Story by DANIELLE EVERETT

Photos by JULIE NABOURS

Nestled among the trees along the banks of Salado Creek is what some describe as a Central Texas hidden gem, Alexander’s Distillery. The upscale-casual restaurant and cocktail lounge is as rich in ambiance as it is in history. Alexander’s is located on the site of an old 19th century distillery, once owned by William R. Alexander. A flood washed the building away many years ago. Today, a historical marker and a house dating back to the late 1800s stand in place of the old distillery. The house is now home to Alexander’s and the distillery provided the inspiration for the restaurant’s name.

The restaurant has been serving guests since the late 1980s, but only within the past decade, under the ownership of Will Lowery, has it been known as Alexander’s Distillery. Prior to its current menu, the restaurant offered a four-course prix fixe meal presentation for guests. However, Alexander’s reinvented itself last year.

“We’re excited about the changes to Alexander’s décor, menu and to our overall image,” said Colleen Kalinoski, operations manager for Inn on the Creek Properties.

The décor now mixes the modern and the old world. The menu offers the traditional chicken, seafood, lamb and hand-cut steaks, as well as a newly expanded selection of comfort-food dishes like fried shrimp and meatloaf.  

“We want people to feel comfortable joining us whether they’re in T-shirts and shorts or in formal attire, depending on the occasion,” Kalinoski said.

Guests can choose to sit in one of the dining areas inside the restaurant or relax outside on the veranda overlooking the creek. Staff members say the veranda tends to be a favorite spot for guests, as they can listen to the creek waters rush by and admire the occasional deer grazing on the grass. Lights in the trees add a special touch and the wait staff is friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.

Popular menu items include the Chesapeake crab cakes appetizer, Chef Jesse’s meatloaf entrée and the chef’s special vanilla cheesecake for dessert. The restaurant also offers featured entrées every weekend.

“If a featured item gets raves as a crowd pleaser, we add it to the menu after a few weeks,” said Kalinoski.

The man behind the menu, Lead Chef Jesse Stockton, grew up in Killeen and attended culinary school in Austin before coming to Alexander’s.

“He has a lot of modesty, but I’ve seen him try to play with something and come up with the best version of that thing I’ve ever had,” Restaurant Manager Topher White said of Stockton. “He’s just playing, but he creates something four star. It’s amazing.”

Stockton said his grandfather, who cooked for the military for 42 years, inspired his own love of cooking.

Along with the chef’s delicious food, Alexander’s offers signature cocktails, a wine menu designed by the restaurant’s sommelier, draft beer, common favorites and special local brews, too.

The main dining room can seat up to 28 guests and the outdoor veranda and decks can seat up to 30. Alexander’s also offers a private dining space hidden upstairs behind a “secret passage” — a speakeasy-style door disguised as a bookcase.

Alexander’s holds special events throughout the year, such as beer and wine pairings, and even held a murder mystery dinner this year. The restaurant also offers special menus for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day that require an advance order from guests.

Catering services are available for parties, holidays and special events. Kalinoski said the restaurant also offers meals to-go so guests can have their selections packaged to take home.

IF YOU GO...

Location: 602 Center Circle, Salado

Phone: 877-947-5554

Hours: 4 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Dine in or carry out

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