Commercial n Design
El Monumento By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Ryann Ford
Sitting in the lush courtyard of El Monumento, I forget for a moment where I am.
rammed earth wall frames one side of the intimate space while windowed and brick walls form the other borders, trapping a cool and peaceful vibe beneath the shady canopy of a towering huisache. Overhead misters make the sweltering evening pleasant while gushing water in the courtyard’s 40-foot linear fountain drowns out the buzz of outside traffic. Flavors of flame-roasted poblanos linger on my palate as my eyes are lured toward the copious mound of shrimp and crab overflowing from the campechana cocktail placed on the table. There is a symphony of lovely senses at play, and I’m finding it difficult to process the fact that it’s occurring a stone’s throw from Interstate 35 in downtown Georgetown rather than in a cozy restaurant nestled deep in the heart of Mexico. But it seems that was the point –– El Monumento, which means “the monument” in Spanish, was designed to recreate the feel of the haciendas found on remote ranches of South Texas and Mexico. Natural, sustainable materials make up the restaurant’s structure; its landscaping utilizes plants native to rural South 52
Urban Home Austin – San Antonio
Texas and Mexico; and its food is simple, authentic and fresh. Everything on the menu is made from scratch using very few ingredients, either grown on site or sourced from local farms. “We wanted to have a farm to table restaurant with an interior Mexican theme reminiscent of a hacienda –– and we try to evoke that from the moment you enter the parking lot,” says Clark Lyda, co-owner. A stabilized decomposed granite parking lot fringed by honeysuckle, huisache, rosemary, roses and native herbs greets guests with fragrant scents. Passing through the walkway carved from the rammed earth wall creates a solid separation between the inside and outside. From there, you enter another world –– one rooted in simple, traditional forms and rustic comforts. “You feel like you are entering into somebody’s residence –– coming out of the country and into a civilized place,” Lyda says. “It is really about decompressing and forgetting you are in an urban place at all. You are in the middle of Georgetown, but it’s an oasis in the middle of the city.” urbanhomemagazine.com