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Driskill's 1886 Cafe & Bakery Repoens February 7

AUSTIN, TX-February 5, 2008-After being closed for the past month, The Driskill Hotel's award-winning 1886 Café & Bakery reopens on Thursday, February 7 with its regular schedule of breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining.

One of downtown Austin's most popular restaurants and ranked by Zagat Survey for serving the "Best New American Cuisine" in Austin, the new 1886 Café & Bakery, at first glance, looks a lot like the old. The grand columns and pressed tin ceiling, etched glass windows and stunning stained glass remain in place. What's different is the ornate bar that dominated the front portion of the restaurant. It has been repositioned into a linear rather than a u-shaped design and moved to the back of the room.

"We wanted to open up the restaurant and make it more customer friendly," says Romer Perez, food and beverage director of the Driskill Hotel. "This new configuration provides an easier flow for both the customers and our staff."

Taking advantage of its prime Sixth Street location and as one of the few restaurants in the area open for late night dining, the cafe has added several features to position it as a more vibrant entertainment venue. The bar now stocks 25 specialty premium tequilas and a dozen premium rums for signature mojitos and margaritas. In addition to the extensive selection of imported vodkas, three locally distilled spirits-Tito's, Savvy and Dripping Springs-are prominently featured, particularly on the Bloody Mary bar during Sunday brunch. The bar also serves Live Oak, Lone Star and Shiner beers. Flat-screen televisions have been added in the bar, a welcome feature for patrons wanting to keep up with their favorite sports teams.

The renovation also includes refurbishing of all the furniture. The tufted booths and chairs boast new upholstery in a rich palette of green, blue, burgundy and gold jewel tones.

Carrying on the legacy of the 1886 lunchroom that the Heritage Society of Austin operated at The Driskill for 20 years, the 1886 Café & Bakery quickly attracted a loyal customer base when it opened in 2002. Several of the original recipes from the venue's days as "Austin's socializing parlor" remain on the menu, including Helen Corbitt's Cheese Soup and the 1886 Chocolate Cake.

Chef Scott Halverson (see attached bio), who recently joined The Driskill's culinary team as executive chef of the 1886 Café & Bakery, introduces several new items to the menu. At lunch, diners find a Grilled Pizzette with pesto, roasted corn, caramelized onion, tomato and mozzarella; a mile-high stacked Black Forest Ham and Gruyere Cheese Monte Cristo with black pepper garlic fries; Herb Goat Cheese Tart; and 1886 Stews of the Day.

The dinner menu features one of Chef Halverson's signature dishes from Chive, the San Diego restaurant where he last served as executive chef. There he won rave reviews from the Southern California culinary crowd with his Braised Beef Short Ribs, inspired from his home state of Texas. He also joins in the local "who makes the best macaroni and cheese" competition with Baked Three-Cheese Crab Macaroni. Chef Halverson beefs up the entrée selection with New York Strip and Filet Mignon, as well as Gulf Coast Snapper Filet, Salmon Filet and Gulf Coast Shrimp-all either grilled or seared.

An extensive selection of delectable desserts makes the 1886 Café & Bakery one of downtown's most popular après night-on-the-town spots. Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cake, Pistachio Crunch Cake, Italian Amaretto Cheesecake and specialty ice cream sundaes top the list of favorite desserts.

The 1886 Café & Bakery opens daily from 6:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and remains open until midnight on Friday and Saturday night. Breakfast is served until 2:30 p.m. on weekends.

The Driskill Hotel-awarded Conde Nast's Gold List of "World's Best Places to Stay," AAA Four Diamonds and Mobile Five Stars-is one of more than 30 independent, upscale and luxury hotels, resorts and golf clubs in the United States managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, the fifth largest independent hospitality management company in the country. The company, headquartered in suburban Denver, Colo., features a portfolio of more than 7,000 guest rooms, 10 golf courses and 12 full-service spas. Destination Hotels & Resorts properties are located in key metropolitan and resort markets including Washington, D.C., Houston, Denver, San Diego, Santa Fe, Aspen, Austin, Phoenix, Portland, Palm Springs, Maui and Lake Tahoe. For more information on the properties in the Destination Hotels & Resorts collection, please visit http://www.destinationhotels.com/.





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