Katie and Chris Allcorn on Starting a Restaurant
People of Austin Profile Series
When Chris and Katie Allcorn moved from Austin to Bastrop last year, it was because they fell in love — with a building. Feeling a change coming to Austin, the young, entrepreneurial couple packed up and bought an old building in a communal complex tucked off from Bastrop’s main street on the banks of the Colorado River and got to work. In 2014, after three months of 12-hour work days, plus help from good friends and plenty of six-packs of beers, Katie, a former graphic designer and Chris, who previously worked in commercial real estate, opened Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard, a restaurant and music venue in downtown Bastrop. Here, TRIBEZA talks with them about their Texas-meets-Mississippi style, leaving the Capital City and why Bastrop needs some live music love.
“So my friend Lauren Stone is an interior designer, and she kind of has the same funky vibe that I have. We went around small town Texas and gathered a bunch of stuff – small metal tables and all that. We are drawn to places that have been marinating for a long time, things that you cant really fabricate or recreate … she kind of helped us do that without it looking too tried. And keeping it simple.” –Katie
WHY LEAVE AUSTIN?
“We were kind of over the way Austin was growing. The way we would have liked it to see it grow would be to build up those institutional places like Broken Spoke and Scoot Inn and places that have been there forever and kind of build around them instead of pushing them out.” –Katie
BRINGING THE TUNES
“West of Austin you have Nutty Brown, The Backyard, Foodies and South of Austin you have New Braunfuels, Gruene Hall, all of that. But east there’s nothing, there’s no live music venue, and that’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what this is — that stage, this yard.” –Chris
THAT SMALL-TOWN VIBE
“We were outsiders coming in opening this restaurant. So we got whooped at first. But when our daughter got sick, that was the biggest wake-up call as to what type of community we’re in. There was probably a thousand people praying for us … it was just cool. Really cool, you could feel it.” –Chris
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR STYLE?
“Our style is kind of Texas meets Mississippi in 1940. If we see something on the side of the road, we always stop. Especially if it’s open. Like a bar? An old bar? I’m going in. We wanted to kind of make it feel like that.” -Chris
ON BEING SCARED
We were sitting on the porch one day like, “We own a restaurant, how did that happen?’” It was literally the last industry I could ever imagine myself in. It sounded horrible to me. was very scary. We had no idea what we were doing. We even bought a book, Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table. I don’t think we even finished the book. Its still in my truck right now, just sitting there. –Chris