Kerbey Lane Northwest moves…and loses its soul

Kerbey Lane Northwest was a place one of our regular haunts for great food, staff and atmosphere. They recently moved from their quirky, homey, very “Kerbey Lane” location to a strip mall at Anderson Mill and 183. We had asked the staff why they were moving and they said it was such a better layout. Much more room for operation and the staff wouldn’t be bumping into each other all the time trying to get the food out.

So four of us set out with anticipation yesterday morning to check out the new digs. Well actually, we forgot they had moved and so first we went to the old digs and found an empty parking lot and a sad lonely building. So we set out to find the new place. When we got there, there were a lot of people waiting (as is usual for Kerbey at lunchtime on Saturday) and we were told there would be an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes wait. Determined to have my pancakes, we decided to stick it out.

We all agreed that while this place is certainly nice, it did NOT feel like Kerbey Lane. It had lost its vibe. While they still had the same staff, many of whom have tattoos, piercings, fun hair styles and such, they all seemed a little more dressed up than they used to be. It seemed to us like they had turned up the staffs dress code a bit.

Even more frustrating was that while we were waiting over an hour for our table, there seemed to be many empty tables. The patio outside had maybe 2 of 10 tables occupied. I thought I heard a manager telling another couple that they were limiting their occupancy while the kitchen and staff “found their groove” but that didn’t make it any less frustrating to be standing and waiting while staring at empty tables.

The place just had a much less fun, homey, quirky, Austin, Kerbey Lane feel and more generic air. Everything felt strange. Even the staff seemed more lowkey or down. I mean they were still friendly and provided great service but I sensed some tension or stress, I speculate due to probably having to deal with pissy people with overdeveloped senses of entitlement who probably thought that waiting an hour was ridiculous but decided to go ahead and do it anyway but be grumpy and bitch about it.

All in all we were very sad to see what had become of our beloved Kerby Lane NW. I think we may be making one of the other Kerbey Lane locations our new home base. It seemed to us like they probably could have kept both NW locations open considering how busy it always seemed to be. I’m sure that’s probably not realistically practical but they sure never seem to be hurting for business and it seems like there is always a wait at any time of day.

Kerbey Lane was one of those places where we would always take visiting friends to eat. We might still, but it won’t be the NW location. I kind of feel like I’ve lost a friend.

1 Comment so far

  1. patrick on August 24th, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

    Kerbey Lane’s northwest location lost it’s good vibe years ago. In the mid-late 90’s it was one of my favorite restaurants, whether I was eating dinner there or dropping in for coffee and some chips & queso. Something happened around 2001 or so and the service dropped off considerably. I’ve given it second third, and even fourth chances because I wanted the same enjoyment I once had there. Each time I tried going back, I was disappointed over and over.

    I won’t shed a tear over them moving, but should I hold out hope that the quality of service will return to that of old?

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