Local hospitality giants McGuire Moorman Lambert (MML) will now formally offer catering this fall after taking over Word of Mouth Catering, as reported by the Austin-American Statesman. The group will be opening a commercial kitchen at 5002 Burleson Road for to-go catering fare and will close its bakery, Swedish Hill, at the beginning of next year.
MML will take over Word of Mouth Catering, which closed its last bakery in March, and rebrand it Word of Mouth Fine Catering. The catering service will now offer some favorite dishes from MML’s restaurants as well as decorated cakes and branded service items like the martini cart from Jeffrey’s. Word of Mouth Fine Catering also offers a to-go menu. MML has promised to retain all of Word of Mouth’s employees.
In a press release, co-owner Larry McGuire said, “Growing up in Austin, Word of Mouth was always one of the prestigious brands that we looked up to and now have the honor to preserve, like Jeffrey’s and Swedish Hill.” (Before the MML facelift in 2019, Swedish Hill was Sweetish Hill, and fancy steakhouse Jeffrey’s was MML’s first revamp project back in 2013.)
Furthermore, the group announced that Swedish Hill will temporarily close early next year to make way for an MML hotel and a mixed-use development called Sixth and Blanco. Swedish Hill will reopen once that new building is finished, but the process will likely take several years. In the meantime, Swedish Hill will operate as a to-go deli in a smaller space on West Sixth.
Word of Mouth was started by Rebecca Wallace Ford in the 1980s, and joined forces with most recent owner Leslie Moore in 1990. The pair sold the company in 2001 and Moore bought it back in 2008 and opened two bakeries, but ultimately closed them due to difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic and his own move to retirement.
Moore is also MML’s landlord, as he owns the Elizabeth Street Cafe building and the commercial kitchen space at Burleson Road that MML will rent for its catering business. Moore also owns a wedding venue in Kyle, the Winfield Inn,
MML co-founder Larry McGuire has roots in the catering business: His first culinary job was at Liberty Catering, which was owned by former Word of Mouth chef Lou Lambert (the namesake of MML barbecue spot Lambert’s).
Word of Mouth Fine Catering will be open for pre-ordered to-go pickups Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Catering discussions are by appointment only.