Statesman: Austin’s Newest Restaurant Set to Open Mid-January – Food & Beverage Magazine

The Statesman, an American supper club and cocktail lounge located in downtown Austin, is set to open its doors on Friday, January 19 with limited reservations and dinner service. Inspired by the Heroic Age of our country’s founders and the spirit of Texas’ own impresarios, the concept aims to be a refuge that transcends the mere act of dining – a place where customers quickly become regulars, and regulars become friends. The Statesman is located at 710 West Sixth Street.


The concept will offer an eclectic elegance, providing Austin with a haven to share experiences, forge new alliances and share memorable meals while imbibing on a sophisticated cocktail and enjoying delectable fare from renowned Executive Chef Dan Kennedy.


THE CHEF: The kitchen at The Statesman is helmed by Executive Chef Dan Kennedy, an esteemed veteran chef who’s worked alongside culinary titans as their protege. Kennedy comes to The Statesman ready to share expertise garnered working with celebrity chefs and in Michelin-starred kitchens such as Ludo Lefebvre at Trois Mec, Justin Bogle at Avance, Bryan Voltaggio at Volt, Aaron Silverman at Little Pearl, with Top Chef winners Michael Voltaggio at Ink and Kevin Sbraga at Sbraga. Of The Statesman menu he says, “What excites me most is taking an array of dishes that are familiar classics, and elevating them to another level by way of product sourcing, execution, technique and presentation. Our menu is one that is very approachable to guests who want to come in several times a week for a great meal but also elevated enough for celebratory dinners and special occasions.”


THE INTERIOR & SCENE: Inside The Statesman, a luxe setting is created with vintage fixtures,wood paneling, and a circumference of plush brown leather booths wrapped around a beautiful brass center bar. On the wall is a custom 20 ft piece by world-famous artist Michael Kalish and guests will be delighted by a “Press for Champagne” button. Tucked in the back is the “Lobby Pit,” a private dining experience featuring tufted booths that can accommodate up to 40 guests. The Lobby Pit has large-screen televisions and is a perfect intimate room for birthday parties, sports watch parties, corporate meetings and more. A 30-seat outdoor patio, with plenty of fans for the summer months, promises to maintain a comfortable and airy feel all year round, transporting guests from Sixth Street on the other side of the wall, where The Statesman will offer valet parking.


Like its namesake, behind The Statesman’s sophisticated appearance lies a rebellious spirit for fun. As evening turns into night, the dining room will transition to a cocktail lounge as DJs spin tunes that create the ambience, while maintaining an appropriate lounge volume.


THE FOOD: The menu, an eloquent manifestation of the establishment’s theme, has an array of dishes influenced by the traditional American Supper Club that evoke both nostalgia and innovation, including: cold appetizers like seafood towers, caesar salad and tuna tartare; hot appetizers including crab cakes and elevated fried mozzarella; house-made pasta dishes like cacio e pepe and tagliatelle with roasted mushrooms; proteins including a chicken dish with preparation of chicken parm of the thigh and a roasted breast with chicken jus, and whole red snapper with classic sauce meuniere; and ribeyes and filets locally sourced from 44 Farms. For The Table offerings include Parker House Rolls with garlic/chili butter, Hasselback potatoes, and pimento mac and cheese, all crafted by Executive Chef Dan Kennedy.


THE DRINKS: The signature cocktail menu at The Statesman was crafted by longtime Austin-based barman Bill Norris, founder of 3rd Generation Hospitality and formerly of FINO, Midnight Cowboy and more. It celebrates the art of mixology, often taking traditional libations and adding a twist, such as with the Tequila Old Fashioned, with a splash of cinnamon; the Business Class, which is an upgraded Paper Plane; and the S.S. Margarita that’s slightly sweet and spicy with a hint of ghost pepper. Each cocktail is designed to delight the senses and ignite conversations.


THE TEAM: Owner Craig Ley worked his way up from the back of the house in the hospitality business. He can truly say he has worked in every aspect of the business from washing dishes to management. He took the experience and opened his first restaurant, Rock & Reilly’s on West Hollywood’s Famed Sunset Strip, in 2011. Rock & Reilly’s was named “Most Popular Irish Pub in America ” by Huffington Post. After growing the brand into seven units in five years, Ley had an opportunity to sell the brand to Robert Earl, founder of Planet Hollywood and Bucco di Beppo. Ley, founder of Eat, Drink, Live (EDL) Restaurant Group, has now turned his focus into opening The Statesman in his hometown of Austin. He is involved in every facet of the daily activities including business development, marketing, and maintaining a daily goal of elevating restaurant operations. He prides himself on turning guests into regulars, then regulars into friends.

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The Statesman will initially operate from 4:30pm to late, seven days a week. In early 2024, The Statesman will introduce brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays. Reserve your table beginning January 19 at, and follow The Statesman on Instagram at @statesmanatx.