Article by Nicole LaRosa
We all knew it was coming, but the Fall Cafe has officially served its last mug of joe. The longtime neighborhood coffee joint/hangout/study-and-work place has been shuttered for a few days now, having remained open for 5 months after advertising its July 16 closing party on Facebook.
Taking over the beloved hangout will be local restaurant czar Jim Mamary, the pioneer who took a chance on Smith Street way back when and opened Patois, widely seen as the catalyst for Smith’s eatery explosion. Mamary is the force behind Black Mountain Wine Bar, Gowanus Yacht Club, Pacifico and Zombie Hut, to name a few.
Mamary’s plans for the 307 Smith Street space, near President, call for an eat-in, take-out shop with sandwiches and prepared foods, similar, he said, to Torrisi Italian Specialties on Mulberry Street in Manhattan.
“Cold antipasto… simple,” he said on Dec. 8, after pushing a hulking old refrigerator out the storefront’s door.
Sounds like it’ll be quite a change. Mamary is known for creating atmosphere. And while it offered a lot, atmosphere wasn’t part of the mix at Fall Cafe, except for those of us who sort of like an escape from “atmosphere” once in a while, and enjoy some Chapel Hill-heavy indie rock to accompany our bagels and latte.
With free wi-fi and a laid-back vibe, laptop-toting locals often had to jockey for a seat at the cafe’s tattered couches and simple tables. One always had the sense that the next great screenplay or political campaign was being hatched at the next table. It’s been said that wars were sparked and plotted by moms jockeying for preschool seats at the Fall, whose management of late had to remind those same moms at times to please order some food or drink while holding their meetings.
It’s this very lingering that may have brought down the business, and that will be missed by many.
Good-bye Fall Cafe!