The Bonneville in Austin
Chris Hurley & Jennifer Costello spearhead The Bonneville and give Austin a taste of American Spirited Contemporary Cuisine.
Last week I was able to sit down with Chris Hurley & Jennifer Costello, the husband & wife team behind Austin’s new second district restaurant, The Bonneville. The couple, originally from Boston & Canada respectively; studied, trained and met while living in Boston. They worked in the culinary circuit for over a decade while dreaming about creating their own concept one day. When the chance occurred, they left the Northeast and made their move to Austin to start their own restaurant.
With an American Spirit inspiration in mind, The Bonneville name stems from the Bonneville Salt Flats, an established frontier explored in the 1830s, where reinvention was sought and boundaries challenged. Like the flats, The Bonneville restaurant reflects its natural aesthetic, executing a new take on familiar food, to achieve a classic yet contemporary culinary style.
Chris and Jenn’s concept is to take the hallmarks of fine dining and bring them down to a local feel. Their priority is to get the nicest quality and locally sourced ingredients and combining that with a scene that evokes a casual but quality dining experience. Their hope is that regulars will find The Bonneville as their place and that people will always feel welcome to come sit at the bar alone or enjoy dinner with a crowd. Either way, their hope is that The Bonneville will be a place to enjoy fine dining quality pared with reasonable prices.
From the moment you walk in the door, you’re overcome with a stunning open aired loft- like interior space, with beautiful salty blue painted walls, pale sandy accents adorning the pillars, comfortable dining settings lining the windows and walls, and a stunning bar welcoming all guests. And that bar is the perfect place to have a cocktail or stay for a while.
The natural light that pours in on three sides of the restaurant fills the space beautifully, allowing diners to see the hustle & bustle of downtown Austin as well as the beauty of Town Lake. It also allows for passerby to peek inside and see the feast on the tables. The architecture and interiors are simple, yet unique. And you could say the same about the food.
The Bonneville’s culinary style is a reinvention of classic cuisine: food that is familiar but refashioned in a slightly unexpected way. In a sea of Tex-Mex and steak houses in the downtown Austin area, The Bonneville offers a contemporary menu that has a wide range of choices
The menu is full of choices with everything from Local Fried Green Tomato with Gilled Peaches & House-made Basil-Black Petter Burrata; to Chicken “Under a Brick”, with Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad; or their Local IO Ranch Slow Braised Lamb Shank, Ricotta Gnudi, & Summer Vegetables in a Lavendar Brodo.
And don’t forget the dessert : Salted Carmel Chocolate Tart; Sticky Toffee Pudding with Bourbon Caramel; or the Summer Pavalova with Seasoned Fruit & Champagne Float. You won’t leave hungry or disappointed.
The cocktail program at The Bonneville is designed to reflect the food, keeping the drinks simple but interesting enough to make guests think twice about just which one to order. Trust me, it took a while for me to decide! Opting for the title of “bartender” instead of “mixologist,” The Bonneville bartenders do just that: tend the bar, know the cocktails and take care of its guests with approachable and proper service. Their classic cocktails are driven with a craft twist, with the talented Bar Manager Chris Dalaku at the helm. Guests can order traditional cocktails, as well as indulge in inventive signature cocktails.
The Bonneville has certainly made an impression since it’s New Years Eve opening. Stop by if you’re in Austin and be sure to meet Chris, Jenn and their wonderful team! Have a cocktail, try the special and don’t forget about their desserts, you’ll want to keep room for them! Enjoy!
The Bonneville | 202 W. Cesar Chavez | Austin, TX 78701 | 512-428-4643 | www.thebonnevilleaustin.com