The Driskill in downtown Austin has reopened its famous Driskill Grill with a new menu and the same classic, nostalgic ambiance. The restaurant, which closed its doors in 2020, has returned with a menu that focuses on both traditional Texas fare and dishes inspired by various eras in the hotel’s 137-year history. The Driskill Grill has been a renowned Austin institution since opening in 1930 and has served as the site of many legendary events, including the first date of President Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson in 1934. For decades, it was a favorite dining spot for ranchers, politicians, high society folks, and celebrities.
Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director Mark Dayanandan; Restaurant Chef Cliff Benavides; and Pastry Chef Kristen Groth collaborated to bring back the Driskill Grill. The menu offers classic Texan dishes, such as oysters Rockefeller and steak tartare, which were popular when the hotel first opened in the 19th century. The menu also features dishes influenced by different eras in the hotel’s development, such as Tournedos Rossini, a French steak dish with foie gras and truffle sauce, and whiskey-infused duck breast with wild mushroom risotto.
The new menu reflects the culinary team’s diverse backgrounds, with Dayanandan bringing experience from Europe and Canada, Benavides from across the United States, and Groth representing Austin, her hometown, as well as West Texas. The cocktail bar on the second floor of the hotel also contributes to the menu with its mixology expertise, offering cocktails with local spirits and house-made mixers. The restaurant will soon announce holiday and pre-theater prix fixe menus.
Maintaining the classic style of the rest of the hotel and honoring the architectural details, the restaurant remains the same in design, seating 82 and providing an iconic backdrop to gatherings in an otherwise modern city. The reopening of the Driskill Grill is the beginning of a new era for the hotel, which hopes to offer guests a dining experience that has been missed.