Austin Grill Reopens Apr. 7 in Old Town
Austin Grill and Tequila Bar at 801 King St. in Old Town Alexandria reopens today after a little more than three months of remodeling the space and retooling the menu.
The restaurant, which closed just before Christmas, has undergone a complete $1.5 million remodel from top to bottom and inside out with a facelift outside and new décor inside. Outside, the red and gold awnings, turquoise building and purple trim and doors has been replaced with blue awnings, a blue building and brown trim. A patio will seat 15 in warm weather. The signage has been updated to the current logo and new sconces have been added in the patio area.
Inside the restaurant seats 210 and features wood, leather and brick, blue and copper tones, a copper ceiling, more dramatic lighting with tequila bottle and copper star chandeliers and a graffiti-inspired mural. Downstairs, cowhide backed chairs and wooden tables have replaced the bright, primary colored booths and there is a bigger bar faced with Mexican and Texan decorated ceramic tiles that has a tequila tower. Architect and designer Pamela Manhas from Ft. Lauderdale designed the new space. She also designed the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, several Wyndham Hotels restaurants, Planet Hollywood in Cancun and several Darden Resturants.
Filling the tequila tower will be 100 types of tequila priced from $5-$50 a serving and $20-$500 a bottle. Tequila drinks costing $20 or more will be served in new hand-blown glassware from Mexico with rims color coded to match the tequila menu. In addition to the many brands of tequilas, the restaurant will be making several varieties of margaritas frozen or on the rocks, its own infused tequilas such as banana-lemongrass, palomas made with house infused whiskeys such as blackberry-blueberry, pomegranate or grapefruit mixed with Sprite and house made sangrias such as strawberry-banana-mint white or strawberry-raspberry-cinnamon red, which with change seasonally.
The bold new menu includes old Tex-Mex favorites as well as new items such as fresh guacamole made tableside. New appetizers include added seafood selections such as Ahi tuna tacos, brushfire shrimp and catfish fritters. New entrée items fuse traditional Tex-Mex comfort cuisine such as the tequila lime sirloin, mac and cheese, South Padre jambalaya, Texas fried chicken and the tumbleweed burger.
Most of the food is fresh. The restaurant has no walk-in freezer, only a highboy in the kitchen. The chips and salsa are made in house – the chips are fried daily (sometimes every shift) and the salsa made from house roasted peppers. Even the spicy ketchup is made in house. The kitchen stocks 10 kinds of chili peppers including the the hottest of all, the ghost chili. There’s even an extensive gluten-free menu including gluten-free chips and tortillas.
If the new décor and menu are popular in Old Town, the menu would be rolled out to the Reston-based chain’s Penn Quarter, Silver Spring and Springfield locations followed by the new décor.
To celebrate its reopening, the Old Town location will open today (Apr. 7) at 11 a.m. serving lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night menus. On Apr. 14, there will be a welcome back party from 4-7 p.m. with a special tasting of featured menu items. On Apr. 21, there will be a Countdown to Cinco party with specials on Coronas and appetizers. And from Apr. 21-27, 10 percent of guest checks will be donated to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children when guests mention the organization with 20 percent being donated from a happy hour reception from 4-7 p.m. on Apr. 22.
The Old Town location is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.