Austin American-Statesman travel writer Helen Anders talks about Commerce Street in Sunday’s column. She starts out by describing Jack’s Backyard as "emblematic of what Commerce Street is doing these days: renewing itself by recycling itself." Perhaps Anders gravitated to the restaurant because of what many Cliffites think: that Jack’s Backyard has an Austin-esque vibe (though I was called out for saying so when we first posted about Jack’s, so I guess that’s a matter of opinion).
Anders does compare the vibe of Jack’s neighbor, the Belmont Hotel, as "similar to that of Austin’s San Jose … apt, because it’s now under Austinite Liz Lambert’s Bunkhouse Management umbrella." Lambert (who also owns and designed the popular and new Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin) will be at the Belmont sometime over the next three to four weeks to revamp Bar Belmont with a "laid-back Moroccan, very Bohemian" style, Belmont Hotel manager Susan Alarcon told me last week. The new decor will include built-in benches all along the patio, and tables down the middle that you can rearrange with the benches to make your own space.
Lambert also has been given the go-ahead by Belmont Hotel owner Monte Anderson to redesign all 68 guest rooms; we’ll keep you updated on those changes.