News coverage of Someday Cafe

Skip to first unread message

Ron Newman

Jul 8, 2006, 10:20:41 PM7/8/06
to Someday Community
Under this topic heading, please post any news coverage that you find
regarding the Someday Cafe.

So far, I have seen articles in the Globe, Herald, Somerville Journal,
and Weekly Dig. I will shortly post each of them as followup messages,
so that they are permanently archived here. (Links to newspaper web
sites tend to go bad after a few weeks.)

I have *not* yet seen any coverage in the Somerville News or the Boston

Ron Newman

Jul 8, 2006, 10:23:36 PM7/8/06
to Someday Community

In Somerville, Someday may be a memory
Regulars at the coffee shop in Davis Square express outrage
By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff | July 1, 2006

SOMERVILLE -- Call the Someday Cafe in Davis Square a coffee shop,
and regulars stiffen.

It is not ``just a coffee shop," they retort. The Someday is a
``place of healing," where the dreadlocked server behind the counter
asks, how are you, and ``actually means it."

But come September, the shop's threadbare couches, local artwork ,
and strong macchiatos could be gone, replaced by a new eatery, Mr.

Just days ago, residents learned that Someday's owner, Gus Rancatore,
had failed to renew his lease -- he says he forgot -- and that the
landlord was on the verge of signing Mr. Crepe, a purveyor of thin,
European-style pancakes, soups, and salads.

Someday's pending demise has sparked an outcry in Davis Square, where
the Someday, Diesel, and Starbucks up the street form a popular
caffeinated triumvirate. Since learning of Someday's plight, some
customers said they will not patronize Mr. Crepe. A couple even
threatened to move out of Somerville.

On Wednesday, about 50 people packed a meeting of the Davis Square
Task Force to vent.

Loyalists assailed the building's landlord, Richard Fraiman, for not
reminding Rancatore to renew his lease, and pleaded with Mr. Crepe's
owner, Peter Creyf, to go elsewhere.

``The only way you can get what you want is at the expense of
hundreds of people," said Lisa Williams, 35, who met her husband,
Evan, at Someday 11 years ago.

``It's wrong," Williams told Creyf, a 41-year-old Belgian immigrant,
who looked back at her with wide eyes. ``It's morally wrong. Don't
sign that lease."

Rancatore took responsibility for his oversight and asked for a
compromise, offering to share the shop with Creyf.

``I hope we can work something out," he said.

Fraiman, however, said the matter is settled. ``Someday is out, and
Mr. Crepe is in," he said.

A trio of college buddies opened the Someday Cafe about 13 years ago,
hoping to capitalize on the coffeehouse trend that had swept Seattle.
Jeff Hale, Glen Wallace, and Steve Stevens started the business in a
cart in Central Square.

When the shop opened in the heart of the square, it was quickly
embraced by coffee aficionados eager for quality java and by city
officials anxious to turn around Davis Square, where small businesses
had been struggling to bounce back from the economic lag of the 1970s
and '80s.

Today, the coffee shop draws a diverse group of tattooed artists,
students and professors, die-hard sports fans, and retirees, who
mingle easily while sitting on the shop's armchairs and battered
couches. Most customers know each other by name.

``When some of us have had losses, divorces, or death, you go to the
cafe in the morning, people know about it," said longtime regular
Rivkah Lapidus. ``They try to help you out."

Paul Colozzo, 88, whose wife died three years ago, goes to the shop
daily and spends hours there, complaining about the weather or just
chatting with other regulars. Sometimes, he doesn't buy anything.

He has other hangouts -- Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Dave's Fresh
Pasta on Holland Street -- but they are not the same.

``Sometimes I go to the pastry shop," said Colozzo. ``But nobody
there sits down and talks."

But for all its personality, Someday has been looking shabby,
acknowledges Rancatore, who took over the business about four to five
years ago. Customers often lament that the dingy carpet is torn and
that the walls need repainting.

People have complained about loud music and sketchy-looking
customers, who loiter on the streets, Rancatore said Fraiman told him.

