10 Questions: Laura Young

As general manager of Maximo, she sets the tone. Her touch lends a sense of calm beauty and easy elegance--the stuff that helps make certain guests have a positive experience.

Young learned to handle the front of a house from one of the best, handling maitre d' chores for Tristan Simon at Sense, Candleroom and Cuba Libre. Before that, she managed Carson's (in its Carson's Palace days) for five years. She started in restaurants on San Antonio's Riverwalk and the bars along Austin's 6th Street.

So she knows crowds. After 21 years in the service industry, though, Young still struggles to find a good pair of shoes...


1. Which is better, managing a bar or a restaurant? Neither, really. I like the business in general, so to me it's really about the people. Bar or restaurant--it doesn't matter to me.

2. But at which do you deal with more interesting situations? That's a no-brainer. In restaurants the crowds are a little more tame. At bars you get to see people in different lights.

3. Are crowds different outside the 635 loop? I would say they are different. But I also see a lot of faces from Uptown and the Knox-Henderson area here. I think people get around more than they admit.

4. What's it like starting a new restaurant? It's an interesting experience. It is probably the most fun anyone can have. That's when you can really be creative.

5. Do you get to eat all the guacamole you want? I try not to. I started down that path, but...And this is the best guacamole I've ever had.

6. Is it too tempting to have the Galleria right next door? You know what? It's like the best thing, sometimes. I can run out, buy a pair of shoes. Given the hours we work, you gotta have something close by.

7. What's your favorite store? I'm a big fan of Z Gallery: the casual, eclectic furniture, candles--the girly stuff. And it's conveniently close to Starbucks.

8. How about shoes? Can you find fashion and comfort? It comes down to finding comfort and fashion in the flooring you use. There's no fashionable shoe that can stand up to cobblestones outside and our work inside. Carson's was huge--try running around 3,000 square feet in stilletos. You get numb and you get accustomed to it.

9. When people in the service industry go out, do they tip better than the rest of us? Of course. The tip average is a little closer to 30 or 40 percent, but it comes back around. But once you know a lot of people--not just in the service industry, but around the city--it makes it a challenge to go out. People recognize you. You have to find places that are not so obvious.

10. So if you had a day off, you would...? Be outside--and not be in a building, anything with air conditioning or running water. That's been a challenge the last three months.