When I walked into 916 Congress Ave., a wave of memories swept over me. Still standing was the broad, curved counter where I leaned, waiting for my order, thousands of times. In the back were remnants of tall, familiar banquettes.
Without warning, I was back in the former home of Little City, the pioneer urban coffee shop that changed the way we lived downtown in the 1990s. Back then, we chose between student-driven Quack‘s on the Drag and folky Chicago House off East Sixth Street, but that was pretty much it. Little City brought a touch of San Francisco cool to a Central Austin with virtually no new towers, few residents and an odd quiet at certain times of the day or night.
The reason for the unexpected return to 916, now owed by Robert Hersch and Trey Watson, was a Hollywood Glam Pop-Up Party that benefited Austin Pets Alive and Austin Prep Access Project. It was staged by Capitol Vault, a group that sells images and limited edition prints — many of them framed — from Hollywood’s past. Think James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.
Well, this sort of nostalgia has had a long run. Why stop?
Fewer than 12 guests huddled around the old Little City counter. I spent much of the time with The Society Diaries honcho and native Austinite Lance Avery Morgan and tech whiz and new downtown resident Mark Erwin. One good thing about the tiny group, we enjoyed all the time in the world.