Many cities in the state are dealing with a pretty excellent “problem.” There are so many great new restaurants opening each year, it’s hard to keep up. That’s especially good news for our readers who are on the hunt for a meeting or event space that’s new to the scene. Whether you are in search of a more formal venue or a space that lends itself to a more laid-back get-together, a steakhouse or a gin distillery or lots in between, we’ve rounded up options that will be sure to please.
Il Brutto, an Italian neighborhood restaurant in Austin, opened in March and serves traditional Italian fare inside a 5,050-square-foot facility. Features include a large, open kitchen, a separate bar and lounge area, a private dining room, and shaded patio seating surrounding a heritage oak tree.
Il Brutto’s private dining room makes for a great meeting space, and can accommodate 50 people with cocktail tables and 28 people seated. The dining room features floor-toceiling windows, custom menu options and access to the patio. The private dining room can accommodate a 55-inch flat-screen TV with HDMI capabilities for a $150 rental fee. ilbruttoaustin.com; 512.580.8779
Guild, the newest restaurant of Chameleon Companies, opened its doors earlier this year, and offers seasonally inspired, seafood-focused cuisine. The ingredient-driven menu includes an extensive raw bar, including oysters and ceviche, classic desserts with a twist, and a vast selection of wine and champagne. The restaurant was named one of the “Top 30 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings Across the U.S.,” and is guided by executive chef and partner Sterling Ridings.
Situated in a breezy, light-filled modern space in Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood, Guild boasts a wide range of customizable event spaces, from intimate dinners to office gatherings to wedding receptions. A full buyout of the restaurant can accommodate up to 160 seated guests or 250 standing guests, or there’s a private dining room—equipped with audio-visual setup and display—available for 40 seated or 60 standing attendees. Guild also has a few patios surrounding the restaurant, which work well for semiprivate gatherings. guildaustin.com; 512.975.2626
Part of the collection of five restaurants in Austin’s Fairmont Hotel that opened in March, Garrison’s inventive menu focuses on grilling and smoking techniques. Garrison touts that it is “dedicated to open flame, wafting smoke, and the highest-quality meats, seafood and local produce available.” Menu options include sorghum grilled octopus, barbecue cauliflower and wagyu eye of rib eye.
Garrison is an ideal choice for smaller gatherings, as its private dining room can contain up to 16 guests. Its in-house audio-visual company, PSAV, can arrange for monitors, microphones, projectors and more. The full restaurant—which can seat up to 73—is available to rent. garrisongrill.com; 512.524.4700
Scout, created by Epic F&B at The Statler Hotel in Dallas, opened in February and serves as a social space that celebrates the spirit of the great outdoors with refreshments and recreation. Games and activities from bowling to pingpong are featured in the national parkinspired space. Scout’s menu was crafted with large groups in mind and features sharable dishes like fried chicken and fajitas.
The 12,000-square-foot facility, which includes bowling alleys, can accommodate groups of up to 380 in a private event context, and guests can choose between both indoor and outdoor event locations. The restaurant provides full audio setup, live music, a stage, lighting and other amenities as requested by groups. Television hookup for visual presentations is also available. scoutdallas.com; 469.320.8993
GOODE COMPANY ARMADILLO PALACE
Goode Company Armadillo Palace was converted from its former Hall of Flame retail front into a true Texas honky-tonk, bar and restaurant in 2004. The space was recently renovated to include an expanded backyard, a dance hall with a new stage, and the specialty Orange Blossom Bar. Menu favorites include their Heritage Pig’s Head Carnitas, The Big Texan Porterhouse and guacamole with all the toppers. (Fun fact: The restaurant’s name was inspired by its 2-ton antique armadillo whose interior once served as a DJ booth. The armadillo still sits in front of the restaurant, making it easy to know you’re at the right place!)
From a private event standpoint, this is a great location for larger groups. Goode Company Armadillo Palace offers various options, including a private hall that can accommodate 175 seated or 200 standing attendees. When combined with the Orange Blossom Bar, the space can accommodate 220 seated and 400 standing. The north and south wing can accommodate 400 seated and 600 standing attendees. thearmadillopalace.com; 713.526.9700
51FIFTEEN CUISINE & COCKTAILS
This restaurant, helmed by executive chef Lulzim “Luigi” Shimaj, opened last year and serves up globally inspired, locally minded cuisine from its location on the second floor in Houston’s new Saks Fifth Avenue. With current menu items such as seafood salad, poblano bisque and guacamole deviled eggs, 51fifteen focuses on fresh, seasonal offerings.
