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Kevin Williamson, Founder and Chef of Ranch 616, Has Died

Williamson was also believed to be the inventor of the Ranch Water cocktail

A photo of a man in a western shirt in front of a bar
Kevin Williamson
Ranch 616/Facebook
Erin Russell is associate editor of Eater Austin, a native Austinite, and a big fan of carbs.

Kevin Williamson, the founder and chef of West Sixth bar and restaurant Ranch 616, died on November 26. He was 59.

Williamson, an Austin native, worked on Wall Street before starting his culinary career. He opened Ranch 616 in 1998 with the idea to combine the flavors of the Gulf Coast and South Texas. He was a co-owner of Star Bar, another bar on West Sixth, and had a leadership role on the Austin Restaurant Association.

Williamson’s other claim to fame was as the inventor of the Ranch Water cocktail. As reported by a Thrillist story on the origins of the cocktail, he developed a taste for the drink on hunting trips when he would take a thermos of iced tequila, so when he opened Ranch 616, he created Ranch Water: a margarita with a bottle of Topo Chico on the side.

As reported by CultureMap, Williamson entered hospice care for cancer in 2019, but left in favor of taking last-minute trips with friends. He is survived by his mother Jackie, sisters Lezlie Glade and Jennifer Lucchese, daughter Channing Wakeman, and five grandchildren. A Facebook post from Ranch 616 (which is currently closed) is collecting memories of Williamson, and a celebration of life is planned.

Ranch 616

616 Nueces Street, Austin, TX 78701 512 479 7616 Visit Website