If walls could speak, the stone edifice that today houses Austin Pizza Garden would likely have an abundance of stories to tell.
Designated a historic landmark in 1970 by the State Historical Survey Committee, the “old rock store,” located just east of the Y in Oak Hill, was built in 1898 under the supervision of Texas Ranger James A. Patton, who used it as a general store.
Since then the building, owned by Patton’s great-grandson James White, owner of the Broken Spoke, has rotated through myriad owners and businesses, including a steakhouse, a masonic lodge and an art gallery, before becoming home to Austin Pizza Garden in 1994.
Today the business’s owners are Ken Hatten and Kelly Peterson, who purchased the restaurant in January 2016 and promptly carried out a slew of renovations.
“When we took over the restaurant, it needed a lot done,” Hatten said. “We replaced all of the lights, remodeled the inside, redid the bar and added taps, built the entire back patio and added a playscape.”
The Austin Pizza Garden menu features items such as pizzas, salads, antipastis, sandwiches, as well as beer and wine.[/caption]
The menu, which features thin and crispy pizzas as well as sandwiches, salads and more, remained mostly the same, Hatten said, but it was revamped to include fresh, high-quality ingredients, a standard he said he instituted while running South Lamar’s Tex-Mex staple Matt’s El Rancho for 12 1/2 years.
“I am not a believer in anything bagged,” he said. “I like to have all fresh ingredients.”
In line with the restaurant’s slogan of “Carbe Diem,” Austin Pizza Garden also offers a selection of beers from its 13-tap draft system.
Besides Miller Light and Shiner Bock, Hatten said all of the draft beers are produced by local breweries, such as Thirsty Planet Brewing Co. and St. Elmo Brewing Co.
“Breweries in Austin are coming out of the woodwork, so we try to not only support them but they help to support us as well,” Hatten said.
Hatten has plans to further enhance the business by introducing more menu items, building an outside bar and hosting live music.
“We’ve grown the business a significant amount, so we hope to continue on the path we’ve been on,” he said.
Austin Pizza Garden
6266 W. Hwy. 290, Austin
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.