Larry McGuire is the man behind six (soon to be seven) of Austin's most talked-about restaurants, all of them unique but with a common thread of sophistication—specifically, a winsome combination of urbane stylishness and Texan joie de vivre. His company, McGuire Moorman Hospitality, which also operates chic fashion retailer ByGeorge (multiple locations; bygeorgeaustin.com) and local trendsetter SBJ Austin, has a restaurant for every palate, from French-Vietnamese at Elizabeth Street Café (1501 S. First St.; 512-291-2881; elizabethstreetcafe.com) to slow-smoked barbeque at Lambert's (401 W. Second St.; 512-494-1500; lambertsaustin.com) to classic American fine dining at Jeffrey's (1204 West Lynn St.; 512-477-5584; jeffreysofaustin.com). In the midst of his busy schedule, he manages to make time for nocturnal swims at the enormous Barton Springs pool, browsing the Contemporary Austin's art and sculpture collection, and, of course, great Mexican food. Visitors would be wise to do the same.
What neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived there? I live in a small pocket just west of downtown called Westenfield and I’ve been here since November. Before this, I was in a great south Austin neighborhood called Travis Heights where I grew up, a few blocks from my mom’s house and across the street from my elementary school.
Where do you put up friends visiting town? We have a guest house next to Jeffrey’s for friends, visiting chefs and industry folks. When it’s booked we do the Hotel San Jose (1316 S. Congress Ave.; 512-444-7322; sanjosehotel.com) or Hotel Saint Cecilia (112 Academy Dr.; 512-852-2400; hotelsaintcecilia.com) if they are fancy friends.
Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? Everyone who visits has to take a dip in Barton Springs and then have margaritas on a patio. The cold waters will keep your body cool for a few hours afterwards in the summer heat (2201 Barton Springs Rd.; 512-867-3080; austintexas.gov).
What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? Besides our restaurants we usually do divey Mexican at Polvos (2004 S. First St.; 512-441-5446; polvosaustin.com).
Where can you find the best cocktails? Beer list? Wine list? I think Josh Loving at Small Victory makes a great cocktail (108 E. 7th St.; smallvictory.bar). Our master somm June Rodil has a pretty good cellar developing at Jeffrey’s, and I go to Deep Eddy Cabaret in my neighborhood for ice cold mugs of cheap beer (2315 Lake Austin Blvd.; 512-472-0961; deepeddycabaret.com).
Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? The sushi at Uchi and Uchiko is as good as anywhere in the country (uchirestaurants.com).
What is your go-to after-hours bar? Continental Club (1315 S. Congress Ave.; 512-441-2444; continentalclub.com) or C-Boys (2008 S. Congress Ave.; 512-215-0023; cboys.com) and the newly re-opened Antone’s for Blues (305 E. Fifth St.; 512-814-0361; antonesnightclub.com).
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? On a ski boat on Lake Austin surfing with pals.
What is your Sunday morning routine in your neighborhood? og around Town Lake, The New York Times, Coffee, Green Juice and Nutella Cinnamon Buns from Josephine House (1601 Waterston Ave.; 512-477-5584; josephineofaustin.com).
Where is the best brunch? The patio at Perla’s (1400 S. Congress Ave.; 512-291-7300; perlasaustin.com).
Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? Cafe Medici in Clarksville does a nice job (1101 West Lynn St.; 512-524-5049; caffemedici.com).
What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? When you drive into town heading north on Mopac from the airport around sunset…as you cross the river, Austin looks like a fresh modern city.
What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? Start on the hike and bike trail from Austin High and do one of the bridge loops depending on your fitness level…you’ll see Austinites of all backgrounds and ages sweating it out.
What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? Chicken Shit Bingo at the Little Longhorn Saloon on Sundays (5434 Burnet Rd.; 512-524-1291; thelittlelonghornsaloon.com), free night swim at Barton Springs, any events by Alamo Draft House [a movie theater/tavern] (multiple locations; drafthouse.com), sculpture gardens at Laguna Gloria (700 Congress Ave.; 512-453-5312; thecontemporaryaustin.org).
What’s your favorite shop or boutique? Besides our ByGeorge shops: Spartan for gifts (215 South Lamar; 512-579-0303; spartan-shop.com), South Congress Books (1608 S. Congress Ave.; 512-916-8882; southcongressbooks.com), Outdoor Voices (606 Blanco St.; 646-681-4454; outdoorvoices.com).
What’s the ultimate souvenir from your town—something you can only get there? Take home a whole brisket from Franklin BBQ (900 E. 11th St.; franklinbarbecue.com).
What’s the best-kept local secret? Deep Eddy Pool, Texas's oldest swimming pool (401 Deep Eddy Ave.; 512-974-6700; austintexas.gov).
In our Hometown Guides series, we're seeking the best restaurants, bars, vistas, and things to do in a given place from the people who know best—the artists, designers, chefs, and store-owners who live there. See more Hometown Guides »