Opening date announced for Sammie's, a new Italian spot in the old Hut's Hamburgers
Austin's newest old school Italian restaurant is opening this week in the former home of one of the city's most iconic old school restaurants.
Sammie's, the red-sauce Italian restaurant from the McGuire Moorman Hospitality restaurant group, will open on Tuesday at 807 W. Sixth St., which for more than 40 years housed Hut's Hamburgers. Next door was Favorite Liquor Store, which has been transformed into Favorite Pizza, which will open "in coming weeks," according to the restaurant group.
Sammie's is a restaurant inspired by the famed West Hollywood spot Dan Tana's, according to Austin360 restaurant writer Matthew Odam, who first reported when the concept was announced in 2019.
The name is a nod to the restaurant's first iteration as a burger drive-in that Sammie Joseph opened in 1939. Sammie's has a central dining room that overlooks Shoal Creek, as well as a private dining room and a wraparound patio area.
Right next to Sammie's is Favorite Pizza, housed in the old Favorite Liquor Shop next door. Both restaurants have kept many of the design details from both spaces while updating the menu for modern diners' palates.
The opening was delayed about six months because of the coronavirus pandemic, but this week, doors officially open with a menu that includes chef-driven takes on mozzarella sticks, linguine with clams, chicken and eggplant Parmigiana, and specialty dishes such as Clams Casino and Caesar Salad a la Tommy. Italian wines and beers are on the menu, as well as a full bar with cocktails.
Favorite Pizza will have whole pizzas and pizza by the slice, subs, salads, gelatos, beer, wine and frozen cocktails. Customers can order food for take-out or dine-in, and Favorite will be open for late-night window service.
"My family and I have known Larry (McGuire) for years, and my nephews attended Austin High with him. We are so impressed with what Larry and Tom (Moorman) have built over the years. When Mike (Hutchison, the most recent owner of Hut’s Hamburgers) announced he was ready to retire, my nephews immediately wanted to talk to MMH about doing something special with our family’s property on West 6th. We were thrilled at what the MMH team envisioned," Philip Joseph, son of Sammie Joseph Sr., said in a news release.
McGuire Moorman Hospitality owns 15 restaurant concepts in Austin, including Perla’s, Clark's Oyster Bar and Neighborhood Sushi on South Congress, which opened just before the pandemic began.
The history of the building is rich. Here's an overview according to the restaurant group: "In 1939, the art deco building opened as Sammie’s Drive-In, a curbside restaurant offering fried chicken, burgers and beer. Fifteen years and two dining room expansions later, Sammie’s became Eli’s Lounge, a drinkers’ bar with a darkly lit dance floor, frequented by the desk editors at the American-Statesman. In 1969, Homer 'Hut' Hutson leased the space and moved his popular burger joint, Hut’s Hamburgers, from a shack on South Congress to this iconic space. Hut’s changed hands a few times over the years but remained a local favorite until Hut’s closed up shop for good in 2019. The Joseph Family opened Favorite Package Store in the corner location in 1939 and operated it continuously for 80 years until closing in 2019."