Gene, Pat and Dave are three people who have travelled extensively in Europe and who have cleverly put that experience to work in the operation of a European coffee house. They study, off and on, at various B.U. and Harvard graduate schools, and places, but they spend most of their time greeting the kindly folk who frequent their Plympton street establishment.
Gene mosttimes elegant in a goatee, is a nice fellow who's done some work in Social Relations and thinks that he'd like to visit Montreal. As he says, "I'd sure like to make that scene." Here in Cambridge he studies in the daytime, "but this place really isn't conducive to study," Gene maintains. "It sort of makes you want to sit back and dig the music."
Pat, on the other hand, doesn't seem to dig the music so much. She looks for the funny people who come to visit with her friends and her coffee. Latterly, a swarthy young man who is known among intimates as "The Butcher" and who smokes cigarillos has made the scene and helps Pat wait on her humble customers. Pat really doesn't resent the public's comment on her pretty dresses and lengthy eye-lashes because she knows that nobody really takes that sort of thing seriously. Pat says she was from Michigan before she was from Europe, and The Butcher reportedly says that she's 21 years old.
Dave is constantly amazed at the crowd which generates long after the guitar player has gone home. "You should come in when its real crazy when the wierdos come in, and bring a pencil because you'll hear some funny things. Why, we had someone the other night who bought two dollars and forty cents worth" (approximately a sandwich and two cups of coffee). But Dave is not really mercenary: "Why, we had someone the other night who asked us whether we were doing this for fun, and I told the man that all we had was altruism."
"Before we opened this place," he continues, "the only person we knew in Cambridge practically was Pat. Now we know everybody, and Gene and I aren't sure we dig it. Oh, sure, I guess we do," Dave retracts on reflection and after a quick nod to Gene across the gilded plywood table.
The Capriccio crowd itself is an uncertain one. On the eve of the opening about three weeks ago, Gene and Pat and Dave threw a big gala open house and many of the folks who made that scene haven't returned for subsequent ones. "What with the Design School, (a segment of which allegedly wants to do something about the graying 'fluid' paintings on the wall), the Greeks, the Bat Club and the Advocate, we have a crazy international gang," Dave notes with understandable pride. "We really aren't looking for the conventional people who don't like our prices. There's a market for what we serve, you know." says Dave, who has no beard but who does have a cigarette holder.
The Capriccio has gray walls and a hi-fi set which Gene and Pat and Dave play in the day-time. Under a three-colored chandelier (which turns on after dark), a man with a guitar strums and moos from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Two gold-bordered mirrors grace the south wall, and outside, where nobody notices, hangs a lantern which Dave believes once hung in Benjamin Franklin's house.
It is out in the kitchen that Gene and Pat and Dave rustle up their European delicacies.