PaperCity Magazine

March 2018- Houston

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Page 91 of 115

FAYETTEVILLE RISING H alfway between Houston and Austin off Highway 71, the sign to Fayetteville a u s p i c i o u s l y appears. A number of travelers are heeding its siren call. In fact, it's a Renaissance time for this small town, 14 miles and a 180-degree cultural shift from Round Top, led by the redux last summer of a beautiful historic hotel, which joins an important contemporary gallery, an annual chamber music festival and art walk, and a series of restored farmhouses, cottages, and Victorians turned into lodgings. Fayetteville is considered one of Southern Texas' most beautiful small towns; life, shopping, art, music, and dining revolve around the pristine town square and its 1880 white clapboard courthouse, which is simple and almost puritan in its elegance. The recently restored Grand Fayette Hotel has become the social center of a town of 250 people. Credit for the hotel redux — and for much of the Fayetteville revival — goes to Joan and Jerry Herring, who have joined with friends Mary and Evan Quiros to make their latest and most ambitious venture possible. The Herrings are the dynamic, yet surprisingly laid-back ambassadors for the new Fayetteville. He retired from his 40-year- old business in Houston, Herring Design, whose corporate clients include such global brands as Schlumberger. They brought a property, Blackbird Farm, and moved permanently to Fayetteville in 2009. Soon they met the Quiroses, one of South Texas' wealthiest families, who had come to Fayetteville in 2006 after Evan retired from his family's ranch and sold his title company in Laredo. In 2014, Joan and Mary purchased Market Street Inn together under the brand Walking Women Ventures (as the two became pals after brisk early- morning strolls throughout the town). But the bigger deal was the Grand Fayette venture, when the husbands stepped in as business partners. Formerly the Country Place Hotel, a lodging staple in the area since the 1970s, it was pleasant and quaint, given to Victoriana and quilts, and owned by longtime proprietors Maryann and Clovis Heimsath. Within 10 weeks of taking the keys to the hotel, a sensitive transformation of the turn-of-the-century mercantile structure had been wrought, while its first moniker, Zapp Building, engraved in its brick keystone, was carefully preserved. The big reveal was timed to last fall's antique shows. White butcher paper covered the windows until the Grand Fayette was open for business. For Mary, the highlight was "the grand- opening party with over 400 people from Fayette County and beyond, coming to see for themselves what we had done to the hotel." T he two-story Grand has 10 charming guestrooms, but the heart of the hotel is the light-filled first-floor dining room, where chef George Valtasaros and his wife, culinary partner chef Kathy Valtasaros, preside over The Wine Bar, The Unexpected — and Extraordinary — Rise of this Small Texas Town That's Poised to Became a Cultural Touchstone SINGLEHANDEDLY, CHEFS KATHY AND GEORGE VALTASAROS HAVE FORGED A CONVIVIAL, WELL- REGARDED DINING DESTINATION IN FAYETTEVILLE — ONE THAT DRAWS COMERS FROM ROUND TOP AND ENVIRONS, AS WELL AS FROM HOUSTON. The Zapp Building, 1900, has morphed a century later into the Grand Fayette Hotel. Jerry and Joan Herring, and Mary Quiros Chefs George and Kathy Valtasaros preside over The 90 (continued on page 92)

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