A new kind of festival is coming to Central Texas. Fusing culinary art, local musicians and Texas wine, beer and spirits in an elevated atmosphere, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions will host its first-ever Food & Wine Fest from noon-4 p.m. on Nov. 20.

A food and beverage company at heart, Kalahari Resorts in Round Rock, Tex., has seven original-concept restaurants located across the sprawling property: Double Cut Steak House, Sortino’s Italian Kitchen, Redd’s Piano Bar and Lounge, B-Lux Grill & Bar, Cinco Niños, Baobab Social and The Last Bite.

Upon arrival, guests will check-in at the festival’s hub, the outdoor Amatuli Marketplace. Each festival-goer will receive a map to explore the resort, which doubles as a passport to be stamped for each restaurant’s carefully-crafted tasting plate.

“We are hosting the festival at our house. We are the experts in our space, and that’s going to be felt,” said Brandon Wise, Assistant General Manager at Kalahari Resorts. “The things that we’ll be able to execute from the culinary side are going to be so much more elevated than what folks are used to seeing at festivals. [Guests] are going to be interacting directly with the executive chef of each restaurant.”

In addition to flair bartenders, who entertain guests with the manipulation of bar tools, each restaurant will offer a different signature cocktail. To offer patrons a true taste of Texas, Kalahari has partnered with 47 local beverage vendors to provide handpicked wines, beers and spirits across the resort as well.

“The [beverage] folks that are coming, they’re hyper-passionate, they’re local, they’re Texans that are growing their business and have done successfully here,” Wise said. “[Guests] are going to feel the passion and the love behind this.”

With the exception of a few nationwide brands like Red Bull and Patrón, the festival is entirely hyperlocal — showcasing sips from cities like Austin, Fredericksburg, Waco and Dallas. As a keepsake, each guest will receive a wine glass etched with the Kalahari Food & Wine logo and that they can choose to use at tasting stations.

“We wanted to partner with the big guys and help the little guys through this to be seen, because that is so much of what Austin and Texas is,” Wise said. “We went out to Fredericksburg and spent two days out there and hand selected the people that are here. So, we put a lot of work and thought into who is a vendor.”

Foodies who keep up with the celebrity culinary scene can also look forward to trying bites by Michelin Star and Top Chef Alum John Tesar. The Texas native, who owns Knife in Dallas, Outer Reef in Laguna and Knife and Spoon in Orlando, is making more than just a special appearance at the festival.

“He’s going to be here working with our culinary team producing food. He’s going to be there as an acting, working chef. He’s not just walking around; he’s making food for everybody,” Wise said.

There will be no shortage of live entertainment at the festival. Patrons can find music wherever they go, as local musicians will be spread throughout the resort performing a variety of music genres.

“You’re going to find a high-energy atmosphere out at Amatuli. You’re going to find more of a Latin influence down at Cinco [Niños]. You’re going to find a little more house music happening in the lobby. It’s all sorts of different genres,” Wise said.

Kalahari is also partnering with bubly sparkling water for an activation and entertainment space with lawn games and attractions. No matter where guests are in the resort during the festival, a surprise is waiting around the corner.

“We’ve got people roller skating through the lobby. We’ve got a couple of young ladies that are wearing these metal dresses that are full of champagne glasses walking around,” Wise said. “There’s a lot of interaction, so [if guests] want to take a seat and be lowkey they can — but this event is going to be high energy, high interaction everywhere.”

Tickets are $75 and include the tastings from Kalahari’s culinary experts, unlimited sips from the 47 wine, beer and spirit vendors, live music throughout the resort and the souvenir wine glass. Below, see our list of everything to try during the festival.

Double Cut Steak House and Bourbon Bar

Wine and bourbon lovers should be sure to check out the many winery and distillery vendors based at this contemporary steak house during the Food & Wine Fest.

Eat: Grilled, house-aged certified Angus ribeye with truffle potatoes confit and mushroom sauce made with hand-selected Balcones Whisky out of Waco

Drink: Signature smoked old fashioned

Sortino’s Italian Kitchen

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions founders Todd and Shari Nelson began their entrepreneurial journey with a pizza pub in Wisconsin Dells. Today, Sortino’s pizza is made with the same flour, cheese and sauce recipes that the Nelson family has used since 1979.

Eat: Hand-rolled potato gnocchi with lamb and mushroom ragù

Redd’s Piano Bar and Lounge

At this live entertainment venue, expect to be wowed by flair bartenders and a drink that comes with a wad of cotton candy on top.

Drink: Cotton candy cocktail made with Effen Black Cherry Vodka, fresh juice and pink cotton candy

B-Lux Grill & Bar

Using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, B-Lux Grill & Bar is a must-try. Normally a burger and shake joint, Wise said chefs will be showing off their culinary skills on festival day with a Vietnamese dish.

Eat: Duck Banh Mi Vietnamese baguette sandwiches

Drink: Dragon berry mojitos

Cinco Niños

Named after the Nelsons’ five adult children, Cinco Niños is a Tex-Mex restaurant with a modern Mexican and tequila bar. While trying each of their street tacos, patrons will enjoy live music by musicians with a Latin influence.

Eat: Carnitas, barbacoa and steak street tacos with Mexican street corn

Drink: Margaritas

Baobab Social

Each design element in Kalahari Resorts Texas draws inspiration from African culture, wildlife and nature — and Baobab Social is no exception. Take a trip to the other side of the world at its bar, which is centered around a sculpture of the African Baobob tree, and the outdoor dining area.

Drink: Inside, flair bartenders will be serving up espresso martinis. Outside, festival-goers can roast marshmallows on the firepit at an interactive make-your-own s’mores martini station.

The Last Bite

Sweet tooth? The Last Bite is a candy and dessert shop specializing in hand-dipped chocolate, caramel apples, homemade fudge and ice cream. During the festival, several chocolate-carved sculptures will be filled with grab-and-go treats made by Kalahari Resort Texas’ executive pastry chef.

Eat: Walnut bonbons, pecan butter crunch bars, dulce de leche truffles, house-made nougat, chocolate espresso bonbons, candy crack, chocolate pecan cake and honey lavender macarons.

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