Founded and operated by Chef Tim Love, Lonesome Dove is a fine dining Western flagship with an urban twist. Pinpointed on the corner of 5th and Colorado within the Warehouse District of Austin; guests are welcomed by an open space adorned with chandeliers, studded leather, soft suede, candle lights, black steel, pinewood and taxidermy animals. High above the hardwood floors, the ceilings are lofty with industrial rafters. Antlers are detected in mass abundance. The bar particularly emphasizes the antlers and they’re arranged in such a way it almost looks like barbwire made of bones. Scents of fresh genuine leather filter the room with a natural musk, adding to the rustic and familiar aromas of wood-fire cooking in Texas. Even Lonesome Dove’s logo looks like a cattle brand with the silhouette of a dove nesting between the initials of the restaurant: LD. Sterling silver utensils and cutlery are also engraved with stars, longhorns, horseshoes and other symbols that portray the Western and pioneering themes of times past.
Opening its doors to Austin this summer, Lonesome Dove’s original location is further up north in The Stockyards of Fort Worth. Totaling seven culinary operations that span the Lone Star State, Chef Love also maintains five other restaurants and a catering business. In regard to Lonesome Dove Austin, while the owner, Chef Love, is seen from time-to-time at this establishment: Josh Neises is the Chef de Cuisine. These two chefs and their staff members have brought a refreshing and remarkable form of cuisine to Austin that every local or tourist should explore. Lonesome Dove’s menu is so extensive and rich in flavors that carnivorous guests would find great difficulty to ever grow tired of the food. (There are of course vegetarian options available, too.) According to the website, “Chef has designed a menu influenced by all of the ingredients and cultures that have been a part of the West since the first adventure began on the Goodnight-Loving and Chisholm Trails — with an added level of modern sophistication.”
The name of this restaurant chain derives from the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel “Lonesome Dove” written by Larry McMurtry. The writer of this accredited novel is also from Texas, so it is most befitting that the state capital finally harbors and hosts this delightful culinary gem. Frankly the location of Lonesome Dove Austin is particularly interesting because of a building looming in the distance: The Frost Bank Tower. Frost Bank Tower is notorious for its architecture and there’s also a myth amongst locals that it was designed to look like a gigantic owl with enormous eyes glowing day or night. Therefore, to see Lonesome Dove and the Frost Bank Tower perched right behind its skyline is a picturesque addition to the artistic appeal of downtown Austin.
Without a doubt, Lonesome Dove has literally brought its game to the city. Various forms of meat can be found on the menu, entailing the following: Rattlesnake, rabbit, duck, kangaroo, elk, quail, wild boar, lamb, lobster, steaks, hamachi and more. Their lunch, dinner, dessert and drink menus are intricate and charismatic, just like McMurty’s novel. And the specialty cocktails are made with a loving bite of alcohol. Furthermore, everyday the Wild Game Fattine changes on the menu. These small, exclusive dishes can be found on the menu right above the first course plates. These daily-prepared meats are “a selection of cuts spit-roasted over open mesquite fire” and they are made with herbs, fruits and spices.
“I truly believe that Austin is one of the greatest cities in the country. The music, the architecture, the culture, and of course, the food, is out of this world. Austin feels like the perfect home for my style of cooking and opening a restaurant here has been a big dream of mine for a long time. I’m incredibly proud to be here alongside all the talented and creative chefs in the city and am excited to officially call Austin my second home.”
— Chef Tim Love
For more information regarding Lonesome Dove Austin or Chef Tim Love, please visit www.lonesomedoveaustin.com. To make a dinner reservation, call (512) 271-2474.
Note: This article was originally published on in August 2015.