51fifteen can accommodate events from intimate gatherings to multicourse dinners or cocktail affairs, to complete buyouts of the restaurant. It has an event planning team onsite and offers personalized menu selection, fully customized event spaces and coordination of vendors.
The restaurant has hosted events including baby showers, bridal showers, wedding receptions, and corporate meetings and lunches or dinners. Event spaces can accommodate anywhere from 30 to 150 attendees and feature state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. 51fifteen.com; 713.963.806
HEARSAY ON THE STRAND
The newest offering in our roundup, Hearsay on the Strand opened in June. The restaurant serves contemporary American dishes and specialty craft cocktails. Hearsay features live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and during brunch on Sundays. Menu highlights include cheesesteak egg rolls, veggie burger with fried egg and crispy calamari salad.
For events and meetings, the restaurant can accommodate up to 12 seated at the chef’s table or up to 60 in the private dining area. Hearsay has an upstairs balcony for up to 40 guests and an outdoor space for up to 24 attendees. hearsayonthestrand.com; 409.765.5604
Founded by husband and wife chef duo John and Elise Russ, Clementine is a neighborhood American restaurant that opened in January, featuring an influence of southern flavors. The menu is broken down into sections including “Petites,” for small items such as hush puppies with labneh, seasonal pickled green tomato, honey and sumac; and “Sideboard,” for larger sharable plates such as ricotta cavatelli with broccoli pesto and Sichuan pepper and pecans. Clementine offers “The Feed Me,” a unique dining experience in which guests leave the decision-making up to chef Russ to create a custom, seasonally influenced menu. This option is available for all party types and sizes.
Renting out the restaurant can make Clementine—which has 46 total seats—a good option for meetings and events, or there’s an option to reserve 12 seats at the restaurant’s community table. clementine-sa.com; 210.503.5121
The makers of San Antonio’s own Seersucker Southern Style Gin opened the doors to their recently remodeled distillery this spring. Located 25 minutes from downtown San Antonio, the distillery sits on 6 acres of south Texas land and features a remodeled 5,000-square-foot distilling and bottling facility, a new tasting room, and an expansive outdoor space for classic lawn games like bocce ball and corn hole.
Self-guided and guided tours, tastings and signature cocktails are available on-site. The indoor tasting room can accommodate up to 75 while the outdoor space can be completely customized to accommodate 200-plus guests, food trucks, live music, projection screens, tents and more. seersuckergin.com; 210.817.1580
Range, one of many restaurants from chef Jason Dady, is a modern American chophouse showcasing the bounty of the Texas Hill Country. It opened its doors in September. The menu pays tribute to Texas beef, fresh Gulf seafood and Hill Country game, including bobwhite quail. There is an extensive wine list, along with upgraded classic cocktails and local craft beers.
Range has indoor and outdoor seating with panoramic views of the San Antonio Riverwalk. Special features that can be arranged for events include tableside preparations, interactive chef demos, handcrafted cocktail carts and specialty spirits. The restaurant can accommodate up to 500 people, and will work with guests to put together the ideal event and setting. rangesa.com; 210.227.4455
As a Texas brasserie, Maverick—which opened in February—features a menu that is classically prepared with Texas ingredients (most of which are cooked over a live wood fire). The inventive menu includes rotisserie meats, fire-kissed steaks, shared plates, housemade desserts and pastries, all inspired by French brasserie-style fare. Maverick’s curated wine list specializes in wines from France and California. Situated in the historic, artsy Southtown neighborhood, Maverick is within walking distance of downtown San Antonio.
Maverick’s offerings include Le Box private dining room, with a maximum capacity of 80 seated and 125 cocktail-style. Audio-visual setup, access to a projector screen, private bathrooms and private entrances are available. For smaller groups, a semiprivate dining space and wine room, La Cave, can seat up to 18 people. mavericktexas.com; 210.973.6050