They may be a few weeks behind their intended opening schedule, but McGuire Moorman Hospitality ended up with some good timing. The prolific restaurant group will open Neighborhood Sushi at 1716 S. Congress Ave. on Thursday, which just happens to be International Sushi Day (whatever that is).
The restaurant, which will initially serve dinner only at its sushi bar and dining room, which McGuire says will be seated at about 50% capacity. Along with the group’s two partners, MMH corporate chef Jedd Adair oversees all of the organization's culinary operations, and the kitchen at Neighborhood Sushi will be led by executive sushi chef and longtime Kenichi veteran Jorge Garcia.
In addition to nigiri and rolls, Neighborhood Sushi will serve soups, salads, tempura and small plates like house-made silken tofu and grilled Texas Wagyu. Chef Garcia will also serve a daily omakase available at the sushi bar, and the restaurant will feature happy hour food and beverage specials daily from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
The casual sushi restaurant marks the 15th Austin restaurant in 15 years from the hospitality group led by McGuire and Tom Moorman, and it returns McGuire, a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Restaurateur in the country, to his roots. The restaurateur who grew up in Travis Heights started his cooking career at the age of 16 working for his eventual mentor Lou Lambert at the chef’s Liberty Pie and Liberty Catering and later at Lambert’s. The building later saw several iterations of various restaurants, including the Woodland; Little Barrel and Brown; and Auguste and Marcel.
"That space holds a really special place in my heart," McGuire says of the building built in 1934. "It’s where I learned to cook and became part of this creative thing that’s happening on South Congress."
McGuire, who says his company is still figuring out what works and what doesn’t at the various restaurants in his portfolio as reopening strictures are loosened by the state, recognizes the challenges of opening in such uncertain times, but ne and his team are trying to remain optimistic.
"You just don’t know what’s going to happen with the second wave or shutdowns in the future," McGuire told the American-Statesman this week. "It’s very stressful times to be doing this, but you try to be optimistic and give it a go, that’s the nature of our business."
Neighborhood Sushi will be open 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Reservations are accepted but not required.