When we opened L’Oca d’Oro, our mission seemed pretty transparent—provide a space where diners of all flavors could enjoy easy Italian in a bright convivial atmosphere. A gorgeous idea in its simplicity.
But the whole truth is not so altruistic. Fundamentally, we wanted to hang out with more people like us, believing that creating a haven for them could empower a cultural sea change with Austin as its epicenter.
We aren’t speaking of locavores or socially progressive, coastal transplants but something far more impactful. We’re talking about parents reinventing the minivan years.
For those of us whose classic film appetite has been replaced by an encyclopedic knowledge of Babar’s post-colonial kingdom, dining out can be fraught with all manner of self-consciousness. Ordering takes an eternity, as every third word is interrupted with a pleading demand to see pictures of puppies. Careful table settings are instantly marred by the indelicate presence of spilled drinks and drumming utensils. The well-rested young professionals with combed hair sitting next to us audibly snicker at the kid-friendly changes we make to every dish and we fear the chef on the other side of the kitchen door is throwing a pot at the insult to his carefully curated menu. And we just want to scream “I USED TO RIDE THE SUBWAY, DINE AT 2AM AND WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES!!”
We feel you, comrades.
Having kids rarely makes one feel sexy and free, but there is nothing more validating than taking them some place that embraces and celebrates the beautiful mess that is family life. Better still if that place can make it feel less messy, if only for an evening.
Our dream is that L’Oca d’Oro be a hub for parents seeking affirmation that, despite the dust bunnies congregating on your rare vinyl collections while the Trolls soundtrack plays on heavy rotation, you are still really cool. We want to prove that parents in a vibrant, creative city can have family nights that have all the allure of date night—with the requisite accommodations for your tiny chaperones. We would love nothing more than to see a dining room full of children occupied by our library of kids books, crayons and perfect buttered noodles while you enjoy a thoroughly grown-up and lovingly prepared dinner so richly deserved after suffering the eleventy-twelfth “Let It Go” sing-a-long.
So bring the brood and help us start a gentle revolution.