Austin Made: How Kerbey Lane All Day Cafe became the family diner of ATX

The homegrown mini-chain has been serving Austinites pancakes, queso, and coffee for more than 40 years.

The original Kerbey Lane location in Austin's Rosedale neighborhood.

You’re looking at the first-ever Kerbey Lane location in Austin’s own Rosedale neighborhood.

Photo courtesy of Kerbey Lane

43 years. That’s how long Kerbey Lane All Day Cafe has been serving pancakes to locals.

It’s the only place where you can catch a 7-10 a.m. early bird happy hour, eat queso 24 hours a day, and buy a painting from a local artist.

We sat down with current husband-and-wife owners Mason and Christina Ayer to talk about how Kerbey Lane grew from a family diner to the family diner of Austin.

Fast facts

  • The first Kerbey Lane Cafe opened on May 5, 1980 and got the name from its address: 3704 Kerbey Lane.
  • Kerbey Lane currently has 10 locations — including one in San Marcos + one in San Antonio.
  • Each week, Kerbey Lane makes enough pancakes that if you stacked them up, they’d reach higher than the Texas State Capitol building.
  • Lyle Lovett used to frequent the cafe, ordering black coffee and gingerbread pancakes.

Mason says his mother, pictured here in the early 1980s, is still involved in the business.

Photo by Kerbey Lane Cafe

A “happy place”

Couple David Ayer and Patricia Atkinson hatched the idea to start their own cafe — where all folks were welcome and employees were treated like family — after working at Magnolia Cafe in 1979.

Family became part of the equation early on. Shortly after signing the documents, Patricia discovered she was pregnant with Mason, and the cafe’s attached studio became the small family’s home for years.

“I have very early memories of that original Kerbey Lane location being this warm, happy place,” Mason said.

Mason took over the family business as CEO in 2010 and married Christina, who would become CFO, in 2014. Fun fact: Christina’s first job was as a Kerbey Lane hostess in summer 2002.

A queso stand at Q2 Stadium.

Visit the Queso HQ for a taste of Kerbey Lane next time you visit Q2 Stadium.

Photo courtesy Kerbey Lane Cafe

The future of Kerbey Lane

Kerbey may be an Austin staple, but it’s not over the hill yet.

Kerbey Lane is the newly minted queso partner for Austin FC, so don’t forget to grab some next time you visit Q2 Stadium. Mason also hopes to open more locations around the I-35 corridor — possibly Houston or Dallas.

Want to learn more about legacy Austin businesses? Check out our feature on Whole Foods Market.

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