Sammie’s gives Austin the quintessential Italian-American fare she’s long dreamed of
As a native Austinite and most notable restaurateur, Larry McGuire always has an eye on what’s to come. And for years, what he considered the city’s most glaring culinary deficiency was the type of old-fashioned Italian-American red sauce dishes he loved to frequent on both coasts – places like Dan Tana’s in LA and Emilio’s Ballato in New York’s Little Italy. But how do you recreate the magic of places with decades of history, timeless family recipes, and the kind of vintage charm devoid of kitsch? For that, he knew he just needed the right space. Patience paid off for McGuire when Hut’s Hamburgers decided not to renew his lease in 2019, and the Joseph family – the longtime owners of the famous West Sixth Street art deco building – presented him with an invaluable opportunity. Now those red-checkered floors and original Roosevelt-era booths are complemented by wall-to-wall wood panels and the kind of fare that demands a napkin tucked into your collar: clam casino, vongole linguine, and meatballs. wagyu sprayed with a large ladle of marinara. “It’s a cold martini type of place in a red bottle,” says McGuire.
How to talk about red sauce
Small snacks or side dishes that are very similar to Spanish tapas.
A spicy sauce used on pasta or seafood. Translates to “brother devil”.
Sauce with meat (aka ragu).
A toast which means “for your health”. Tradition says to sip before putting down your glass.