Maybe you can be mad at pancakes? At least that’s how I’m feeling this past Monday night when I walk into the Someday Café in Somerville’s Davis Square, and realize that there are only five nights remaining in the life of my local coffee dive. After more than a decade, during which it served as the best public living room this side of the river, the java-slinging shop will close its doors. Come September, a Francophile-pancake business called Mr. Crêpe, formerly located down the street, will move into the space. (See
Can the Someday Café Be Saved?
News and Features, July 21, 2006.)
The Someday Café has always served as something of a neighborhood safety net. Have to pee? Get the bathroom-key coffee-mug from the cash register. Hungover as hell? Sober up on the ratty sofa. Stoned and dry-mouthed? They’ll never question your eyes. Sick of the Tufts mooks? Come in and glower.
Founded by three young Pacific Northwest refugees — Glen Wallace, Steve Stevens, and Jeff Hale, who’s since passed away — before being bought by Toscanini’s owner Gus Rancatore, the Someday predates the Diesel Café, Diva, Starbucks, and JP Licks. “It’s an amazing network of people that’s developed through here,” says Someday employee Tanya Hahnel.
Hahnel and her co-worker Danielle Sullivan — along with Somerville mayor Joseph Curtatone and Ward Six alderman Rebekah Gewirtz — have desperately tried to find another space in which to keep Someday alive as a worker-owned co-operative. But thus far, everything’s tentative.
And the Someday Café is not alone. Earlier in the day I stopped by Dominic’s Lounge in the Theatre District, the late-night pizza window, restaurant, and bar across from the Wang Center that shuttered on Sunday night. Inside the 1970s-era business, chairs were turned upside down, doors were locked, and the telephone was disconnected, so I read the menu with melancholy: GARLIC KNOTS BASKET, $4.50; BLUE MAN PLATE, $6.95 (WHITE MEAT TUNA & MELTED CHEDDAR SERVED ON A CRISPY FLOUR TORTILLA).
Like the Someday, you wouldn’t mistake Dominic’s for haute cuisine. But both were local anchors, façades that were sturdy, dependable — they defined their neighborhoods. Dominic’s menu even liked to boast that it fed celebrities: OUR OUTSIDE PIZZA WINDOW IS OPEN TILL 3 AM, SO WHILE YOU’RE IN LINE LOOK AROUND BECAUSE CELEBRITIES HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO BE IN THE LINE TOO.
Who knows if that’s true. As for the Someday, the only “celebrity” I ever spotted was one of the guys from Guster. The place was dirty and inhabited by lonely crazies. So sure, it’s hard to get too upset — there’s still Diesel Café, another independently owned java joint, down the block. But, damn, there goes the neighborhood.