrusy, bubbling spritz from Italy — and no one is allowed to get tired of dancing with Arabic coffee nearby.

A press release quotes a member of the family that owns and operates Twin Liquors, a current sponsor that has worked with the festival since it started in the 1930s. “Medfest is more than a tradition for our family, it’s ingrained in our culture,” said David Jabour. “We’re honored to continue to play a role in the festivities this year, and look forward to seeing friends and families celebrate with food, cocktails, music, and dancing.”

The nearly 90-year-old tradition has garnered a reputation in its hometown for its uniqueness and high spirits, and is welcoming to anyone interested in the culture. Kids are welcome, and encouraged to join with photos from past years including face painting and a bouncy house.

The 88th annual St. Elias Mediterranean Festival will take place on September 30 from 6 pm to 11 pm, and on October 1 from noon to 11 pm. Tickets ($5 donation) will be sold at the door at St. Elias Orthodox Church on East 11th Street, except for opening to 4pm on Oct 1, which is free.

Photo courtesy of Marufuku Ramen

7 things to know in Austin food right now: San Francisco ramen shop noodles into town

News You Can Eat

Update: The opening date for Marufuku Ramen has been moved to Wednesday, October 12.

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

One of the most popular of many San Francisco ramen restaurants, Marufuku Ramen, just announced it is coming to Austin on October 12, making this the second Texas location after Frisco. This franchise specializes in Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen, made with bone broth and thinner-than-usual noodles. Serving sizes also appear slightly smaller than the gut-busting bowls currently found around Austin. The menu extends to other grilled and fried items such as karaage (fried chicken) and chashu (pork belly) buns. More information about the Mueller restaurant (1900 Aldrich Street Suite 180) as it becomes available at marufukuramen.com.

Other news and notes

Readers may have heard by now that food magazine Bon Appétit selected a cool 50 restaurants to represent the best new restaurants in the United States, but one Austin hot shot made it all the way to the Top 10. Canje, the Carribean restaurant by star Austin pastry chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph, was recognized for its complexity in incorporating “layers” of ethnic influence. “Even before the coconut-milk-soaked tres leches cake hits the table, you’ll understand exactly what makes Canje one of the best new restaurants in the country,” writes Hilary Cadigan.

Mini East Austin eatery compound Bento Picnic is wringing every drop from this season with its "Late Summer Harvest Party," a collaboration with Farmshare Austin, Vermillion Farms, Lightsey Farms, and Greener Pastures Chicken. Saba San’s, the wine shop inside Bento Picnic, is handling wines with help from Summer Revival Wine Co. The guided pairing menu is just a suggestion, and guests can visit stations at their own pace while getting to know farmers and winemakers. Tickets ($18-76) available at sabasans.com.

Farmhouse Delivery, a grocery service that focuses on Texas products, is now delivering beer and wine along with its produce, meat, baked goods, prepared meals, and more. Deliveries of brands like Austin Beerworks, Wine for the People, Meanwhile Brewing, and Southold Farm & Cellar will be available starting September 16. On September 29, to celebrate and get Austinites familiar with the catalog, Farmhouse Delivery is visiting the Austin Beerworks taproom with samples. RSVP on Eventbrite for a free beer when you get there.

A collaboration between Japanese-inspired cocktail bar Watertrade and heavily-topping laden ice cream shop Bésame creates a special shaved ice treat called kakigōri. The Watertrade Wild Weekend (WWW) combines almost too many flavors to keep track of: yuzu-lemon and ginger ice cream, fuji apple, and mint-shiso kakigōri build a base. They’re topped with a sake byproduct paste, white boba pearls, Japanese molasses syrup, and roasted soy bean powder. Matcha Pocky Sticks and mint leaves tie it all together. Anyone ready to tackle this behemoth can do so at the Bésame trailer at Meanwhile Brewing, September 17 and 18 from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Mexican Independence Day is coming up on September 16, coinciding with the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, and Fonda San Miguel is celebrating both. Chefs Blanca Zesati and Carlos Monroy are breaking out a traditional, seasonal dish that is hard (but not impossible) to find around Austin. These chiles en nogada are usually stuffed with meat, candied fruits, and nuts, smothered with a walnut cream sauce, and topped with pomegranate seeds. Reserve one for September 17 by calling (512) 459-3401.

For September’s Xolovino Wine Club, Nixta Taqueria is hosting Jorge Gaviria of Masienda, a gourmet store selling everything in the tortilla-making process from whole kernels to comales, to baskets to carry them in. Gaviria is celebrating the launch of his cookbook, MASA: Techniques, Recipes, and Reflections on a Timeless Staple. Of course, the night’s four-course menu centers on masa paired with wine selections. BookPeople will join to sell copies of the book. Tickets ($100) for the 8:30 slot are still available on Tock; act fast to reserve a few remaining spots.

