In the old days, when roads didnt exist and there were no cafés or buildings where one could meet another, there was that landmark, that big rock or river bend, a cliff or famous hilltop or that tree.
Click for larger picture of our patio area
Photographer, Dustin Downing
Tree House Italian Grill hosts one of Austins oldest and largest live oaks.
During 1970s, a wonderful lady named Margaret Hoffman, "The Tree Lady, while serving as a City Council member, headed a committee to study the age and varieties of Austins trees. According to Margaret, this live oak is estimated to be over 700 years old.
It is located on a summit that was called "The Gateway to Austin". When coming from the south, the land at this point slants north, east and west. Given the setting, the Live Oak was certainly a festive gathering spot. It is easy to imagine the Indians pow wows. Chisholm Trail ran by the Live Oak, which was an enticing spot to travelers. Cowboys camped around this tree and freshened up before soaring down to town. In the 30s with the invention of the automobile transformed the spot into a gas station. During 1950s, a restaurant chain called The Pig Stand built their finest unit on this popular location, creating a very futuristic concept inspired by The Jetsons. This carhop, unlike the boxy canopy of others, was crowned with the Rock N Roll canopy.
Since then a number of restaurants have been serving Austinites from this building such as Lazy-Daisy and Aldos.
In 1998, in an effort to rejuvenate South Congress Avenue, we started a massive project and demolished 100% of the interior and installed new plumbing, new electrical units, and drew a more suitable design for such a unique structure, creating an idyllic Old World look.
Austin is known for its many great artists and we would like to be a part of this culture. In doing so however we asked one of Austins most gifted artists (Michael Peschka) to create an easy, comfortable and eye pleasing interior. He takes us on a Venetian tour in a Gondola. In an aerial visit, he lets us view a Sicilian village. His paint brush gives us Vigneto Di Oro with its hand painted ceiling tiles; Creates our very own Café Il Magnifico and so much more. His choice of colors whether it be in paint or fabric is simply brilliant in capturing that Old World look.
The Live Oak was previously surrounded with asphalt and served as a parking lot, which has been transformed into a beautiful garden complete with shrubs and flowers, brick walkways, trellis and gazebo.
WHY TREE HOUSE?
Once upon a time when the cities did not extend forever and at the edge of town you would find the creeks running and birds singing, three young boys built a little tree house in a huge tree and shared a lot of good times together. It was a place to tell their stories, talk about their plans or just sit there and listen to the birds sing. It was a special place where time magically resolved all.
Times passed by and the boys grew up. Maybe their town was not as small or the tree as big and the creeks as wide as they remember them but, the magic was defiantly real.
Indeed to them the tree house was the threshold between reality and fantasy. It may be the size of The Live Oak or the antiquity of the surroundings, or perhaps the karma here has inspired the name "Tree House".
This having been said, combined with a comfortable Italian cuisine is our way of sharing this wealth of tradition and knowledge with all patrons who thrive for such environment.
This picture would only be complete when we have our friends here to share it with.
Tree House Italian Grill. Where good memories are made, excellent food and superb wines are served. Come see us! On Live Oak and South Congress.