For these reasons, Rancatore, who also owns Toscanini's ice cream
shops, believes that Fraiman was not eager to remind him about the

``I blew past" the deadline, he admitted. ``But in 25 years of
working in small businesses, the landlord always calls up and says,
`What do you want to do about the lease?'"

Fraiman said his decision to seek another tenant was purely business.

``I wasn't standing there with a stopwatch waiting for 12 o'clock
midnight, saying, `Ah, ha, you missed your option to renew, and
you're out,'" he said. Rancatore ``could have stayed there for years."

Creyf hopes that Someday's fans will overcome their resentment and
visit his shop, which he expects to open in late October. Mr. Crepe
did well at its old location next to Dave's Fresh Pasta, he said, but
Creyf was forced to leave in 2004 when the restaurant's owners
decided to expand.

``We really want to be back in the square and be part of the city,"
Creyf said during Wednesday's meeting. ``If you give it a chance, you
will see Mr. Crepe can be a service to Davis Square, as well."

Rancatore said he will consider reopening in the square if he can
find a suitable location.

But without Someday, many customers said they do not know where they
will while away their free time.

``There are just so many people who rely on this place for their
social life," said Someday employee Rachel Phillips, 23.

She blinked back tears as she watched Colozzo, one of her favorite
customers, talking to another regular. ``I'm never going to see any
of them again," she said.

Maria Cramer can be reached at

Ron Newman

Jul 8, 2006, 10:25:13 PM7/8/06
to Someday Community

Someday cafe has no place to stay: An eclectic java joint loses lease
By Donna Goodison
Saturday, July 1, 2006 - Updated: 09:22 AM EST

The Someday Cafe will see its last day in August.

The funky Somerville coffeehouse and hangout is set to close mid-
month to make way for the Davis Square return of Mr. Crepe.

Word of the pending shutdown erupted in customer rallying cries, but
to no end. While Someday owner Gus Rancatore is holding out for a
last-minute compromise, building owner Richard Fraiman says it's not

going to happen.

"They're lobbying, but as far as I'm concerned, the train has
out of the station," Fraiman said. "The transaction is complete,
we want to move ahead."

The Someday, which opened 13 years ago, is an eclectic spot.
Customers settle into its hodgepodge collection of couches and chairs
to chat, read or take in the scene and rotating art exhibits.

The Someday's demise falls to a memory lapse: Rancatore had a
February deadline on an option to renew his lease that he admits he
forgot about.

"If you have an option to renew your lease, it's your
to either exercise it or not," Fraiman said.

But Rancatore counters that Fraiman should have contacted him.

"Normally, a landlord calls you before or some time around (the
deadline), because we're small businesses," he said. "We're not
Prudential Center."

Either way, Someday's regulars and employees are disappointed it's
its way out.

"It's definitely a community," said the Someday's dreadlocked
musician manager, Chris Miller, 26. "Although it's not a co-op,
got a co-op feel. It's just the best place I've ever been in my

Ron Newman

Jul 8, 2006, 10:29:18 PM7/8/06
to Someday Community

Someday Café closes in August
By Auditi Guha/ Journal Staff
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Where will these people go - the boy with the boa, the guy with the
funny beard, the goth girl with the spikes, and the old man reading a

After 14 years in Davis Square, The Someday Café is closing in
mid-August, much to the chagrin of its owner and quirky customers,
thanks to an abrupt move by the coffee shop's landlord. And Mr. Crepe
is replacing them.

"I don't want to close The Someday," said owner Gus Rancatore.
"There's a lot of confusion right now, and I'm spending as much time
calming people down as anything else."

With their lease up in September and their renewal notification due
in February, Rancatore admits he forgot. But he was surprised to
receive a 60-day notice to vacate from landlord Richard Fraiman of
Chatham Light Realty last week, without any prior notices.

"We would really like to stay where we are," Rancatore said. "We
still hope to reach an agreement at this late stage to stay. To move
would be too expensive."

