Happy Birthday, Gilmore: The Luke's Diner Experience in Austin

In January, Netflix announced that the early-2000s TV show “Gilmore Girls” would be returning in four hour-long segments encompassing a year in the life of Stars Hollow’s quirkiest characters. In July, the premiere date was set for Nov. 25, giving fans something to truly be thankful for this Thanksgiving. In honor of the show’s pilot airing Oct. 5, 2000, Netflix paired up with coffee shops nationwide to bring the Luke’s Diner experience. In Austin, Caffé Medici, Summer Moon Coffee Bar and Vintage Heart Coffee were chosen for the “transformation.”

By Nicole Farrell

  Here I am with my lavender latte. Sorry, Luke.

Here I am with my lavender latte. Sorry, Luke.

I rolled up to Vintage Heart Coffee at 6:32 a.m., hoping naively to find a parking spot, but I could see fans already wrapped around the building and all spots occupied. I managed to find free street parking after driving through a sketchy alley, thinking to myself, “Lorelai would be cracking jokes about the absurdity of this situation.”

I literally ran over to the back of the small brick building, and I could see mostly women, sporting flannel shirts and backwards baseball caps, quietly chatting. The line members ranged from college students like myself (freaking out the entire time about making it in time to 8 a.m. class), middle-aged teachers, like the mega-fans in front of me and high schoolers with their moms in tow (“Honey, if we don’t get in by 7:40, we’re going to have to leave.”)

At 7:03, the line surged forward, and I raised my hands in praise to the sweet gods of pop culture. Netflix, I love you.

As I got around the bend, after peeking into the warmly lit window, the golden Luke’s coffee cup logo sign was stuck to the window. People were already posing in front of it and snapping photos. The lighting was bad because it was barely daybreak, so I planned to get a picture later.

The baristas were sporting blue baseball caps with an embroidered Luke’s logo on the front and the Netflix logo in red on the back. They were wearing them backwards, in true Danes fashion, and had nifty little aprons on. One girl had a flannel tied around her waist. There was a “No Cell Phones” sign in the corner.

It wasn’t really decorated, so the hype for the “transformation” of local coffee shops was a little overdone, but the feeling of being surrounded by fellow crazy fans who got up early to receive a cup was special. Holy ground, even.

By the time I walked in, the free drip coffee was out and the machine was having difficulties.  A cheerful employee left to pick up “gallons” of coffee from some unknown establishment.

I played some mental gymnastics considering the ethics of ordering a lavender latte instead. The black coffee was free, but it was taking way too long. I also didn’t want to receive the kind of scorn given to Lorelai after she brought a mocha chocolate caramel swirl-a-chino with extra whip cream into the diner from Weston’s.

Time was ticking and my Spanish class has mandatory attendance, so I caved and bought the latte. As soon as I ordered and had waited for a while, the machine began to work, but this is how my life usually goes, so I found peace.

I had my friend Andrea take a pic of me cheesin’ in front of the sign outside, brandishing my coffee cup. Then I promptly hustled because I had only 11 minutes until class.

The line was now all the way out of the parking lot and down the back alley. The looks of longing and envy from those at the back of line as they saw my cup put a pep in my step. I was feeling content and smug and was only 3 minutes late to class.

Not even #TeamDean supporters could bring me down.