Hutto restaurant and bar offers a local dining alternative
Neon signs and televisions cover the walls of The Downtown Hall of Fame restaurant and bar in Hutto. Eclectic tunes fill the venue, which offers a collection of live music, sports entertainment and creatively composed drinks and food in a family-friendly setting.
Judi Smith and her husband, Sean, opened The Downtown Hall of Fame in December two years after moving to Hutto. Owning a restaurant and bar with her husband was a longtime dream, she said, and securing financing and the location in Hutto's downtown district was serendipitous.
"We moved out here, and this happened by accident," she said. "It was one of those things where we had the background and the knowledge but not necessarily the money to start something. Somehow we got a loan, and it worked out. We got really lucky."
The Smiths each have a background in the restaurant and bar industry. Judi Smith, who previously booked musicians and bands to perform at Junior's Grill and Icehouse in Round Rock, said it was only natural to bring the bar and live music scene to Hutto.
"We wanted to give people in Hutto an opportunity to go downtown without having to drive into Round Rock, Georgetown or Austin," she said. "It's a small town. There are only a few places to go."
With that in mind, the Smiths set out to reverse many locals' impressions that the eatery has age restrictions because it sells alcohol. While The Downtown Hall of Fame serves a variety of specially designed cocktails, mixed drinks and draft beers, Smith said the restaurant has an all-ages atmosphere, and children eat free on Mondays.
"We did a lot of chalkboard signs outside that said "family friendly," and just over the last few weeks or so we have started to notice we get a lot more lunch and dinners with families," she said. "After 9 [p.m.], we still get people coming out for drinks, and that's a lot of fun, too."
The menu is a combination of traditional bar food and entrees created and prepared by Sean Smith, with menu items such as the Buffalo Bird Quesadilla and Pulled Pork Baked Potato.
"It's homestyle pub grub with an uptown twist," he said.
Sean Smith said building a creative but approachable menu was a challenge, especially because the condensed commercial kitchen is without a deep fryer or grill. All of the hot dishes must be prepared in an oven.
But employees from neighboring businesses have taken notice of Sean Smith's food ingenuity. Rob Fristsche, cook at The Texan Cafe, said he enjoys frequenting The Downtown Hall of Fame after work for a bite to eat and a cold drink.
"I have cooked all over the country, and I've seen a lot of great places. But one of the things I love about the menu here is the unique touches Sean puts on to each and every thing," Fristsche said. "It makes for a very interesting menu, and it's fun to come over here and try it."
Owner Sean Smith designed a specific section of menu called "The Man-U" for extra-hungry diners. It features oversized sandwiches and pub grub. Any patron who can finish a Man-U item in 20 minutes or less can be featured on the restaurant's wall of fame.
The Fat Daddy has piles of brisket, chopped beef, pickle, onion, cheddar jack cheese and special sauce between three slices of Texas toast ($14.49).
The J.O.B. offers two slices of Texas toast loaded with three Angus beef franks, chili, cheddar, bacon and jalapeo ($11.99).
The Ring of Fire features spicy barbecue pork, lime cilantro and onion ($12.99).
The Jalapeo Cream Chicken includes a baked, boneless chicken breast topped with homemade jalapeo cream sauce, tomato, lime, cilantro and onion ($10.99).
The Texas Reuben sandwich features pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, onion, and homemade Russian dressing on Texas toast ($7.49).
The Superstuffed Pork Potato is a baked potato loaded with barbecue pork, cheddar jack cheese, butter, sour cream and chives ($8.49).
The Downtown Hall of Fame, 205 East St., Hutto, 642-3624, www.thedowntownhalloffame.com
- Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–midnight
- Sat. 11 a.m.–1 a.m.