The Grille at Rough Hollow

Lakeway restaurant offers fine dining in relaxed atmosphere

There are not many restaurants where beach-bums eat at a table next to executives.

Then again, there are not many restaurants like The Grille at Rough Hollow that combine fine dining with a casually elegant atmosphere. Since owners Scott Steves, Haythem Dawlett and Tim Hendon opened the restaurant in the Rough Hollow development in 2009, The Grille has found a niche selling high-end steaks, seafood and sandwiches in a laid-back environment.

"When you walk into high-end steakhouses, you can feel a little uncomfortable," Executive Chef Casey Simmons said. "You can come here in your board shorts and still get the fine steak as you can downtown."

The restaurant, located just off a marina and miles away from a major intersection, has to go out of its way with high-quality food, attentive service and a great view of Lake Travis to bring in customers, General Manager Colleen Needham said.

"Our goal is to get people to consider this one of their top five restaurants they go to on a regular basis," she said.

Serving a mix of clientele

The Grille's menu ranges from filet mignon or beef Wellington to a fried oyster po'boy. The restaurant uses fresh, seasonal ingredients such as certified Angus beef and fresh Gulf snapper and crab.

The restaurant's soups and sauces are made from scratch. Simmons, who has worked in and helped lead several other fine dining Texas steak and seafood restaurants, said he enjoys the mix of people who eat at the restaurant.

"That's what's great about this place, you can come in right off the boat or come in your three-piece suit," he said.

Special events

Needham said she has been focused on holding special events at the restaurant to bring in more customers.

The restaurant is considering having a movie night again this winter in which families can enjoy a holiday film on the fireplace-equipped back patio. The restaurant also participated in a fall festival in October, is planning a monthly wine and dinner event, and is consistently changing the happy hour menu.

"It takes a while to get out here, so if you're going to make it a destination, I like to give people a little something more to do than just come out and dine," Needham said.

Needham and her staff will work with customers interested in celebrating a special occasion, she said. Date nights, family get-togethers and birthday parties often take place in the restaurant, she said.

Needham said she prides the restaurant on its customer service and enjoys making a person's event as memorable as possible.

"We will go out of the way for our customers," she said.

Happy hour

From 4–7 p.m. daily, The Grille at Rough Hollow has a happy hour with discounted drinks and appetizers.

Twelve appetizers are offered at half price, including tuna sliders, a plate of mussels and chicken wings. The happy hour has $4 glasses of wine and well drinks, and $3 beer.

General Manager Colleen Needham said the happy hour is part of an effort to bring a variety of people to the restaurant.

"We are trying to come up with ways or reasons for people to come out here," she said.

Popular dishes

  • Coq au vin: Featuring slowly braised chicken in white wine and mirepoix in the French tradition, the dish is served with mushroom bread pudding. $18.
  • Chilean sea bass: The sea bass is potato-wrapped, pan-seared, served with garlic spinach and cherry tomatoes, and finished with a creamy tomato basil sauce. $32
  • The stuffed burger: Stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese and topped with a sweet onion marmalade, the stuffed burger is served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado and fries. $15

The Grille at Rough Hollow, 103 Yacht Club Cove, Lakeway, 261-3444,