Many in search of sparkle peer over jewelry and makeup counters. But there is an enchanting place in Austin offering more fulfillment than shiny objects sold in department stores. Like the crimson baby grand piano tucked in the corner, it’s one-of-a-kind. Welcome to Chez Zee American Bistro.
Prepare to Be Enlightened
The pathway to Chez Zee’s entrance unfurls like a secret garden. The anticipation of discovering what lies ahead is similar to the beginning of a classic novel. You’re quickly swept into the journey, yet dread knowing it will end. Alice in Wonderland may come to mind as you meander through a lush covered garden, lined with colorful lawn chairs with chandeliers dangling overhead.
Once you waltz through the doorway, you’ll find more enchantment. Illumination streams from Christmas lights of all shapes and colors. They adorn the ceilings, walls, windows and the occasional column year-round. The lights cast a warm glow over honey-hued tables and, most importantly, every individual. Under the wood-beamed ceilings of Chez Zee, everything and everyone sparkles, by design.
Owner Sharon Watkins
Sharon Watkins has an admirable confession. The main focus of Chez Zee isn’t food, although it’s something they do quite well. Since Chez Zee opened the doors in 1989, Watkins’ vision has been greater than satisfying hunger pains. She desires to offer an alluring backdrop to a pleasurable, but often overlooked, pastime: living in the moment.
Behind twinkling blue eyes and a sincere smile is a woman who exudes compassion. The bistro is an extension of its owner. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Watkins, know you’re in her presence if you’re dining among her twinkling lights.
Her love for the humanities can be admired through artwork on walls, and her passion for theatre glistens through shimmering lights and vibrant colors that soothe and invigorate. Most evenings, music from the crimson baby grand piano drifts overhead.
The value Watkins places on individuals can be seen through a room full of smiles and contentment. The combination of art, theater, music and a satisfied clientele sets a lovely theatrical stage for another Chez Zee pastime: dining.
Nourishing Stomachs and Souls
Unlike Alice in Wonderland, the sparkle and whimsy of Chez Zee isn’t a figment of the imagination. Like the animated brown rabbit that almost goes unnoticed on the bistro’s signage, gazing upward from your table you’ll find recessed lights in a pale shade of pink, providing a delicate ambiance and rosy blush to anyone under their realm.
Tables aren’t merely for placing your coffee cup and Crème Brûlée French Toast. Watkins knows intangible elements are more meaningful than a plate of Chicken Beignets and Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffed Chicken. As tasty and filling as the menu is, each and every table becomes a private stage where lives unfold: proposals made, hearts broken, confessions disclosed, anniversaries celebrated, babies rejoiced and acquaintances bloomed into friendship.
A multitude of events transpire under the magical allure of Chez Zee. Watkin’s hope has always been to offer nourishment for the soul by providing a comfortable, eloquent and memorable backdrop for the joys and follies along life’s highway. The fact Chez Zee offers sustenance for the belly is icing on the Lemon Rosemary Cake (which happens to be a best seller).
Grace is lovingly sprinkled throughout Chez Zee American Bistro, filling a space more relevant than stomachs: hearts. Sharon Watkins and her bistro can’t be replicated. And in the wake of delicate strands of twinkling lights, you realize that you too are one-of-a-kind. The incredible story you feared might end is only a chapter succeeded by future visits.
5406 Balcones Drive – Website
@judymerhar wants to know:
What do you remember most about your last visit to Chez Zee American Bistro?