Sundancer Grill chef and co-owner Ben Nathan credits his Boston roots for being able to put together a unique seafood menu. However, his ability to quote exactly how full Lake Travis is at any given time is a testament to his love for the Lakeway area.
“You can’t recreate it,” Nathan said of Sundancer’s lakeside location. “It’s unique and special to us.”
Although the water level at the lake has lingered around 677 feet so far in 2016, he said the water level was 50 feet lower when he and co-owner Pete Clark opened the restaurant in July 2014.
Business slowly picked up as customers realized the restaurant was offering a chef-driven, made-from-scratch menu, Nathan said.
In May 2015 the area saw record-breaking rainfall, and Lake Travis filled to its highest point in four years, he said. The restaurant’s business rose along with the water level, he said.
“We saw a huge boom [in patrons],” Nathan said. “The [business] increased by four times.”
In the past year, Sundancer has earned a reputation as a Lake Travis bistro with a Caribbean flair, he said. Customers can sit at the bar with a margarita, have a burger on the patio after a day on the water or treat themselves to a steak or seafood entree—accompanied by an unobstructed view of the lake, he said.
“It’s really turned into a local neighborhood place,” Nathan said. “We’ve just been blessed.”
He said he prides himself in being able to offer high-quality, casual food in an environment where everyone is welcome—even diners in swimsuits.
Sundancer offers burgers, baskets of fried gulf shrimp and other local comfort foods, with everything made in-house, Nathan said. Fish is locally sourced from Austin Seafood, the catfish is hand-breaded and the burgers are hand-formed, he said.
“It’s very different from what people expect from a lakeside restaurant,” Nathan said.
Diners also have entree options such as the Jamaican Spiced Half Jerk Chicken ($14.95), which is cooked over a rotisserie in-house and served with a sweet guava barbecue glaze, he said.
“You have to try the crab hush puppies,” Nathan said of the restaurant’s appetizer option.
Sundancer also offers conch fritters ($11.95), a Caribbean delicacy that Nathan said is hard to find in the Southwest U.S.
Sundancer Grill co-owners Ben Nathan and Pete Clark began working together in 2011 at Cafe Blue, an eclectic Caribbean and seafood restaurant located in the Hill Country Galleria.
Nathan said he and Clark built a strong team at Cafe Blue and wanted a new challenge.
Many of the Cafe Blue staff members also work at Sundancer Grill, he said. Rodrigo Bravo makes bread and desserts for both restaurants in-house, including the Loading Brownie a la Mode ($7.95) with walnuts, chocolate chips, marshmallows and caramel sauce.
- Sunday: Brunch from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
includes Crab Hush Puppy Benedict and French toast stuffed with bananas, cream cheese and chocolate chips.
- Monday: A child’s entree is free with the purchase of an adult entree.
- Tuesday: Patrons can receive one free burger with the purchase of a burger all day. A new specialty burger is crafted every week.
- Wednesday: All-you-can-eat catfish is available on the menu.
- Thursday: Steak night is available from 5-10 p.m. and includes a 10-ounce Black Angus rib-eye with a baked potato and side salad ($19.95).
16410 Stewart Road, Lakeway
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-10 p.m.