Omnivore - The mark of a great city: neighborhood cafes

Why don’t we have any neighborhood cafes?


I must have been insufferable when I first moved to America. It was 20 years ago, but I vaguely remember my constant nattering about how everything is better in Australia. The especially stark comparison was between my hometown of Melbourne and the city I landed in, Hartford, CT.

Atlanta is a whole lot better than Hartford (like, approximately 20,000,000,000 times better), but having just returned from a trip back to Melbourne, I’m again finding myself comparing everything to that city. And the thing that’s bugging me the most right now is Atlanta’s lack of cafes.

I’m not talking about coffee shops. I mean the neighborhood cafe, that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night. I’m talking about the places in Paris where Parisians sit and drink wine and coffee and look iconically Parisian on the sidewalk. The panini place in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn that served Spanish wines and blood orange bellinis and great coffee and was open from approximately 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Or the place just up the street from that, which was basically the same concept except French, or the other place around the corner that was crammed with oversized antiques and had a great beer selection and the best brunch around, and where you’d sit on metal chairs in the leafy back courtyard and eat oysters at 3 p.m. or sausages at 2 a.m.