New Lake Travis eatery to open this summer

Lake Travis residents will soon have a new restaurant at the site of the former Shades Cafe, 16410 Stewart Road, Austin. Shades Cafe closed in summer 2013.

The Sundancer Grill will open in June at the Sail & Ski Yacht Club on Lake Travis and feature salads, burgers and sandwiches, said co-owner Pete Clark, who heads up Cafe Blue restaurant and Just for Fun watercraft rentals. He said he partnered with Cafe Blue Executive Chef Ben Nathan and Sail & Ski Inc. co-owners Doug Malone, Rod Malone and Buzz Watkins for the new venture.

"Our main focus will be on food quality," Watkins said. "We will be open year round and appeal to the neighborhoods in the area. We'll give South Lake Travis residents a great place to eat that just happens to have a view of the lake."

Despite the lower lake levels, there is still a demand for waterside eateries in the area, Clark said.

"[As the owner of a boat rental business] I understand the low lake level situation intimately," he said.

Clark said the grill site has good boat access, is close to Lakeway's residential developments and, with seating for about 150 to 200 diners, is small enough to manage. He said former restaurant, Carlos'n Charlie's, closed last year because boat access to the site became problematic with the lower lake levels and its large size required more diners for the eatery to stay afloat.

However, Clark is hopeful that, with the Sundancer Grill opening, he will be well-positioned once the drought is over.

"There's probably something to be said about being there when the lake comes back," he said. "So, [opening Sundancer] is a strategic decision."


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