Downtowner Chuck Smith is a lover of history, a proponent of Texas charm and knows how to create spaces in Austin that keep people coming back. The restaurateur is warm and welcoming, and loves Austin for its “energized people and positive vibes.”
Smith is one of the creative minds behind the Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill, located at 4th and Red River. Architecture and travel are important to Smith, who would rather read a book on urban spaces than watch the Food Network, and loves visiting small coastal communities with his family.
“I’m a big fan of the coast, and small communities that are designed for mingling and a back-to-basics lifestyle,” he said.
But Moonshine, Smith shared, is less about “other things seen,” and is a result of its own history and what it was. A hotbed of trade and commerce in the late 1880s, the mansion that now houses the best brunch in Austin and a “culture of comfort” is what Smith describes as a place that “calls to all.”
Along with cofounder Larry Perdido, Smith wanted to instill that “back-to-basics” vibe, which tells a good story and speaks to the people of Austin. He and his team have managed to do this for 10 years this month at Moonshine.
Smith said giving back to the community is a major reason for his restaurants’ growth and success downtown, where he is known as a generous supporter of many community-driven causes.
“I can’t give a number, but we pretty much say yes to just about every fundraiser that approaches us. It’s important for us to build community in that way, and contribute to those groups.”
For the future of his businesses and Downtown Austin, Smith said he hopes that amid the city’s growth and change people will still “maintain that Texas charm of looking each other in the eye and giving friendly nods as we pass.”
No matter what the future brings for the city, downtowners can be rest assured they’ll find those “positive vibes” at the Moonshine when Smith is around. He said that Austin is a city where people are thriving and succeeding, but we can’t loose the character that makes the city and its people unique. When asked why he loves the restaurant business, Smith said he values the friendships he has made and the people he has been able to bring together, and has even seen employees marry and start families together. “It’s a blessing,” he said.
Claim to Fame: One of the first 3 people to paddleboard in Austin. “People looked at me like I was crazy…I have a custom wooden paddleboard from Talking Fish.”
Favorite Band: U2. “I love their message and what they stand for.”
Favorite Book: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. “This book was that groundwork for me in creating a culture in my business.
Downtown Favorite: Easy Tiger. “I absolutely love what those guys are doing!”