Salado aldermen gave final approval to an Economic Development Agreement package for the long-term redevelopment of Stagecoach Inn property.
Clark Lyda, principal of Stagecoach 1943, LLP, has signed the documents after final changes were approved by the board of aldermen July 7 and has sent the originals to the Village, according to City Administrator Kim Foutz.
The changes to the agreements include the timelines that push back the completion of Phase I (restaurant and conference center) and Phase II (motel property). At the time the original agreements were made last summer, Village of Salado leaders and developers in the area were told that the highway would be completely finished in Spring 2016, a year behind the original deadline.
Other changes to the agreements ask for an unqualified letter of support from the Village concerning two things: deed for the water tower on College Hill that provides water to Stagecoach Inn and support in securing a license through the Texas Department of Transportation for full design and landscaping control of the Main Street right-of-way adjacent to the premises. This is similar to the license the owner obtained from TXDOT on another development through the assistance of the City of Georgetown.
With the signing of the agreements and approval by the Board of Aldermen tonight, it appears that the Stagecoach Inn restaurant will reopen no later than Spring 2017.
Work will begin soon on the 1861 building that opened as the Shady Villa Hotel. The second story balcony of the old hotel is storied to have been the location of an anti-secession speech by Sam Houston. According to the Texana book “Texas Siftings,” Houston reportedly had an exchange with a fiery secessionist from the crowd who shouted at him, “General Sam, we can whip them Yankees with cornstalks!”
“That may be true, but they have not agreed to fight with cornstalks,” Houston retorted.
This is just one of the many stories that has kept travelers from around the state enrapt about the Stagecoach Inn.
That historic charm is part of what led Austin developer Clark Lyda to purchase the property and will continue to be a focus in the branding of the Stagecoach Inn as a destination for travelers.
Dion and Ruth Van Bibber opened the restaurant in 1943 and it quickly became a renowned highway restaurant featured in Life magazine, Ford Times and on the prestigious Duncan Hines list. It was named by Texas Highways Readers as a Readers Favorite restaurant in Texas.
The distinctive menu, recited from memory by waitresses who had worked decades at the restaurant, included the famous hush puppies, tomato aspic, banana fritter and, of course, the Strawberry Kiss.
When the restaurant reopens, you can expect many of those favorites to stay the same.
But there will be some exciting changes to the restaurant, which will be under the operation of La Corsha Hospitality.
The team, according to Lyda, has “a clear understanding of the Stagecoach’s history, the strength of the brand and people’s affection for it, and the potential of the place to once again draw locals and visitors from across Texas.”
Jeff Trigger and David Bull are the principals of La Corsha. They have experience in the hospitality industry from operating the iconic Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas to the restoration of the Driskill Hotel in Austin.
Bull graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1994. He joined The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Texas and became the youngest-ever sous chef employed by the hotel. Moving to Austin, he served as the executive chef of the Driskill Grill, earning the Austin American-Statesman’s Number One Restaurant Award for three consecutive years. The Driskill Grill was recognized by USA Today as one of the country’s Top 50 Hotel Restaurants. Food and Wine Magazine honored Chef Bull as one of “The Best New Chefs 2003.” Bull has been nominated three times for the prestigious James Beard award for “Best New Chef Southwest.”
La Corsha operates Congress Austin, a tri-leveled dining and drinking establishment that includes the popular Second Bar + Kitchen, Bar Congress and Restaurant Congress.
The group recently opened the three-leveled Boiler 9 Grill at the Seaholm development in Southwest Austin this summer.
Lyda has been involved in many developments in the central Texas area, including Monument Cafe and El Monumento restaurants in nearby Georgetown.
He was also the owner of the 2,000 acres on which Del Webb built Sun City Georgetown.