If you're not familiar with the Liberty Tavern downtown, it's probably because the Hilton's "straightforward food and home-style cooking" outfit wasn't exactly the stand-out restaurant in its competitive zip code, serving $13 sandwiches and $14 salads to guests on business accounts. Now, the hotel is revamping the restaurant's image, keeping the name but spicing up the food and beverage offerings with a Texas-centric menu from chef Mark Dayanandan and craft brew offerings curated by general manager and "beer expert" Michael Creecy.
Creecy comes to Liberty Tavern from Dallas, where he worked at chef Nick Badovinus' Neighborhood Services group, so he'll be plenty familiar with the upscale-comfort-food setting at Liberty. According to a press release sent this morning, the reimagined restaurant will feature a pork shank dinner paired with a Texas beer flight, bar snacks with "Texas flair" and "a whole Lobster tail marinated in cilantro and Tito's Vodka."
The restaurant is scheduled to re-open on September 7th.
LIBERTY TAVERN REVITALIZES CONCEPT WITH FOCUS ON AUSTIN MICRO BREWS AND TEXAS-INSPIRED MENU
Austin and Texas Brews, Spirits Plus New Look and Menu Equal New Texas Tavern in Downtown Austin
(AUSTIN, TEXAS – August 22, 2012) The Liberty Tavern, next to the Austin Hilton Downtown, is in the midst of a total renovation and soon to unveil a new dining concept that celebrates the area's booming craft beer scene along with the flavors of Texas. The new Liberty Tavern, scheduled to re-open September 7, 2012, will feature an American-meets-Texas menu along with an impressive roster of locally-sourced draught beers and Texas spirits and cocktails. Liberty Tavern is located on 500 East 4th St in between Red River and Neches Streets.
The restaurant's new motto, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of beer," is delivered upon with 12 beers on tap and 20 bottles representing 20 different beer styles including five Austin and two Texas varieties. One beer tower, dedicated solely to Austin and Texas draughts will highlight three signature ales - the Austin Amber, Saison (rotating), and Stash IPA - from local brewery partner, Independence Brewery. Additional local ales are from Hops & Grain and Jester King. Texas-based spirits on the cocktail menu include Tito's Vodka, Treaty Oak Rum, Dulce Vida Tequila, Rebecca's Creek Whiskey and more. The restaurant will continue to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner along with late night happy hour.
"There is such an abundance of great flavors – to eat and drink - produced here in the Austin area. We are thrilled to be neighbors with Liberty Tavern, and look forward to giving our hotel guests a great option for an authentic Austin dining experience right in the middle of the action downtown," said Leslie Pchola, general manager of the Hilton Austin.
Overseeing the tavern's transition is General Manager Michael Creecy, a native Texan who helped Dallas-based Neighborhood Services gain critical acclaim and expand to three Dallas locations. Creecy also brings experience working alongside notable Dallas chef and James Beard Nominee for Best Restaurateur, Nick Badovinus. "I was impressed by Liberty Tavern's new focus, and look forward to sharing the bounties of Austin's expanding micro-brewery scene with visitors and locals alike," says Creecy. "The menu will be Texas comfort with plenty of modern twists, so even if you don't like beer, there's much to enjoy."
Tavern Tastes and Beer Happenings
A menu highlight (dinner and at the bar) is Liberty Tavern's "Beer Dinner," a savory one-pound chile-spiced roast pork shank on a bed of cheesy spaetzle with caramelized onions paired with a flight of five local Texas beers. Other bar menu items include roasted fresh jalapenos stuffed with three fillings: sausage and fennel; lump crab meat; and cheddar and jack cheese; fried green tomatoes with a chipotle mayo dipping sauce; open-faced vegetable masa tamales topped with shrimp Vera Cruz or BBQ quail; a seafood ceviche comprised of scallops, shrimp, calamari and a whole Lobster tail marinated in cilantro and Tito's Vodka, served on an "avocado marble"; and slow-smoked baby back ribs basted in a house-made Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce.
Even the bar snacks pack plenty of Texas flair featuring chorizo queso and homemade green chile salsa and chips. Glass jars stocked full of house-made jalapeno peanut brittle; habanero and bourbon-infused pineapple chunks; and locally made beef jerky line the bar. All menus available on website or upon request.
In conjunction with Independence Brewery, Liberty Tavern will hold several "Meet the Brewer" and special beer release events throughout the year including a number of cask tapping parties.
Proving everything is bigger in Texas, Liberty Tavern will serve regular pints and its own "Texas 20," a 20-oz pint glass for draught beer. Patrons enjoy $2 off all local beers, Texas specialty cocktails, and drink specials during the "Texas Happy Hour," 9pm – 11pm daily.
· Liberty Tavern [Facebook]
· All Craft Beer Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]
[Photo: Neal E./Yelp]