Photo courtesy of The Cathedral and Ventana Ballet

10 ways to make your community proud this Hispanic Heritage Month

Everybody y su madre

Unlike many months of celebration, National Hispanic American Heritage Month is not tied to one calendar month. It starts on September 15, a sort of super-Independence Day, encompassing celebrations for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, followed by Mexico on September 16, and Chile on September 18. It then runs through the second Monday in October for Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, and ends October 15.

Redubbed Latinx Heritage Month by some celebrators, in both cases it honors both personal and communal histories, and contributions to life in the United States year-round. Texans are accustomed to many Mexican traditions and cultural fusions, but this month also stretches to family ties in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, making for an endlessly diverse opportunity to get to know Austin businesses, artists, and community members.

These 10 recommended events cover traditional Mexican and Tejano music and dance; as many accordions as possible; contemporary theater; Austin community leaders and their work; tireless food trucks from across the cultural gamut; and more. Ride a bike to learn about history, or get moving with some social dancing. The best part is, most of these are happening on different days and times, so there should be plenty of time to explore what Hispanic Heritage Month means to you.

"Cultivating Community through Art: Sam Coronado's Series Project and its Continuing Legacy" opening reception
The late Sam Coronado, a former Austin Community College professor whose pioneering Chicano art movement works are celebrated by the Smithsonian, advocated for cultural diversity through screen printing. This retrospective display draws attention to other artists Coronado taught or inspired, both in Austin and farther removed. An opening reception on September 15 from 6 pm to 8 pm gives a free first look at the exhibit, which runs through December 8. No RSVP required.

Austin Latino Heritage Bike Ride
This September 17 bike tour is modeled after the Black History Bike Ride, making 15 stops over 7 miles of Latino community markers. The event description specifies “counter narratives,” suggesting that this tour may include familiar landmarks in a different context, taught in a series of history lessons as the group progresses. The group stops first at A.B. Cantu Pan American Recreation Center, and finishes up at ESB-MACC's 15th Annual Viva México: A Quinceañera! Celebration. The organizer is posting updates on Instagram and Facebook.

"Salsa for the Soul!" fundraiser for Latinitas, AVANCE, and Con Mi Madre
Three major Austin organizations for women, girls, and families — Latinitas, Avance, and Con Mi Madre — are teaming up on September 17 to throw a salsa-centric fundraiser at the Latinitas headquarters. Corazon Latino Dance Studio will teach a dance lesson to get visitors up to speed for a live set by DJ Kickit. Tito's Handmade Vodka and Maudie's Tex Mex have food and beverages handled. Also joining the party are local vendors, and some guests will win raffle prizes. Tickets ($35 or less) available on Eventbrite.

ESB-MACC's 15th Annual "Viva México: A Quinceañera! Celebration"
The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center is 15 years old, so it’s quinceañera time. This will be the last onsite event before the MACC undergoes construction. The annual event is pulling out all the stops on September 17 with a range of live music from traditional performers to a DJ collective, panels about identity and community, an artisan market, and a lowrider car show. The free event runs from 5 pm to 10 pm, with food trucks on hand. Register on Eventbrite.

“Night Birds — An Intimate Celebration of Art + Dance”
Reprising a popular 2021 event, The Cathedral and Ventana Ballet are teaming up once again for Night Birds, a 360-degree dance performance. The scores are by Hispanic composers, representing (originally or retrospectively) nocturnal birds on September 22 and 23. The Cathedral is also completely re-curating its display for the first time since opening in 2019, featuring works from local Hispanic women and nonbinary visual artists, for the entire month. Tickets (starting at $45) available on Eventbrite.

Teatro Vivo and Austin Public Library's Victory
The Little Walnut Creek Library really is little, but it’s big on community. In the heavily Hispanic Rundberg neighborhood (head to this H-E-B for specialty items), it’s hosting bilingual theater company Teatro Vivo on September 24 from 10:30 am to 11:30 am. It’s a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, but it’s also a way to start a conversation about Victory, the after-school tutoring program in collaboration with AISD. Admission is free and snacks are provided. This event is for all ages.

Squeeze Box Market Day
A short drive from Austin into Kyle will be worth it for this event for squeeze box lovers — that’s the accordion, for traditionalists. On September 24, from 10 am to 6 pm, Mary Kyle Hartson City Square Park will be filled with accordionists playing Tejano music and anything else that might suit the instrument. This is a special Hispanic Heritage Month edition of Kyle Market Days, with all the same local vendors as usual. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs and coolers. No RSVP required.

Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral: "Andares"
A conversation about heritage would not be complete without Indigenous voices. Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral, a theater collective that focuses on Mexico’s Indigenous stories, shares a multilingual piece on September 24. The stories told by one live musician and three actors will be in Spanish and Indigenous languages with English supertitles on the stage, representing everyday Mexico and scenes from its “remote corners.” Tickets available at texasperformingarts.org.

Mariachi Herencia de México
One mariachi performer is especially interesting during this month of heritage; famous ranchera singer Pedro Infante’s granddaughter, Lupita Infante. The younger singer and her huge band of 14 musicians from the United States and Mexico promise “a vibrant celebration of Mexican music and culture” at the Long Center on October 13 at 8 pm. The group is based in Chicago, but employs some Texans making a homecoming on this tour stop. Tickets ($29-64) available at thelongcenter.org.

Sazon Latin Food Festival
Restaurants all over Austin are offering specials for this month, but they’re hard to track down. The Sazon Latin Food Festival is eliminating the guesswork, bringing together a dozen food vendors together from Caribbean, Central and South American cuisines to close out Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15. This fiesta will take place at Ani's Day & Night, a relatively small venue for so many vendors, so visitors are encouraged to register now on Eventbrite and arrive early for the 5:30 pm to 9 pm food market.

Rendering courtesy of Electric Shuffle

The London bar that revolutionized shuffleboard is electrifying Austin

Shuffled Board

Shuffleboard isn’t usually the focus of the evening — or anything, really — but that’s the point: It’s unobtrusive enough to schedule just about any outing around it. Electric Shuffle, a bar and games venue out of London, is coming to Austin to hold that space and more this fall.

Electric Shuffle seems like a paradox, as shuffleboard is an antique activity, not really something people are racing to innovate. But the London bar did it, implementing custom-built “high-tech shuffleboard” with cameras to track and map each puck, keeping score for up to two dozen people, and making tournaments especially easy. Despite the arcade-ification of this classic bar game, it still seems to work the same mechanically, so analog experts need not worry.

“We are so excited for Austin to be the next spot we call home,” said Electric Shuffle USA CEO Gene Ball in a press release. “The city is a hub for innovation and hospitality with a deep love of good vibes and great music while being home to some of the coolest and weirdest concepts in the world. We cannot wait for Electric Shuffle to be a part of this community and culture while adding our own little piece of uniqueness to the city.”

The Austin bar will reside where an upscale, retro bar games spot gone high-tech makes sense: Rainey Street. It will be housed in The Quincy, a mixed-use complex between The Fairmont and the Hotel Van Zandt.

The bar itself is visually stunning — at least it is in Dallas, the closest and only other United States location — with an eclectic mix of art deco lighting, exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and colorful velvet seating. While dive bars can be plenty of fun for late night games, this is not one. The Austin location is not just the second in Texas; it’s the fourth city in the entire chain, which is operating in London, Dallas, and Leeds coming this fall.

The elevation reaches through the decor and into the kitchen, which sends out a long list of snacks and even full meals to share, including roasted shishito peppers, sampling platters, seven types of pizza, and more.

It’s not just good for an evening hang, either. Electric Shuffle serves an over-the-top brunch with a bottle of prosecco for each guest (or a nonalcoholic alternative), other cocktails, live DJs, a charcuterie-like “Ultimate Brunch Board,” and bacon jam pizza. Huge parties are more than welcome, with reservations available for four to 24 guests, and opportunities for private events of up to 250.

More information about Electric Shuffle, including details on the Austin location, is available at electricshuffleusa.com.

The game tables by Electric Shuffleboard keep score with cameras, so tournaments have never been easier.

Rendering courtesy of Electric Shuffle
The game tables by Electric Shuffleboard keep score with cameras, so tournaments have never been easier.
Rendering courtesy of Domain Northside

North Austin shopping destination debuts 5 new tenants in food, fashion, and furniture

New Neighbors

As Austin grows, it works to balance new, much-demanded chains with old community gathering places. Places like The Domain and its neighbor Domain Northside give those changes a place to let downtown breathe while making sure Austin stays up to speed.

Domain Northside recently added five businesses to its offerings, bringing food from Austin and beyond, fashion, and furniture shopping. The five new businesses — Curry Up Now, Joybird, Easy Tiger, Rothy's and Gorjana — all arrive independently, and all but the latter are open now.

“We are thrilled about the latest additions to our tenant mix,” said Northwood Retail senior marketing director Alison Goodman in a press release. “Domain Northside’s growth has brought a unique retail, dining and entertainment experience to the city of Austin and these new businesses further our mission to provide a lively and dynamic space for our guests.”