Fraiman said they waited for months for a lease renewal, and it is
not their business to remind tenants of their obligations. They
recently signed a lease for the space with Mr. Crepe starting in
September. Rancatore paid $4,800 per month, but Fraiman would not
disclose if Mr. Crepe is paying them more.

"We never heard from [Somerday Café]. They are supposed to know
when to pay their bill and when their lease is up," he said. "We have
nothing against him, but we were left hanging without knowing what to
do and were forced to find alternatives."

Meanwhile, customers are devastated with the news.

Rivkah Lapidus worked on her dissertation, brought her babies and
made many friends there over the years. "It's like losing a family
member," she said this week. "The coffee is great, but I come for the
people - it's a real community."

With its funky interior, comfy couches and local art displays,
Someday Café is a haven for passersby, students, old-timers, artists,
poets and musicians in the 'Ville. From limey sorbet to cake batter and
coconut, they sell a variety of Toscanini's ice cream, hailed by the
New York Times as the best. Many swear their coffee is the best you can
get here - from dark roast coffee from Batdorf & Bronson to mild coffee
from George Howell. Their teas are rich and varied - from Jumpin'
Ginseng to Yerba Mate. A public notice board in the back advertises
everything from rooms and music lessons available to free wedding DVDs
and eating disorder support groups. A new LCD screen showcases snippets
of Someday's live journal.

A fan for 14 years, since they first opened, Scott Bowden said he
would take an espresso there any time. "I like the mix of people and of
course, the coffee. It's far better than anything else you can get inn
the area," he said.

Deeply disappointed at the news of its possible closure, Bowden
said, "For me it's definitely the end of an era. I haven't been able to
process it yet. I just saw the note on a jar."

Working there for three years, manager Danielle Sullivan said she
likes that it's really community-oriented. "It's a shame. There are a
lot of people I only see here and became good friends with."

Paul Jacob, who now lives in Abington, misses the Someday
atmosphere so much that he comes down at least once a month. Dropping
by Tuesday, he was upset to hear the news. "It's terrible. It's broken
my heart," he said. "It's a another beautiful part of Boston lost."

Rancatore said that Fraiman has had many complaints of the popular
coffee shop - loud music, folks from halfway houses hanging around
there, drug transactions in the bathroom. He said they have notified
police, changed their bathroom locks and don't hand out keys to people
unless they feel they can be trusted. He also said they are willing to
make improvements and work with the landlord if possible.

Fraiman said he never had any problems with the tenant. "There are
no problems. They just didn't exercise their option to renew their
lease," he said. "We enjoy the Someday Café. We have nothing against

Jeff Hale, who co-founded the coffee shop in 1994, died last year
and his partners moved away.

The former owners moved to Somerville from Washington State in 1993
at the height of the grunge era, with a plan to start a coffee shop,
and originally sold coffee off a cart in Boston.

They opened Someday Café in 1994 when empty storefronts and a lack
of college kids were still the norm in Davis Square.

Hale and his partners eventually sold the coffee shop to current
Toscanini owner Rancatore in 2003 with the condition that the coffee
shop's style, from its employees to the Goodwill furniture, had to stay
the same.

The coffee shop became a symbol of the change Davis Square went
through and even furthered it, Rancatore said.

"People like The Someday because it's a part of their daily lives,"
he added. "It is a little like a pub or an Irish bar. It's a strong
neighborhood feel in a neighborhood that's constantly changing."

But change is coming.

"Businesses come and businesses go," said Fraiman. "We hope Mr.
Crepe will be a great addition to Davis Square."

Ian Judge, manager of the Somerville Theater sharing the same
building, said he will be sorry to see the coffee shop go but welcomes
the crepe shop. "It will be so strange not to have The Someday next
door to the theater, but I'm glad an independent and unique place like
Mr. Crepe is moving in, rather than some generic chain store."

