For Jennifer McNevin, her interest in sustainability began after watching the “Food, Inc.” documentary on America’s food industry.

McNevin and her husband, Greg Koury, and their business partner, Ahmad Modoni, own Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant, which has locations downtown and on Jollyville Road in the Great Hills area.

Watching the documentary on how food is produced inspired McNevin to change their business practices, she said. After a year of searching for new food suppliers, Manuel’s now serves wild-caught seafood, all-natural meats free of hormones and antibiotics, non-genetically modified corn chips and other locally sourced products, she said.

“We’re interested in keeping a low carbon footprint,” McNevin said.

Manuel’s also switched to biodegradable to-go containers, recycles and composts food scraps.

The goal of these sustainability efforts, which earned Manuel’s the city’s Austin Green Business Leader designation, is to set an example to other restaurants that they can have sustainable business practices and still be profitable, McNevin said.

“You can put your values into your business,” McNevin said.

The Great Hills outpost of Manuel’s celebrates its 20th anniversary in July, and the downtown location will turn 35 later in October.

Last year’s news about redevelopment plans for the Great Hills Market center drew concern from long-time customers who thought the building would be torn down to pave the way for new apartments.

But McNevin said because Manuel’s owns the building and their ground lease extends for several more years, they are not sure yet how the restaurant will be affected by future redevelopment to add apartments and more retail space.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” McNevin said.

Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant
10201 Jollyville Road, Austin
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.