Thirty-year-old Larry McGuire, Austin’s most prolific high-quality restaurateur, sits down to lunch at his newest restaurant, Josephine House in the capital’s central Clarksville neighborhood. With impeccably clean hands, he straightens his Rag & Bone shawl collar cardigan before placing a crisp napkin into his lap. Josephine House opened last month, and its dining room, with white-washed wood-paneled walls and marble counters, is already packed with neighbors and food aficionados.
If McGuire is anxious about his restaurant’s reception, he doesn’t show it. He glances occasionally at a waiter delivering fresh salads—red grapefruit, orange, and avocado in one hand; roasted pears with Texas honey in the other—and at the eager diners. But after opening six restaurants in six years, he wholeheartedly trusts his enterprise, McGuire Moorman Hospitality, now a $25-million-dollar company with more than 400 employees.
McGuire has wanted to work in the food industry since he was a teen growing up in Austin’s Travis Heights. “He was determined,” says Lou Lambert, chef and author of Big Ranch, Big City. “At sixteen he walked into Liberty Pie, [Lambert’s first restaurant], and said, ‘I want a job. I want to cook.’”