It turns out that what would’ve been celebrity chef Michael Mina’s first Austin restaurant isn’t happening anymore. Instead, the downtown space is being turned into a different New American restaurant this year. The Guest House will open at 110 San Antonio Street, Suite 140 starting on Sunday, February 18.
The Guest House is taking over what had been formerly Austin French restaurant Le Politique, which was opened by local hospitality group New Waterloo in 2017. It closed temporarily at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, which became a permanent shutter in December 2022.
Coupled with Le Politique’s shutter news was the fact that Mina’s company, the Mina Group, was going to be opening an entirely new restaurant in the space. It was supposed to open sometime in the middle of 2023, which didn’t happen. The company had posted a job listing for a general manager that referred to “upcoming opportunities” in cities including Austin dated on December 14, 2023. Eater has reached out for more information.
So now the Guest House will open at that address within the Northshore building, from co-partner Johann Moonesinghe and unnamed others. Moonesinghe also provided funding for the restaurant through his Austin-based hospitality financial startup InKind in his role as CEO.
This isn’t InKind’s first Austin restaurant venture. It opened downtown Latin live-fire restaurant Ember and its cocktail bar Subterra in February 2023.
As for the Guest House itself, the New American menu will include lots of steaks such as filet mignons, dry-aged rib-eyes, and larger Kansas City bone-in rib-eyes. There are extras such as Hennessy demi-cream, truffle parmesan crust, and black truffle butter.
Elsewhere, the raw bar will be stocked with oysters, shrimp, crudos, and Maine lobster tails. There will also be caviar service with dosas, creme fraiche, chives, and saffron-cured egg yolk. The rest of the menu includes wagyu beef burgers, pork chops, seafood platters, buttermilk chicken tenders, mushroom pizza, seared diver scallops, and charred Moroccan beets.
Guest House’s corporate chef is Todd Mark Miller. Before this Austin gig, he worked at various restaurants throughout the country. That includes several locations of modern steakhouse chain STK, steakhouse/nightclub She in Miami, Gotham Steak at Miami hotel Fontainebleau, Bernards Inn in New Jersey, and Utah restaurant Silver. He also had been an executive sous chef at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime in Las Vegas and had created a very expensive cheesesteak during his time at the Philadelphia restaurant Barclay Prime.
Guest House’s breads are being created by notable Los Angeles-now-in-Austin baker Conor Smith, who was part of the couple duo behind the lauded Los Angeles bakery Gemini Bakehouse, known for its sourdough breads and baked goods. At the Austin restaurant, he’ll offer items like, yes, sourdough loaves, as well as brioche feuilletée and cinnamon rolls, which will also be available for takeout services. (His wife and co-Gemini creator Hannah Smith had been the executive pastry chef of Dripping Springs resort restaurant Tillie’s.)
Rounding out the sweets will be pastries and desserts by pastry chef Brigette Contreras, who also worked at STK in Las Vegas. Expect lemon meringue pies, New York cheesecakes with strawberry tuiles, and tableside-prepared dishes such as bananas foster sundaes.
Guest House’s cocktail menu — developed by Carla Lorenzo and Omar Douglas — has an Alice in Wonderland theme. The Tea Party is a sangria served in teapots and the Tulgey Woods is a margarita accompanied with a scented fog. There will be beers, wines with New and Old World bottles, ciders, and nonalcoholic options.
The space features many florals, an indoor dining room, two private dining rooms, a wrap-around patio, and an enclosed patio. There are plans to host nightly DJs. When Guest House opens, it’ll start with dinner service, and add weekend brunch and lunch later.
The Guest House already has plans to expand into Las Vegas, though further details aren’t available.
Guest House’s hours will be from 5 to 11 p.m. nightly.
Nearby and similar to Guest House are two other Austin downtown restaurants. There’s the very recent Statesman, pegged as a supper club spot with American and Texan food and drinks; and then, at least aesthetically, there’s Estelle’s which features New American dishes, an emphasis on raw seafood, and lots of floral decorations.
Update, February 15: This article, originally published on January 31, has been updated to include the Guest House’s opening date and hours of operation.