Ron Newman

Jul 8, 2006, 10:34:27 PM7/8/06
to Someday Community

An editorial on page 3 of the current (7/5/06) Weekly Dig, by its
editor, Joe

A longtime cultural institution is on the ropes

In high school, I spent an inordinate amount of time in The Someday
Café in Davis Square. This was in the mid-'90s, right before the big
blah of gentrification really hit-Somerville was still being called
"Slumerville" by some, and, a little hopefully, "The Paris of the
'90s" by others. Davis Square was the center of the emerging
Somerville scene, and The Someday Café was the center of that. It was
a big part of my life then, and it continues to be now: a comfortable,
unpretentious public space to read, drink good coffee and shoot the

So you can imagine the dread I felt when this reader email came in last
week: "I walked into The Someday Café an hour ago, and found a small
pot on the counter with a note taped to it. The note read 'Tip us
well! We just lost our jobs! We are closing August 15.' Talking to
the help, I learned that the landlords are refusing to renew the lease

I called Gus Rancatore, owner of the Someday and Toscanini's, to see
what was going on. Apparently, the landlord, Richard Fraiman (whose
father owns the Somerville Theatre, and who Rancatore says has "been
patient and helpful in the past"), sent a notification that the lease
was coming up back in February. The note got lost in the shuffle, and
months passed. Then, in June, Rancatore got word that he was to vacate
the space by September 1. Word is the landlord's looking to stick a
crepe restaurant in the space.

"I'm trying not to be combative," Rancatore said, "but he could
have called us, he could have emailed. We're hoping to work something
out ... I would have liked it more if we had longer notice, but I'm
trying to work with him."

Rancatore admits that the landlord has some legitimate beefs-among
them loud music and the café's famously ratty carpet (which is being
replaced)-but that he's willing to rectify those. More importantly,
though, he's looking to set a new direction for the place, and it
sounds like just the sort of thing this town really, really needs right
now. "I have an ideal," he says. "I think The Someday could be
like Doyle's in JP: a funky but very friendly place that's open to
all constituencies, a place for people to be friendlier to people they
don't already know."

Amen to that. If we lose this one, it's going to hurt.


Ron Newman

Jul 19, 2006, 5:04:14 PM7/19/06
to Someday Community
The Somerville News website has a long article entitled "Someday Cafe
granted a stay of execution", by Christelle Valembrun:

It's mostly about Sunday afternoon's meeting. I assume the article is
also in today's print edition, but I haven't been back to Davis Square
yet this afternoon to look for it.

For several days, this page had only a one-paragraph "teaser" for the
article. Therefore, many of the comments you see under it were
actually made before the full article was posted.

Ron Newman

Jul 20, 2006, 9:10:25 AM7/20/06
to Someday Community

Someday Café fans pack meeting with pleas to keep coffee shop

By Auditi Guha/ Journal Staff

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Customers packed into the Davis Square café Sunday evening sporting
"Save the Someday" stickers during a meeting with new leaseholder Peter
Creyf, who hopes to build a Mr. Crepes on the spot.

Many hoped he would agree to share the space and let the
14-year-old café remain in the square.

Creyf, a 41-year-old Belgian immigrant who plans to start serving
crepes there come September, seems quite sure that he does not want to
do business with anyone who may not have the business skills and
credibility he requires, and said the move to sign a lease was a purely
business move on his part.

"I couldn't wait. However, I am willing to look into a way to make
it work," he said. "It's such a heated issue, and I am sticking out my
neck here more than I should."

The Someday's lease expired in February. Gus Rancatore, who owns
Toscanini's in Cambridge as well as the Someday, neglected to renew the
lease, and building owner Richard Fraiman did not notify Rancatore of
his failure to renew.

After several months of hearing nothing from Rancatore, Fraiman
went ahead with a lease for Mr. Crepe.

Loyal customers, many who have frequented the café since it opened
and know each other by name, packed the coffee shop Sunday evening
during a meeting organized by an alderman and café employees to
discuss its fate.

Many wondered if Creyf could continue The Someday and have his
crepes made there side-by-side, much like Rancatore serves Toscanini
ice cream in the café since he bought it.

Rancatore admitted his oversight and has offered to share the
space. Creyf is adamant about not doing so, even though Mr. Crepe did
previously share space with Dave's Pasta and once intended to share a
space with a flatbread pizza company.

