March 29, 2024

ROUND TOP’S POWER COUPLE: CATHY & STEVEN FRIETSCH

Andy Warhol has his Factory. Cathy and Steven Frietsch have their 550 District.

The glory days for The Factory – which reigned from the1960s to 80s as a Manhattan incubator where artists, celebrities and creatives mingled within a working artist studio that also functioned as a society salon– are long gone. But at Round Top’s multifaceted The 550 District they are just beginning.

It’s easy to think of the Frietsches’ kaleidoscopic compound as the town’s own Warholian hub where art and commerce easily intersect with celebrity and power. As a social hive it is formidable as a Round Top artist magnet is probably unrivaled.

“I’ve always loved fashion, interior design, and anything that is an expression of creative art,” said Cathy Frietsch who with husband Steven have built out their campus at 550 N. Washington to generously indulge the creative arts the couple admire and encourage.

Those artistic threads, so plentiful in Round Top, easily coalesce on the grounds of the rambling 550.

Culinary arts reign within The Stone Cellar Restaurant and its upscale sibling The Jon Perez Lounge. Visual and decorative arts make their happy home within the sweeping spaces of The 550 Market where fashionistas flock to the many boutique retail shops it houses while cocktailians indulge in mixology arts within the building’s sumptuously chic “hidden” bar, the MarkSpeakeasy. Fashion shows, weddings, parties and concerts fill the four vintage walls of the Round Top Dance Hall, a special events space that plays host to the town’s top social shindigs.

While live music has been a familiar component of The StoneCellar, it comes front and center in April when the One Square Mile Music Festival descends on The 550 estate.

The second year of the four-day festival brings popular performers to stages at the Dance Hall and Stone Cellar April 18-21 (tickets, priced from $25 to $375 are available through onesquaremileroundtop.com). While country sounds dominate the weekend, the festival’s bill includes artists who embrace rock, pop, folk blues, soul and gospel. It’s a thoughtfully curated lineup that will make a joyful noise as Round Top rules for four days as the state’s music epicenter.

Dubbed “the best little music fest in Texas,” One SquareMile had its rousing debut in 2023 as yet another avenue for the Frietsches ’multi-disciplinary creative juices. The festival was designed to fill the cavernous Dance Hall and pay homage to the area’s rich musical heritage that spawned similar festivals in the towns of Giddings, New Braunfels and Schulenberg.  

The festival is a perfect addition to the Frietsches’ expansionist leanings that have made the 550 District the town’s buzzy, lively social headquarters. Musicians fit nicely into their worldly collective of artisans, designers, craftspeople, culinarians and antiquarians as well as the astute, sophisticated connoisseurs who appreciate quality.

Cathy Frietsch’s own personal stamp also continues to touchRound Top. Her Rockabilly Baroness fashion boutique has locations in both RoundTop and Houston (the creative and economic pipeline that links the country’s fourth-largest city and a country town of 87 is as familiar to Houstonians as to Round Toppers). And Frietsch pulled out all the stops when she welcomed the luxury fashion house Balmain to her second Round Top Red Carpet Fashion Show held on March 27.

“We hope to fill the hotel and restaurants in Round Top,”Cathy Frietsch said of One Square Mile. But with all that’s happening at the550 District, the Frietsches no doubt will make good on that promise long after the last notes of the festival fade into the night air.

March 29, 2024

ROUND TOP’S POWER COUPLE: CATHY & STEVEN FRIETSCH

Andy Warhol has his Factory. Cathy and Steven Frietsch have their 550 District.

The glory days for The Factory – which reigned from the1960s to 80s as a Manhattan incubator where artists, celebrities and creatives mingled within a working artist studio that also functioned as a society salon– are long gone. But at Round Top’s multifaceted The 550 District they are just beginning.

It’s easy to think of the Frietsches’ kaleidoscopic compound as the town’s own Warholian hub where art and commerce easily intersect with celebrity and power. As a social hive it is formidable as a Round Top artist magnet is probably unrivaled.

“I’ve always loved fashion, interior design, and anything that is an expression of creative art,” said Cathy Frietsch who with husband Steven have built out their campus at 550 N. Washington to generously indulge the creative arts the couple admire and encourage.

Those artistic threads, so plentiful in Round Top, easily coalesce on the grounds of the rambling 550.

Culinary arts reign within The Stone Cellar Restaurant and its upscale sibling The Jon Perez Lounge. Visual and decorative arts make their happy home within the sweeping spaces of The 550 Market where fashionistas flock to the many boutique retail shops it houses while cocktailians indulge in mixology arts within the building’s sumptuously chic “hidden” bar, the MarkSpeakeasy. Fashion shows, weddings, parties and concerts fill the four vintage walls of the Round Top Dance Hall, a special events space that plays host to the town’s top social shindigs.

While live music has been a familiar component of The StoneCellar, it comes front and center in April when the One Square Mile Music Festival descends on The 550 estate.

The second year of the four-day festival brings popular performers to stages at the Dance Hall and Stone Cellar April 18-21 (tickets, priced from $25 to $375 are available through onesquaremileroundtop.com). While country sounds dominate the weekend, the festival’s bill includes artists who embrace rock, pop, folk blues, soul and gospel. It’s a thoughtfully curated lineup that will make a joyful noise as Round Top rules for four days as the state’s music epicenter.

Dubbed “the best little music fest in Texas,” One SquareMile had its rousing debut in 2023 as yet another avenue for the Frietsches ’multi-disciplinary creative juices. The festival was designed to fill the cavernous Dance Hall and pay homage to the area’s rich musical heritage that spawned similar festivals in the towns of Giddings, New Braunfels and Schulenberg.  

The festival is a perfect addition to the Frietsches’ expansionist leanings that have made the 550 District the town’s buzzy, lively social headquarters. Musicians fit nicely into their worldly collective of artisans, designers, craftspeople, culinarians and antiquarians as well as the astute, sophisticated connoisseurs who appreciate quality.

Cathy Frietsch’s own personal stamp also continues to touchRound Top. Her Rockabilly Baroness fashion boutique has locations in both RoundTop and Houston (the creative and economic pipeline that links the country’s fourth-largest city and a country town of 87 is as familiar to Houstonians as to Round Toppers). And Frietsch pulled out all the stops when she welcomed the luxury fashion house Balmain to her second Round Top Red Carpet Fashion Show held on March 27.

“We hope to fill the hotel and restaurants in Round Top,”Cathy Frietsch said of One Square Mile. But with all that’s happening at the550 District, the Frietsches no doubt will make good on that promise long after the last notes of the festival fade into the night air.