  • Curry Up Now, serves “Indian flavors and ingredients in an approachable way,” which some have described as Indian fusion — hard to argue when you’ve seen the burritos. It also creates bowls, tacos, “Sexy Fries and Naughty Naan”, along with the more authentic traditional dishes and street food it's known for. This is a great option for groups with varying diet restrictions, serving vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and Halal foods.
  • Joybird, a furniture company that commits to an updated mid-century modern style, emphasizes its online capabilities, but operates showrooms in a handful of lucky cities. This handcrafted furniture is simple but exciting for its engaging textures and bright, solid colors. The Domain Northside showroom is the second in Texas and the chain is still fairly small, with only five other locations.
  • Easy Tiger, a widely recognized Austin staple opened a new concept, Pretzel Bar, that’s exactly as described. This location is coffee counter-sized, with a handful of pretzel types to start with, dips, and charcuterie sides à la carte. Pretzel Bar is located in Lavaca Street Bar, providing drinks to complement the salty snack or sandwiches.
  • Rothy’s, a sustainable fashion company acclaimed for its innovation, recycles plastic bottles into shoes, bags and accessories. Eco fashion, while useful, can often look one-note, but Rothy’s diverse selection could fool anyone. The company counts “125 million single-use plastic bottles and 400,000 pounds of ocean-bound marine plastic” repurposed into its products so far.
  • Gorjana, a jewelry company also located on South Congress (and in Houston, among other non-Texan cities), is the only new tenant yet to open. This fall the Laguna Beach-based brand sells affordable pieces with dainty and simple designs in both plated and solid gold. It continues expanding into diamonds and other gemstones, and offers customizations for layering, adding charms, and onsite engraving.

Domain Northside contains local brands as well as some of the country’s biggest, such as Apple and AT&T. Austinites are likely to stop by for errands and stay for the many dining options, or simply to find something to do with friends on a free evening. For a full list of Domain Northside tenants, visit domainnorthside.com.

Photo courtesy of Hidden

Austin bar pops the cork on 2 immersive fairytale cocktail experiences

Two Impossible Things By Happy Hour

Falling through a mirror or being held hostage in a castle is, frankly, a lot of commitment. But getting dressed for another casual bar night is, on the other hand, a little boring. Wanderlust Wines is teaming up with local events company Hidden to host two fantastical pop-ups that will turn a simple night out into a celebration of whimsy. And you can’t beat the glassware in these two stories.

The Alice, the Alice In Wonderland experience, is about halfway through its tenure at Wanderlust, ending September 18, and subsequently transitioning to Beauty & The Beast on September 28, a similar cocktail activation. A visit to The Alice takes the form of a tea party (at least figuratively), while maintaining a focus on cocktails. What’s in the teacup varies: everyone gets a chance to make two bespoke cocktails with wine based spirits.

The experience is not unique to Austin, but since it relies on local businesses to host, each one is a little different in layout and decor. All locations are dripping with flowers hung from the ceilings, mounted on walls, and blooming out of crafty show-stopping trees. The magical, maximalist gardens include plenty of photo ops with neon signs and tufted furniture, creating a whimsical anachronism to suit whatever wacky outfits guests arrive in.

It’s not just for taking photos, either. The mind-bending experience engages visitors in a number of little challenges, from solving riddles to using the imagination: “play croquet with flamingos, paint the roses red and devour an 'Eat Me' cookie,” an event description promises. Staff appear in costume and stay in character, completing the immersive experiment, and most importantly, holding space for visitors to do the same.

Beauty & The Beast: An Immersive Cocktail Experience attaches itself to the fairytale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, a French novelist who died more than 100 years before Walter Elias Disney drew breath. Whether this is a copyright workaround or a hint of a sensibility that goes beyond the animated canon, the teaser for the “Victorian cocktail party” takes a more precarious tone than the love story or the previous frolicking activation belies. A promotional video filmed in New York City shares similar garden decor, but in a darker style.

“Be careful not to overstay your welcome to take anything that’s not yours,” it warns, “or you may not get home at all!” Promising “madness,” it asks if visitors believe they can break the curse. This event leans more on the mysterious castle fantasy, augments the riddles and challenges with promises of theater, and replaces activities like flamingo croquet with dancing (without which no Beauty and the Beast reference would be complete). It also includes two bespoke cocktails and themed treats.

Wanderlust Wine Co. operates two locations — one downtown and one in East Austin — and claims the title of the "world's largest self-pour wine on tap winery." The taproom has at least 56 wines, and runs weekly events including drag, Disney trivia, and musical bingo.

Both The Alice and Beauty & the Beast are 90-minute experiences ($49.50 and $47 per person, respectively). Costumes and photos are encouraged. For tickets and more information, visit explorehidden.com.

Costumes are encouraged at the two Wanderlust Wine Co. events, which pair bespoke cocktails with riddles and challenges.

Photo courtesy of Hidden
Costumes are encouraged at the two Wanderlust Wine Co. events, which pair bespoke cocktails with riddles and challenges.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.