Photo by Traci Rodriguez
Co-owner recalls his business partner’s humble legacy
Sometimes a recipe takes 20 years to perfect, and the baby back ribs at Hemingway Bar and Grill are no exception.
The ribs are among several specialties from co-owner Vernon O’Rourke, who died May 20 after a long battle with cancer. Duke Correa seeks to maintain his business partner’s legacy, which includes nearly 10 years running Bubba’s Ice House in Cedar Park.
“He has integrity, character, and he places a great value on his reputation,” Correa said. “He earned it honestly and humbly.”
The duo met while working at a northwest Austin restaurant where O’Rourke hired Correa four years ago.
“Vernon interviewed me, and we had an instant rapport,” Correa said.
O’Rourke later suggested he and Correa go into business together. Cedar Park was always the first choice for the new venue, Correa said, and after two years, they found their spot at 500 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 170, next to the new Cedar Park City Hall complex.
“Vernon could barely talk he was so excited afterwards,” Correa said. “‘That’s it,’ he said. ‘That’s the one.’”
The 4,800-square-foot restaurant opened in February and features some of O’Rourke’s favorites, including the chicken-fried steak and catfish. The menu also features an extensive number of soups, sandwiches and Texas beef, which is charbroiled over a wood-fired grill.
With a menu that features many staples from O’Rourke’s past restaurants, Correa said he expects many familiar faces to continue frequenting Hemingway Restaurant and Bar in honor of their old friend.
“It’s our intention to be here for as long as we possibly can,” Correa said.
Hemingway Restaurant and Bar, 500 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 170, Cedar Park, 219-6400, www.hemingwayrb.com
- Breakfast: Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–11 a.m.,Sat.–Sun. 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Lunch/dinner: Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.,Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–midnight