"The Someday's not here because it was mismanaged. I don't want to
go into business with someone like that," Creyf said. "If this doesn't
work, try it somewhere else. I would like Someday Café to be there -
here or somewhere else."

According to Rancatore, Creyf and Fraiman earlier said that they
would let The Someday remain if Creyf found another place that he
liked. Later, Fraiman said he would not rent to Rancatore. Then Fraiman
said he would not let Mr. Crepe sublet to The Someday.

"This is the oldest café in Davis Square," said patron Ben Simon.
"I would be extremely upset and disgusted if it closed."

A petition circulated by loyal customers who do not want to lose
their favorite neighborhood café tallied up 1,300 signatures over the
weekend and was presented to Creyf.

"Give us a month, and I'll come up with a couple [of] thousand
more," said Mo Lotman of Somerville.

"This is my family," said Chrissy Texeira of Medford, who brings
her son in to play in the cafe. "To me your business is not as
important as the people who come here."

Darrell Karbott wondered if Fraiman was going get paid more by Mr.
Crepe than the Someday and addressed the larger issue of gentrification
in the square. "Twenty years ago, Davis Square was a scary place, Today
it seems like it's become a victim of its own success," he said. "It's

Organized by Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz and attended by the
mayor also sporting a "Save the Someday" sticker, this is an issue the
city will continue to help resolve even though it involves private
parties and their business, said spokesperson Tom Champion.

"I think The Someday is an important part of our community,"
Gewirtz said. "It is a rare breed and with the rise of chain stores,
there aren't too many comfortable, locally operated coffee shops like

While she feels the facility needs some work, she believes the
community and city should do what it takes to try and preserve it. She
also believes the community would welcome Mr. Crepe in the square as
long as The Someday remained.

Meanwhile, the cafe was not receiving hot water for more than a
month until Rancatore paid plumbers to fix the problem. E. Puopolo
Plumbing Contractors of Arlington said the hot water heater was not
installed properly.

Mr. Crepe has also been seen on the premises with his contactor
already taking measurements.

"There are a variety of paths being pursued by The Someday, the
workers and the customers. At this moment they are parallel," Rancatore
said. "A lot of people would like The Someday to stay where it is."

"This space is The Someday. It always will be. It's a mixed
community unlike any other coffee shop," said Anjeana Hans who used to
work at the café. "It's not Mr. Crepe. I'm sorry."

John Hildebidle

Jul 20, 2006, 1:46:25 PM7/20/06
Fingerpointing is pointless. Although I do hope I don't run into Gus
any time soon. But the more I think about Mr. Crepe's worry about
being scooped in the business the more it seems like a crock. How
many crepe shops are there in Greater Boston? And how many sprang up
once the place across from Harvard Vanguard went belly up, or the one
he had in the MIT student center (ironically, in a site vacated by .
. . Tosci's)? I'm thinking zero point zero.

Then again, haggling ain't never pretty, nor does it bring out the
truthfulness of the parties. The notion that the Someday is a sort of
community center is a fine one -- Starbucks, with its fireplaces and
comfy chairs, would like to play that role, but faggedaboudit.


Ezra Ball

Jul 20, 2006, 1:54:34 PM7/20/06
The more I think about the "community meeting" he wanted, the more it seems like a crock. He really had his positions pretty well set, and it really seems like the purpose was mainly to let the people who care about the someday blow off some steam, hoping to diffuse some potentially bad press for kicking out a place that a lot of people love. And his "generous" position was "find me a better place, and I'll take it". Well, duh!

You know the worst part, for me, at least: I hate crepes.


John Hildebidle

Jul 20, 2006, 5:29:29 PM7/20/06
[the science of naming]. My suggestion of "Jeff's Place" arose from my
infamously wonky memory -- couldn't remember the other founders. But
surely the Three Way Cafe would work. Or Common Grounds.

Ron Newman

Jul 22, 2006, 11:21:43 AM7/22/06
to Someday Community
Belatedly, the Boston Phoenix published an article this week, on page
This means that all print media of any local importance have now
covered the story at least once.

