What’s new is old. What’s old is new.
Kerby Lane Cafe redux
Kerby Lane Cafe in San Antonio.
I got real excited. I was, at one time or another, semi-regular at the old Kerby on S. Lamar, and then, last spring? The new Kerby in the old airport while cleaning up after family.
It’s not technically a diner or a dive, with each store there was a definite vibe, and each location all had roots in old Austin. Metastasized with growth, but like the vestigial tail, the roots are still visible, and Kerby Lane Cafe was an Austin-only place.
Keep Austin weird?
How will that translate, outside of Austin?
So excited there’s a new, largely unmarked Kerby Lane Cafe between a car dispensary and a Velvet Taco, close to the confluence of Loop 1604 and I-10. Coincidentally, around the corner from the Bass Pro Shop, and my monthly hotel ballroom gig.
All sort of depends. With certain culinary adventure items, like BBQ, I tend to trust the leftover rule. Kerby Lane Cafe in San Antonio has passed that rule, now. Strange way to do this, but half a sandwich left with us on Monday afternoon, and I had it for lunch, Tuesday afternoon, in Austin at the shop.
The rules, my guidelines for diners? 24-hour service, counter with stools, usually affixed, for sitting at and drinking coffee, surly, kind-hearted staff, and dependable diner food, which means breakfast at all times. While Kerby is a little fancy, one location was 24-hour, at one time, pre-pandemic and each one is still dependable for breakfast food, at all hours.
Kerby always got bonus points for locally-sourced, long before that was a trend.
The new Kerby Lane Cafe in San Antonio? I read about it online, and at first, there was no signage — at all. Good move. “Don’t yelp us, help us!” Additional temporary signage, “Training in progress.”
“Everything is 50% off the menu price.”
It’s almost fiscally irresponsible not to eat there.
Kerby Lane San Antonio
Besides it is as great as some of the Austin locations, and a welcome player to the local culinary arts. I just hope they can keep it rolling.
Low-key “bloggy-style” marketing? Deserves a separate entry, and perhaps, an analysis as a way to engineer word-of-mouth publicity. With online forums and rating reviews being the current trend, yelp (and beyond)? A soft launch with no signage, just online whispers? Then half-price food, everyone being trained? Plus that dependable culinary extravagance that sets Kerby Lane Cafe apart? Looks like that old Austin “aggressively casual” style, but there’s a careful buzz-building going on. Me? I have fond memories, and the new place in San Antonio is good. The PR is organic and locally grown, like the food. That PR might be greenhouse-grown, but that buzz is local.
Kerby Lane San Antonio
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