Thank you, Camp Lucy, for inviting me out to preview your new resort restaurant – Tillie’s. While I did receive complimentary food and drinks, all opinions are my own.
Camp Lucy is currently home to several premier hill country wedding venues and lodging accommodations, but their eyes are set on things much larger than venues. They are growing into a full-blown luxury resort which includes a pool, complete with swim-up bar and adjoining outdoor brick oven pizza kitchen. They are also adding an entire spa building on their property!
Tillie’s, their restaurant opening October 1st, is a part of this luxury resort vision. The restaurant’s dining room is a town hall imported from the Ninh Binh region of Vietnam and is almost 200 years’ old. The east and west walls of the dining room are adorned with several Catholic saint statues, also imported from Vietnam. The whole thing fits together like Lincoln logs – not one nail!
The history of the building and surrounding property goes so much deeper than its Vietnamese origins. Owner and founder Whit Hanks explains the process:
Camp Lucy has been a part of Whit Hanks’ family for decades, originally acquired by the Mildred Hancock estate in 1985. Whit took control of the property in 1999 and his imagination began to take flight almost immediately.
“I knew I wanted this property to be something I could share,” Whit Hanks said. “I didn’t want to keep this beautiful land to myself. “
Drawing inspiration from high-end campgrounds in the Adirondacks, he chose the name Camp Lucy, in honor of his mother, Lucy Hanks, and began looking to develop the property so that it could support his vision.
Along with his wife, Kim Hanks, the entrepreneurial couple continues to build Camp Lucy into the luxury resort it was destined to become. Tillie’s restaurant is the latest jewel in their crown.
I truly had a VIP experience at Tillie’s and I’m sure their hospitality for venues and lodging is the same. I was greeted in my car at the front gates of the camp and was then greeted, again, BY NAME when I arrived in front of the restaurant to park. I was immediately given a glass of wine and was escorted (with an umbrella, even though it was barely sprinkling) to the beautiful dining room. If my experience is anything like what it’s like to actually stay at their resort, then this place is the PERFECT staycation.
The video was originally shot for stories on Instagram by @discoveringATX
The menu at Tillie’s reflects traditional American cuisine but with an international flare. The concept behind the experience of dining at Tillie’s can be described as “American Nouveau,” meaning it’s a cuisine that borrows from several cooking traditions and techniques to create something new and exciting. It is the literal and figurative expression of the American ‘melting pot’ ideal.
The seasonal menu at Tillie’s was shaped by Executive Chef Brandon Martin, a 12-year veteran of the Austin food scene who has worked in the kitchens at Foreign & Domestic, Lenoir, Old Thousand and served as Sous Chef at Odd Duck and Barley Swine.
The food was simply incredible. Everything from the plating to the service to the flavors. It was top notch. We were served a 7-course meal along with wine and a champagne toast with dessert. It was a dining experience like I’ve never had before.
Some highlights from the evening were their extensive wine selection, which includes their very own, 2015 Camp Lucy wine. The corn butter biscuits with honey butter were PERFECT. They were served warm, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The honey butter isn’t whipped but is much denser. No matter what you order for your entree, you have to start with the biscuits.
If you’re a fan of crudo, their arctic char crudo is a must. It was a perfect mix of sweet and spicy. It had complex flavors, like pickled apricot, crisp shallot, and spiced yogurt. It really showcased the skill of chef Brandon.
My favorite course was the Chinese pork dumplings. Tillie’s is going to start a dim sum brunch on Saturdays! You better believe I’ll be back for that. Brian was impressed by the Wagyu beef, a special kind of beef in which the cows are actually massaged to ensure tenderness.
Finally, Tillie’s has homemade corn tortillas! In my opinion, in Texas, homemade tortillas are a must. This really stepped up their carnitas tostada for me. We ended the night with a beautiful sweet potato custard.
If you’re in Austin and feel the need to ‘get away from it all’ for a weekend, I highly recommend a weekend at Camp Lucy. Between their incredible accommodations minutes from Austin, pool with swim up bar and outdoor pizza oven, large fire pits, beautiful hill country views, and now a high-class restaurant, Camp Lucy is truly a luxury resort experience. I cannot wait to return.
Thank you for inviting us out to preview Tillie’s, Camp Lucy! We wish you the best on October 1st!