Sustainability, quality of food become focus for longtime Austin Mexican restaurant

From left: Ahmad Modoni, Jennifer McNevin and her husband, Greg Koury, own Manuelu2019s Mexican Restaurant in Great Hills.

From left: Ahmad Modoni, Jennifer McNevin and her husband, Greg Koury, own Manuelu2019s Mexican Restaurant in Great Hills.

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Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant
Image description
Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant
Image description
Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant
Image description
Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant
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
512-345-1042
www.manuels.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
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By Amy Denney

Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area.


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