After more than 150 years, Stagecoach Inn's historic restaurant is back and better than ever. Pictured: the Tomahawk pork chop
Inside the newly renovated Stagecoach Inn dining room
Inside the new Stagecoach Inn
1861 Hushpuppies at the new and improved Stagecoach Inn
Stagecoach Inn's deep-fried bacon
The Stagecoach Inn's famous Strawberry Kiss dessert
A glimpse of Stagecoach Inn's new bar and lounge
Stagecoach Inn beverage Director Topher White helps mix new drinks like the hibiscus margarita.
Stagecoach Inn's Rio Verde is made with Rio Verde with Polish vodka, basil, agave, green chartreuse, lime, and grapefruit oil.
Wedged between Austin and Waco sits the small Texas town of Salado — population approximately 2,134. The quaint landscape may only stretch 2.2 square miles, but the Salado city limits are home to one of Texas’ most storied landmarks — the historic Stagecoach Inn.
Not only has the hotel and restaurant been in business for more than 150 years, but the venue is also credited as one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in Texas given its origins as the Shady Villa in 1861 before its eventual name change to the Stagecoach Inn in 1943.
Notable past occupants include everyone from historic politician Sam Houston to American outlaw Jesse James.
Of course, more than a century in business warrants a few major upgrades. So when developers Clark Lyda, Austin Pfiester, and David Hays acquired the property in 2015, they partnered with Austin-based La Corsha Hospitality Group (the team behind beloved Austin restaurants such as Second Bar + Kitchen, Boiler Nine Bar + Grill, and the new Mattie’s at Green Pastures ) to repair and restore the building to its original, 1860s-era charm.
Following a year of renovations, the venue’s first revitalized phase — the Stagecoach Inn Restaurant — has finally made its debut.
“Stagecoach Inn has been a sacred retreat for locals and travelers and we’re thrilled to welcome everyone to the renewed and restored restaurant,” Lyda says.
“This project has been such a gratifying experience, and we’re anxious for guests to see how our team has preserved the property’s history while improving its atmosphere of gracious hospitality.”
Chef Justin Holler’s Historic Move
The space not only touts refreshed interiors, which feature aptly named event spaces such as the Sam Houston Room and the Longhorn Room, but it is also showcasing a new executive chef — Justin Holler, who previously held rank at Austin’s modern Thai restaurant Sway.
Holler amps up Stagecoach’s famed prix fixe menu with Texas classics such as 1861 Hushpuppies served with malted aioli; chicken fried steak accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and green beans; and the iconic Strawberry Kiss made with vanilla ice cream, meringue, and strawberry.
The restaurant will also introduce a number of a la carte menu items under Holler’s direction — think deep-fried bacon with onion jam and Texas toast; a Tomahawk pork chop paired with black-eyed peas, apricot-peach jam, and kale; and slow smoked beer can chicken served with green beans, herb butter, and tobacco onions.
“The Stagecoach Inn Restaurant and Bar has re-opened with the intent of restoring the renowned landmark to glory. The history of the property demanded special attention in respect to design,” Holler tells PaperCity.
“People’s memories demanded nothing short of love approaching the menu. Texas classics and Stagecoach favorites are elevated to a special place in a special environment. We are very proud of where we have landed and where the Stagecoach is headed.”
The new restaurant will be joined by the Stagecoach Inn’s 75 re-imagined guest rooms in the spring of 2018.