Local eatery creates devoted following

When he opened Cafe Java in Round Rock, owner Matt Lacey said he had no desire to make the restaurant a tourist hotspot.

Instead, Lacey said he wanted Cafe Java to appeal to people who live in nearby neighborhoods. After being open for nine years in the same Round Rock shopping center on Gattis School Road, Lacey said his original vision for the restaurant has more than come true.

"We have created a local place where folks can come in one, two and three times a day if they want," he said. "We get to see the same folks every day and be a part of their family."

Cafe Java serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week. The restaurant also serves dinner on weekdays.

The menu ranges from breakfast staples such as omelets and pancakes to salads and sandwiches. Lacey said the menu has grown throughout the years to include dishes suggested by customers and the restaurant's chefs.

"I don't have a monopoly on good ideas," he said. "One of my strengths is that I'm a pretty good listener."

Lacey opened the original Cafe Java in Austin in 1996. He said he chose to open the restaurant's second location in Round Rock because he saw the growth potential for the area. More than 15 new neighborhoods have popped up near the restaurant within the past 10 years, he said.

Lacey said his career in the Air Force shaped his leadership philosophy as a restaurateur.

"The military is all about teamwork, and we tell [the staff] that it's not the best individual effort that goes to the Super Bowl, it's the best team," he said. "The hardest thing to do in this [restaurant] business is build a team, and I feel lucky that we've done that here."

Loyal Helmeth is among the Cafe Java regulars in Round Rock. He said his favorite thing about the restaurant is its atmosphere and employees.

"Everyone in the neighborhood loves coming here because of the personality of the people," he said.

2051 Gattis School Road, Round Rock, 512-238-0700, www.cafejava.info, Hours: Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.–3 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–3 p.m.