By LYNETTE HAALAND
Four Points News
Kerry Grimes, Steiner Ranch resident, and Wayne Brooks, former chef at the University of Texas Golf Club, opened 827Ray’s Kitchen + Cellar on Aug. 27.
827Ray’s, located at 3519 RM 620, has already gotten a nod from USA Today Eats as “Austin’s latest hot spot”. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and has brunch on Sundays.
The new restaurant has farm fresh and French infused seasonally inspired cuisine, said Brooks.
And it has a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere, added Grimes.
Some of the local favorites include baked goat cheese, oak roasted mussels and pan fried shishito peppers. Entrees include a pan roasted lemon chicken, white wine braised pork and crispy skinned red fish. A duck egg crème brule and cinnamon pecan French toast provide a sweet ending.
The restaurant has diverse wine list of over 30 wines and craft cocktails.
“Cocktails are made with fresh squeezed juices, and there are no packaged sauces (for dishes). Wayne creates our sauces,” Grimes said.
Brooks grew up in Boulder, Colo. and moved to Texas after receiving his bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, where he worked at the Amelia Island Plantation in Florida under Jackie Burette, French chef. After graduating, Brooks moved to San Antonio and worked for Scott Cohen, chef at La Mansion del Rio, ultimately becoming executive sous chef before UT Golf Club contacted him to open their new clubhouse in Steiner Ranch as executive chef.
It was a chance meeting and conversation about NASCAR with Grimes, a club member, that their friendship was formed. The two also enjoy watching hockey games.
Steiner residents since 2003, Grimes is senior vice president of worldwide channel sales at PTC, and he travels to many countries, which is how he became a foodie.
In 2010, a couple of years after Grimes and Brooks met, the idea to open a restaurant began.
In September 2015, Grimes and Brooks purchased the 3.2-acre property off of RM 620 and formerly the Hill Country Pasta House. The Gilberts of Lakeway owned the property for some 25 years.
Grimes and Brooks poured more than $1 million into the renovations, adding 900-square-feet for a new dining room and new bathrooms.
827Ray’s was named after Brooks’ two sons (the youngest’s birthday and middle name of the oldest) and when he presented the concept to Grimes – given that Aug. 27 was also Grimes’ daughter’s birthday – they took it as a sign. Grimes has five grown children.
“We had over 250 people on opening night and I’m overwhelmed by the positive praise we’ve received about the food and the look of the restaurant,” Brooks said.
A second private dining area with a large screen TV can hold up to 30 guests. There is also a new outdoor dining garden patio and an outdoor pavilion on the property for weddings and catered private events that holds 150 guests.
Concerts are being planned as well as wine dinners, with wine and food pairings at a fixed price.
The restaurateurs are targeting the Four Points and Lakeway markets.“You don’t have to drive downtown for a nice dinner,” Grimes said.
Brooks said that being next to Hudson’s on the Bend, even though it has been closed for renovations, has “good synergy”.
827Ray’s is filled with an art collection from Salvador Dali, Peter Max and Erte, which help create a refined setting.
“There is over $100,000 of art on the walls from art dealers and some are on consignment,” Grimes said.
Grimes’ wife Connie designed the garden patio area of 827Ray’s. Brook’s wife does social media and advertising aspects of the venture.
Grimes and Brooks are already thinking about opening their second location but said it is too soon to share details on that.
For menus, hours and directions at 827Ray’s visit: www.827rays.com or call (512) 266-9445.