Four years after they staged an "eat in" in hopes of convincing Kerbey Lane Café to open a location in the Mueller area, residents there are about to get their wish.
The beloved Austin chain known for its queso and pancakes, among other menu offerings, said Wednesday that it will open a restaurant in the heart of the Central Austin development in fall 2018. It’ll be Kerbey Lane Café’s eighth location.
The 5,650-square-foot Kerbey Lane Café will be on the ground floor of the $50 million Texas Mutual Insurance Co. headquarters building currently under construction on Aldrich Street between Garcia and Philomena streets.
"Bringing Kerbey Lane Cafe to Mueller is a dream come true for us, as well as the neighborhood," said Kerbey Lane Café CEO Mason Ayer, son of the restaurant’s founders, Patricia Atkinson and David Ayer. "We’re big fans of Mueller’s diverse, sustainable and walkable community and are looking forward to being a part of this dynamic urban village in the heart of Austin."
The Mueller Kerbey Lane Café is expected to be open from 6 a.m. to midnight daily, with room to seat 230 patrons, including at least 30 seats outside. It’ll employ 100 people, boosting the chain’s number of employees to about 700.
Kathy Sokolic, a past president of Mueller’s neighborhood association and one of the organizers of the 2013 "eat in" at the original Kerbey Lane Café, said residents are "thrilled" by the news. It’s the latest example, she said, of master developer Catellus, the firm overseeing the transformation of the city’s former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport into a dense mixed-use project, listening to the wants and needs of people who live and work at Mueller.
"During the beginning phases of development, Catellus always asked us what we wanted," Sokolic said. "We wanted the best of Austin and everything local. The top two responses were always Alamo Drafthouse and Kerbey Lane, iconic Austin staples. Having these Austin staples next to the amazing newcomers means Mueller is succeeding at fulfilling intended goals of providing wanted and needed amenities on the eastside."
Alamo Drafthouse’s Mueller location opened its doors earlier this year. Other local businesses Catellus has lured to the 700-acre project include Halcyon, J.T. Youngblood’s and Lick Honest Ice Creams.
"Kerbey Lane is quintessential Austin, and we’re proud to welcome them," Catellus executive vice president Greg Weaver said. "Kerbey Lane is an ideal addition to the local vibe we’re establishing at Aldrich Street. I know the restaurant will be a huge draw for Mueller, simply based on how often we’ve heard from people who work, live and visit Mueller about how much they want Kerbey’s famous queso or pancakes here."
When Texas Mutual decided to consolidate its two Austin offices into a single location, president and CEO Rich Gergasko said the insurer looked at multiple locations but kept coming back to Mueller. When the four-story, 270,000-square-foot building opens next year, it will be home to about 650 workers.
About 20,000 square feet of space on the ground floor of the Texas Mutual building has been set aside for retailers and restaurants, including Kerbey Lane Café.
"Texas Mutual has a long history of supporting local companies," Gergasko said. "With its focus on fresh, homemade, quality food and commitment to the community, Kerbey Lane Café was a natural fit as we considered neighbors for our new home in Mueller. Our employees are very excited about having this local icon in our building."