Maile Roberts-Loring

By Lauren Smith Ford

In 1967, Maile Roberts-Loring’s dad and grandparents sat down to come up with a list of 54 things they should do together as a family. Opening The Salt Lick was 14 on the list. Forty seven years later, business is still booming and the Salt Lick has become an iconic figure on the BBQ scene. Armed with her MBA from University of Texas, this petite go-getter joined the family business in 2008. To give us a peek into how she entertains at home, Maile opened up her mid-century modern remodel in the rolling hills of West Austin for a Southern-inspired al fresco dinner on her patio with friends…Her family’s classic favorites like corn and pork ribs are on the menu, and this girl knows how to man the grill herself!

photography by chelsea fullerton


Maile Roberts-Loring, takes a break before the party with her beloved dogs, Kina, an Akita, and Louie, a Yorkie. She learned the ropes of the family business as a teenager when she wore many hats, working as a drink girl, hostess and server at the Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas.


Who are your dream dinner party guests? 

Ina Garten and Mary McDonald. 

What is your standard hosting outfit? 

 A dress and flats.


What is your current favorite color palette for parties? 

Black and Gray. It’s classic and it allows you to have fun with the flowers.


What is the taste you are always craving? 

Anything salty!

Who do you most admire as a host or hostess? 

I admire my friend Caroline. She always makes hosting look so effortless no matter how much work she has put into the event.


Maile dices tomatoes for guacamole. Also on the menu? Caesar salad, Salt Lick Chicken and Ribs, Chipotle Shrimp, Seared Corn, Red Tomato Rice and Black Beans and brownies and ice cream.

Get the recipe for Maile’s Pork Ribs.

What is always in your refrigerator? 

Cheese and apples. Cheese because you never know when you are going to have guests over so you should be prepared and apples because I love them. I eat one everyday.  

Guests helped themselves to a Skinny Paloma (Silver Blanco Tequila, Fresca, and a dash of Republic Spirit Blend with lime) before sitting down for dinner.

What has been your most memorable night of entertaining guests? 

 My friend Caroline and I hosted a “Black Tie Breakfast” once for about 20 people. We had every one dress up in black tie and then served breakfast. It was great, and who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?

The Salt Lick’s BBQ Sauce recipe was developed by Maile’s amazing grandmother, who is now 100 years old!

Click here to get Maile’s signature brownie recipe


Find the steps to making Maile’s Brownies here

What are your must have entertaining tools? 

Vintage glassware. I can’t help myself…when I see a cool set of glassware I have to buy it. I love it because it is such a simple way to dress up a table.

What is the entertaining rule you never break? 

I always have flowers in the bathroom. They make everything much prettier. 


What is the most important part of entertaining? 

The guest list! You can’t have a good party without good people. 

What (if anything) scares you about entertaining?

That I will make a horrible dish and no one tells me!

What is your entertaining style in five words or less? 

Classic and Relaxed.

What is the first thing you cut from a party when you can’t “do it all?”

A food dish…because in the end, you will be the only person who knows it didn’t make it to the table. 

The Salt Lick ribs cook for more than two hours in the restaurant’s BBQ pits.

What is your perfect dinner party playlist? 

I always put my husband (pictured) in charge of the playlist. My thought is if I do everything else he can do the playlist. Plus his taste in music is better than mine. 

photography by chelsea fullerton