Kerbey Lane Cafe

#KerbeyStory: When We Lived in the Kerbey Lane Cafe House

In May 1980, Kerbey Lane Cafe opened their original location at 3704 Kerbey Lane in Austin, TX. Before that, it was a French bistro named Café Camille known for their tea, quiche, and crepes. But who were the last people to live at this address when it was strictly a residence? We found out when a customer mentioned to her server that she and her husband lived in the home in the 1970's. Obviously, we couldn't wait to hear her story!

Kerbey Lane Cafe Story

John and Mary Robinson moved into the home at 3704 Kerbey Lane in 1972, shortly before their wedding. It was their first home together as a newlywed couple, and for that reason will always hold a special place in Mary's heart. "It was the first place we established our independence as a married couple," Mary told us. John and Mary lived in the home for one year before being notified by their landlord that they would need to move, as the home was being turned into a restaurant (Café Camille).

John and Mary Robinson on their wedding day.

May 20, 1972

The couple held their wedding reception in the front yard of 3704 Kerbey Lane. Mary reminisced, "We had a sweet little hippie wedding in the Japanese tea garden at Zilker Park and the reception, of about 25 people, was held at the home."

When asked about her fondest memories at the Kerbey Lane house, Mary responded, "I have some funny memories of living there. For our honeymoon we had decided to go camping in Colorado, but we didn’t have a tent. I bought a kit to make one using my own sewing machine." Mary sat in the living room for many hours on her sewing machine making that tent.

Another fond memory Mary shared was of her and John's first children who lived in the home with them--an Irish Setter named Hillary (after Sir Edmund Hillary) and a Dalmatian named Poco. "They were partners in crime," Mary said jokingly.

Kerbey Lane Cafe Story

In the early 70's Mary was a vegetarian and it was in the Kerbey Lane house where she experimented with different recipes, learning how to make veggie burgers from brown rice. John had built her a bread baking table in the kitchen, where Mary baked countless loaves of bread. Even in the 1970's Mary and John understood the importance of eating healthy by choosing fresh, natural foods.

Dennis and Mary Fehr at the original Kerbey Lane Cafe location.

"Kerbey Lane is a super special place for me and my family. It’s great to be able to visit the space and recall the wonderful memories we had there," Mary said. We asked what she likes to order when she visits, to which she exclaimed, "I love the gingerbread pancakes!"

When asked what she thought about Kerbey Lane Cafe's growth over the past 35 years, Mary said, "I can hardly believe it! I’m so happy for ya'll’s success, but there will never be another one like the original."

Do you have a Kerbey Lane Cafe memory you'd like to share? Stop by our original location at 3704 Kerbey Lane to take a photo in our life-size frame. Then be sure to tag us and share your #KerbeyStory on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!