True Mom and Pops
I'm friendly enough, but not outgoing enough to strike up conversations where I eat. I've noticed, though, that there are a lot of more friendly hounds on the Austin board that can tell you the name of the person that's cooking their food. In the thread about La Mexicana "When Good Restaurants Go Bad", MPH commented about restaurants that hire kitchen staff vs those where the cooks and owners are all in the same family. That got me thinking... I eat at a lot of local restaurants that have a "mom and pop" feel, but which ones really are?
As is Dong Nai. Never seen the pops (kitchen, perhaps?) but you're guaranteed to be served by either mom, son, daughter, or my favorite, a female cousin in her early to mid 20s named Hien. I actually only go on Tuesdays when my friend Hien is scheduled (she's otherwise employed at a nail salon) because, well, she's just so genuinely pleasant.
Tam Deli on North Lamar is run by two sisters. They are always there and make the most delicious Bahn Mi.