McGuire Moorman Lambert, arguably Austin’s most prolific and identifiable restaurant group, drew inspiration for its latest venture from seasonal coastal cuisine and the timeless vibes of Northern California eateries like Zuni Café and Chez Panisse. .
In a phone conversation with the American statesman this week, MML co-founder Larry McGuire called these spots “those inspiring places that have become the institutions we’re still trying to build in Austin.” .
The local restaurant group plans to open Pecan Square Café (pecansquarecafe.com) on Mondays at 1200B W. Sixth St. in the Clarksville area. The neighborhood restaurant resides in the renovated building behind the MML Clark’s property which has been home to Café Josie for over 20 years.
“It’s kind of always driven by the building. That’s where we start,” McGuire said of his team’s approach to restaurant concepts.
With the old building, the MML team envisioned a casual, residential-style space with a stone patio, bar room, and vaulted dining room that overlooks a wide-open kitchen centered by a wood-burning grill. The restaurant has design touches that speak to both mid-century Northern California Sea Ranch aesthetics and the American Southwest, with custom artwork by up-and-coming Texas artists.
“We always try to provide that big city feel and some classic touches. It doesn’t seem new. The food isn’t new, the space doesn’t feel new,” McGuire said of her attempt to recreate the kind of timeless restaurants you find on the coasts.
He added, “It feels like it’s grounded. We’re always trying to provide new experiences in Austin that feel sophisticated and get you carried away, I guess.”
True to this Northern California and Texas inspiration, Executive Chef Chelsea Fadda’s market-focused menu, a veteran of MML Swedish Hill’s bakery-restaurant and Dai Due, will blend Mediterranean-influenced cuisine with familiar flavors. to Austinites.
Lunch and dinner diners can expect timeless dishes like grandma’s pate, roast chicken, homemade pasta, pizza, pork cutlets, burger and little gems and chicory salad , with a drinks program including coastal wines from around the world and simple cocktails. .
“Above all, I think we are opening a neighborhood restaurant. The size of the Pecan Square Café and its location across the street in Clarksville – we think it’s the right restaurant for the neighborhood,” McGuire said. “It’s kind of like the cafe we want to go to on Wednesday night: super laid back, white tablecloth, neighborhood, old school vibe.”
In addition to its neighbor on the grounds, Clark’s, the Pecan Square Café joins part of the West Sixth and Blanco street area that includes Swedish Hill and will soon be home to both a neighborhood bar and a hotel group wine bar.
Parking on the lot is limited to the Pecan Square complex, although evening diners can use the Swedish Hill lot, and nearby streets in Clarksville have no residential parking restrictions. McGuire said MML may eventually institute valet parking for their collection of nearby businesses.
The Pecan Square Café will be open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.