Recently I underwent a spiritual exercise wherein I divested myself of nearly all personal possessions and spent a month living the life of a penniless monk on the streets of Austin, Texas. During that time I came across the good people at LIFT CAFE who demonstrated an outstanding appreciation of the Spirit of Aloha. I was especially impressed by manager John and staff person Jamie, both of whom basically took me under their wings and gave me not only moral support but also the occasional gratis house coffee. In addition, they allowed me to hang out and use their wifi without ever making me feel unwanted or in the way. And how rare is that??? Very. While not a gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, the coffee was delicious, hot and strong. Just what I needed to LIFT my spirits during a difficult time for this street monk in his mid-60s. The wifi allowed me to stay in contact with my spiritual partner. The best of all possible worlds, one might say. I have many fond memories of that most interesting time, but some of my fondest are centered on John and Jamie. A great big shout-out to the both of them and a world of aloha wished them in all they do. I cannot recommend LIFT CAFE too highly. It is so very rare to meet people who go out of their way to live compassion rather than having it be some abstract concept. Again...John and Jamie...aloha until we meet again! Me ke aloha, Elijah Street
Location- This is my favorite Kerbey location. It's the original and the charm of a house-turned-restaurant makes the small size worth it. And here, you miss a lot of the student crowd. The service is hit or miss, but if you can get Joy as your server, do! She's great. Food- Order the Kerbey Queso (or Cowboy Queso). Just do it. I go with my super-picky sister who doesn't eat pico de gallo or guacamole so we get both on the side. It's perfect because then there's more of everything. The salsa that comes with it isn't spectacular by itself, but alongside the queso it's perfect. The chipotle chicken pasta is awesome. (This might be a seasonal item... I don't think it's on the menu right now) The shredded chicken quesadillas and tacos are decent. The pancakes are thick, heavy ones- not like light, fluffy IHOP pancakes. These guys have serious substance. I like the apple whole wheat and lemon poppyseed! Even if I'm not ordering breakfast, I'll get a pancake on the side. The turkey and avocado sandwich is delicious. The chocolate coffee is good- and you get two free refills. The iced coffee is pretty good too. It's cold brewed which is a plus, and I've never been able to finish the whole glass. When I first moved to Austin I wasn't completely impressed with Kerbey Lane, but now I go regularly because they're open 24 hours, the queso is awesome, and the ambiance is great!
Chuck's isn't just a typical deli--not by a long shot. Of course they have great sandwiches, but they also have special order cakes i.e. one woman wanted a motor home, another wanted a scorpion!! (can't imagine why!) They also have great cheescake, and a specialty item-mice. A type of confectionary thing which is about the size of a mouse, and it looks much like one, with big "ears" a tail, etc. and is delicious! Kids love 'em. Another thing which makes a visit there very special is the original art by local artists which is for sale. The pictures are changed every quarter so there is always something new to see or buy. There is also a piano to add music on special occassions. There is a meeting "room" which will accomodate 12-15 people. They have a drive-thru windown, too. Chuck's deli is definitely a place to visit, and also a place to have a great meal!