Millions harvested carrots in FarmVille, the Black Eyes Peas turned up every wedding reception, and belts grew in inverse proportion to scarves. Few touchstones from 2009 had staying power. By providing a quiet respite from the rowdy River Walk, Zocca Cuisine D’Italia managed to outlast them all. Still, we can’t begrudge the long-running restaurant for getting a little work done.
After a meticulous renovation, the Westin Riverwalk has unveiled the revamp of its signature restaurant and bar. Dallas-based design firm Waldrop + Nichols drew inspiration from San Antonio and Italy to create a warm, neutral palette accented with metallic flashes and rich textures.
The team opened the space to include a sumptuous lounge outfitted with overstuffed alcove banquettes and chunky contemporary seating. Earth-toned abstract frescos and glistening parabola fixtures lend brio to the otherwise minimalist space.
Naturally, the interior took advantage of the River Walk views just beyond the walls. Retractable windows catch the breeze and allow patio guests a peep into the restaurant.
Not resting on its laurels, the Westin Riverwalk also recently appointed executive chef Ron Mays to reinvigorate the menus. While firmly rooted in Italian cuisine, Mays brings a playful approach to dishes like ossobuco di Agnello, shrimp and polenta, and a tiramisu affogato.
“The opportunity to breathe new life into an iconic establishment such as Zocca is an absolute honor,” said Mays via a release. “I am excited to share a palatable, yet approachable menu made for everyday dining with an elevated experience attached.”
The cocktail menu fits in the same mold. White Lotus habitués will surely find succor in the two Negronis or a tropical take on the Aperol spritz. Guests who have wondered what those imposingly tall bottles of Galliano are used for should check out brunch. A fern bar mainstay, the Harvey Wallbanger, is reinvented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Zocca is now open daily from 6:30 am-10pm on weekdays and 7 am-10 pm on weekends. Bar hours are 11 am-midnight daily. Guests will be serenaded with live music during Sunday brunch from noon-3 pm and Thursday nights 5-6 pm.
“Zocca has an established reputation for creating authentic dishes with a relaxed al fresco Italy-like atmosphere conducive for socializing, relaxing, and connecting,” said Maria Martinez, general manager of the Westin Riverwalk, in a statement. “We’re pleased to revive the vision and spirit of the restaurant, a true River Walk staple, and we’re proud to share this concept with our hotel guests and locals alike.”