Harvard Square restaurant owners react to the Casablanca murder.

Despite the voluntary surrender Friday morning of the alleged murderer of Govert K. Van Schaik '62, former manager of the Club Casablanca, most restauranteurs in the Harvard Square area look upon the whole incident and the climate they feel produced it with considerable trepidation.

Carl Griffin, under pressure from a warrant for his arrest, turned himself into the Cambridge police after consultation early last week with his lawyer, Henry F. Owens III. Cambridge city councillor. Owen said yesterday that Griffin had pleaded not guilty and is now being held in Billerica House of Correction. He said that there will be a hearing on Thursday to determine "probable cause" for holding Griffin.

While some react to the killing as part of the restaurant "game," others see it as a disturbing development. Even those who view the killing as nothing out of the ordinary agree that it was part of the Square's general deterioration.

Most of the restaurants and coffeehouses are taking their own precautions to ward off similar attacks in the future, and many managers mentioned the need for better communication among Square restauranteurs, but could not point to any actual efforts in this direction.

One group, however, including the Idler, Back Room, Blue Parrot, the coffeehouses and Ferdinand's restaurant is having a meeting next week to discuss returning to the group's former practice of employing a uniformed police detail every day of the week. Last year, they modified the policy. The policeman now patrols only on the weekend nights, according to Viktor A. Imhof, manager of the Idler and the Back Room Coffeehouses.

"It bespeaks what's happening to the neighborhood--and I don't like it at all," commented James D. Cronin, manager and proprietor of Cronin's.


"I'm just horrified--both for Van's personal loss and for the community. That a man should be shot in his place of business in full view of his customers is very frightening. After 35 years of handling people in a service business, this killing is something beyond the natural order of things. A completely insane act," Cronin added.

This killing is "precisely why we have an armed guard here on weekends and our managers carry these," said George--'I live in Cambridge, so that's all I can tell you'--the day manager at Hungry Charley's, as he flashed the tear gas cannister he carries in his shirt pocket.

"It's very unfortunate--that's all I want to say. It's very unfortunate indeed. And it's not going to help Harvard Square in the least," noted Mario L. Bonelio, the manager of As You Like It, as he artfully diced cheddar cheese for an omelet.

Richard Cardullo, manager and son of the family that owns the Wursthaus and Cardullo's, exclaimed forcefully. "It's things like this that make me think about getting out of Cambridge. It makes me feel I might like to get into business elsewhere. But it's not just the Square or Cambridge or Boston--it's cities in general. I'm tired of feeling like a policeman."

At the Pewter Pot, Steven P. Golas said "Sure, everybody's upset. You think, 'It could have been me!' We all feel it. The Square is like a family. It's frightening that something like this would happen in the restaurant business."

"They just want to stay out of it," an unidentified waitress at the Algiers coffee shop blurted out before ducking out for a phone call.

"I can describe our feeling in one word--paranoia," said Allan P. Winkler, assistant manager at the Idler coffeehouse. "I'm scared," commented Imhof, of the Idler and the Back Room.

But others were more philosophical. "Are you kidding me? You think it makes any difference? I'm not shocked. I have no emotions about it. Harvard Square is no different from the South End or Blue Hill Ave. in Dorchester. I've been around too long in too many different areas to be shocked," exclaimed Sam of Bailey's.

"I was there when it happened," said John G. Chaprales, manager of the Toga Lounge. "I couldn't sleep for three nights afterward. I've been here for 22 years and it's never been like this before. It could've been me."

"As a matter of fact, those same guys were in the Toga around a month ago and did the same thing. I tried to handle the thing gently and not to push it. They left, Van would probably be alive today if he hadn't thrown them out," Chaprales added.

George of Hungry Charley's said that this year was better than last year but that even so, he had to use the restaurant's police buzzer an average of three times a weekend.

Some, like Cronin, saw the killing as a result of the erosion of trust that had made the Square "a better sort of place."

Chaprales was more explicit. "This is the kind of thing that happens when you've got a lot of kids out on the street with no place to go. We try to give the kids some entertainment and a place to go to sit and talk for an hour. But a lot of these other places rip you off. The problem with the Casablanca was that it catered to a rough crowd--and it ended up hurting them," he said.

Club Reopens

As for the Casablanca, the Club reopened on Saturday. The night club's new manager, Sari Abuljubein, referred all questions to the surviving owner, Cyrus I. Harvey Jr. '47, who was unavailable for comment yesterday