By Alex Redgrave

Published on June 21, 2016

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Photography by NICOLE FRANZEN

photography by   NICOLE FRANZEN
written by   ALEX REDGRAVE

What happens when some of Austin’s best and brightest throw a summer party by the lake? The team at McGuire Moorman Hospitality, a Texan lifestyle group known for creating atmosphere- rich restaurants, head out of the city to take the plunge (rope swing, included).

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“WE’RE NOW A DIVERSE GROUP OF CRAZY TALENTED PEOPLE THAT BRING SO MUCH TO THE TABLE.”— RYAN SMITH

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RYAN SMITH Creative Director oversees all those vibey, photo-worthy details – from designing custom uniforms to curating catchy playlists.

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TOM MOORMAN Managing Partner worked at top restaurants in New York and Montreal before returning to his native Texas to join McGuire and launch an empire.

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JUNE RODIL Beverage Director curates the cocktail and wine programs, including the list at the newly opened June’s wine bar named after her on South Congress Avenue.

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KRISTEN COLE ByGeorge Creative Director  sources a fashion-forward mix of emerging and established designers for ByGeorge.

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LARRY MCGUIRE CEO is a true tastemaker, with six successful restaurants (and more on the horizon) – as well as ByGeorge, the group’s chic lifestyle store.

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STEVE WERTHEIMER Partner owns several Austin music institutions, including The Continental Club and C-Boy’s Heart & Soul.

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JETT BUTLER Partner is in charge of brand vision (think: frameable menus and Instagram-friendly color combos).

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Coveted swag from their restaurants

“WE WERE PLAYING HOOKY from work on a Wednesday after- noon,” says visionary and empire-builder Larry McGuire of his team taking off early to head out of Austin for a lakeside picnic. The hospitality group knows a thing or two about entertaining: As the masterminds behind several of the Texas capital’s top restaurants—which run the gamut from a buzzing Vietnamese café to an upscale BBQ joint—they approach each project with an expertly trained eye. McGuire likens this to building a movie set, layering on details—vintage silverware, original artwork—that give a place real character over time. “Our locations definitely set the tone,” says creative director Ryan Smith. For the lakeside shindig, where managing partner and chef Tom Moorman has a house, the team fired up a custom grill, brought out the lawn games, and sipped a spiced-up version of a Paloma topped with Topo Chico fizzy water. Ingredients were raided from the fridges of various restaurants and transformed into a colorful spread that was just light enough for everyone to take a post-picnic dip.

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3 WAYS TO SPICE UP A SUMMER PARTY

by LARRY MCGUIRE

  1. Add an element of surprise.

     We like to one-up ourselves and try something new and outlandish each time— whether it’s making martini carts out of red wagons that cruise around, or having donkeys with satchels of beer in the backyard. It’s also fun to cook during the party rather than serve prepared food. The smoke and fire of the BBQ keep things interesting.

  2. Get your game on.

     With kids around, games are a great activity. At our company parties there’s always stuff to do. We put up a badminton net in the parking lot of Josephine House, and there is ping pong, corn hole, and a bunch of lawn games at the lake house.

  3. Set up outdoors. 

    Nature is an important component for any summer party. In Texas, people have lake houses and ranches so you can walk around barefoot and get away from the city (and work). It’s so hot here you just need to be near or in the water! My idea of a perfect party is one where you’re wearing a bathing suit the entire time.

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THE PALOMA

Makes 1 Cocktail

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1½ oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • splash of Topo Chico, or other brand of sparkling
  • mineral waterpinch of sea salt

Fill a double rocks glass (or single, if you prefer) with ice. Next, add all the ingredients and some ice into a shaker, shake vigorously, and strain into the glass. Top off with sparkling mineral water and a small pinch of sea salt. Garnish with a slice of fresh lime.

“WE’RE CALLING IT: PALOMAS OVER MARGARITAS.”—LARRY MCGUIRE

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LITTLE GEM LETTUCE & CITRUS SALAD

Serves 8

  • 10 heads Little Gem lettuce
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra to toast the nuts
  • 1 tsp hazelnut oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp chopped tarragon
  • ½ tsp chopped parsley
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Warm your oven to 350°F. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and lightly coat with olive oil and a little salt. Roast until golden brown (about 8 minutes), making sure to shake, and rotate the pan half-way through. Remove the nuts from the oven and let cool. Then, gently crush the nuts with the back of a knife.

While the nuts are roasting, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, lemon juice, sugar, and a little salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive and hazelnut oils with a fork. Check the seasoning and set aside.

Remove the leaves from the core of the lettuce heads and place in a large mixing bowl. Cut the peel off the oranges and slice into ¼-inch half moons. Combine with the lettuce. Add the shallot, half the feta, half the hazelnuts, and half the herbs. Season with salt and pepper, and toss with the dressing—careful not to overdress! Transfer the salad to a serving platter or bowl, then garnish with the remaining feta, nuts, and herbs.

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“We laugh a lot and don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says Ryan Smith.

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SUMMER PARTY PLAYLIST

by RYAN SMITH

  1. Kevin Morby “Singing Saw”

    This 7-minute groove of a song has choir singers, meandering, twangy guitar, cool organ, and theremin sounds… The honesty and closeness in his voice is one I haven’t heard since Bill Callahan. Pour yourself a whiskey, find a cozy patio chair, and relax!

  2. Sheer Mag “Can’t Stop Fighting”

    This lady rock band has killer riffs, and great pop sensibilities. Beach party vibes for sure!

  3. A.K. Paul “Landcruisin’”

    Because folks want to slowdance with each other—this is the song! A.K. and his brother Jai are onto a new kind of sexy song.

  4. Bombino “Timidiwa”

    If you love reggae, here’s a fun “world music” alternative. This dude’s a Tuareg guitar player from Niger with amazing rock and blues tendencies. Great stuff!

  5. Woods “Creature Comfort”

    Backyard grill party jam right here! The production on their records has gone from lo-fi garage to super clean, with touches of jazzy reggae. I love the singer’s high-pitched voice, and the band caters to it so well on this track. A song that is all smiles, and high-fives on a sunny day.