As part-owner and chief operating officer of the locally-grown restaurant Z’Tejas, Robert Nethercut searched for a place near Austin to open a new location.

The first Z’Tejas opened in an old house on West Sixth Street in Austin in 1989. Since then, it has expanded to North Austin, Arizona and most recently, Kyle.

“Kyle has tons of folks moving here every day, and [there is] the fact that a lot of the folks who are moving here are folks who lived down in Austin [and] loved our brand,” Nethercut said.

What they offer

Z’Tejas puts a twist on Tex-Mex with a “Southern flair.” The restaurant’s original owners were from Texas, Louisiana and Arizona, respectively. Nethercut said the eclectic flavors of each state are reflected in the menu.

“We really stay true to our roots,” he said. “We have several dishes that are on the menu that have been there for 35 years. When we talk about the three original owners and the original chef, he created a lot of dishes that were from the three different regions.”

The menu features items such as Southwest-inspired chicken fried steak, blackened catfish tacos with sesame ginger sauce and Louisiana-inspired catfish beignets, a customer favorite. The drink menu also offers a variety of margaritas, cocktails, beer and wine.

Staying local

Nethercut, who was born and raised in Austin, said supporting the local community while staying true to its more than 30-year-old roots is a big part of the Z’Tejas brand.

On the side of the building is a mural dedicated to the history of Kyle. Likewise, inside the restaurant hangs a mural that used to be outside of the original Z’Tejas on West Sixth Street, which closed last year.

“It's our belief that if you're going to be successful, anywhere you go, you've got to support the community, and they'll support you back,” Nethercut said.

“Tejas” is the Native American term for “friends,” and Nethercut said he wants that to stand out to customers who spend time at Z’Tejas.

“We can't recreate the nostalgia and the charm of a 100-year-old little house, but I think we've done a great job providing a beautiful environment for folks where they can still experience the great food,” Nethercut said. “That's truly what it's about is just offering that great place where friends can come together and have a good time and create memories together.”