Can the Someday Café be saved?
Dept. of endangered species

7/19/2006 5:43:17 PM

You can't be mad at pancakes. That was one realization made this past
Sunday during an "urgent" meeting held at the Someday Café in
Somerville's Davis Square. An estimated 150 sweat-sticky people
stuffed themselves into the 13-year-old caffeine-jacked hangout to
discuss the café's future with Peter Creyf (a/k/a Mr. Crêpe), the
Belgian owner of a crêpe restaurant slated to supplant the Someday in

The Someday has been around since 1993, long before Davis Square ever
seemed like it'd be a prosperous milieu with a giant lit-up sports
ticker or a velvet-roped Diva Lounge. "We were here from the very
beginning, when there were rodents - I mean a lot of rodents,"
recalls barista Willie Carpenter, who's been employed by the Someday
since it first opened. For more than a decade, the Someday has been the
scruffy Somerville outpost for political activists and labret-pierced
punks, bespectacled note-scribblers and pre-test-cramming grad students
- endearingly famous for its tattered carpets, trash-pile furniture,
and coffee-nursing smoker battalion clustered outside on the street
corner. It's the sort of place where, if you're locked out of your
apartment without a cell phone, the staff will let you borrow the house
phone to make a call. (Trust me, I know.)

But not for much longer. Gus Rancatore, the Toscanini's proprietor
who rescued the Someday once before when he bought the business about
four years ago, didn't renew the September lease. Rancatore says the
paperwork got lost in the mail and that the landlord of the building
- Mel Fraiman, who also owns the Somerville Theatre and the Arlington
Capital Theatre - didn't bother to issue a reminder about its
pending expiration. Meanwhile, Peter Creyf began negotiating with
Fraiman to rent the space for Mr. Crêpe, Creyf's
French-pancake-making business previously located on Holland Street.
Creyf ended up signing a lease - and the Someday has to be out at the
end of August.

And that's where things stood on Sunday. But Creyf had willingly
offered to talk about alternatives with the community - in his words,
"sticking my neck out more than I even should" - especially since
two Someday employees, Tanya Hahnel and Danielle Sullivan, had quickly
drawn up a six-page business plan about how to keep the Someday alive.
So, with Somerville mayor Joseph Curtatone present, Ward Six alderman
Rebekah Gewirtz moderating, and photocopies of a Zippy cartoon in which
the Someday gets name-checked strewn about, Creyf explained that due to
the deadlines imposed by another business he owns, the chances that the
Someday would remain in this space were "very small." But he said
that if he could find another spot nearby, he'd be willing to sign
over the lease to a staff co-op.

Mo Lotman, Someday customer and artistic director of the improv troupe
Kitsch in Sync, presented Creyf with 1300 signatures - collected in
four days - supporting the Someday's survival. Many people
suggested that since Mr. Crêpe had great pancakes and nobody loved the
Someday for its food, why couldn't they merge? Creyf likened business
ventures to marriage and answered bluntly, "Danielle and Tanya look
like great people, but I don't know them." There was a consensus
that pancakes weren't the enemy and that the Someday had lately
suffered from mismanagement. (Rancatore wasn't there, but it was an
uncontested assumption that the Someday had recently been operating at
a loss.) But nearly everybody wanted to see the Someday stay.

Curtatone and Gewirtz pledged to start making phone calls, perhaps
looking into an empty storefront down the road where the old Buck a
Book used to be; Creyf promised to wait seven to 10 days to see if they
could find him another space. Supporters pleaded with Creyf. "If you
can make this work," a retired businessman told him, "you've got
thousands of built-in customers ready to hug you and eat all your

John Hildebidle

Jul 23, 2006, 6:34:41 PM7/23/06
Which is to say, split the store into two parts, one for the Someday,
one for Mr. Crepe. Both get location, location, location. Someday
returns to its origins, both establishments get modest but manageable


Jul 23, 2006, 8:47:28 PM7/23/06
to Someday Community
But could they do it without spilling a single drop of coffee?

Seriously, given Creyf's previous business performance, any association
with him looks inauspicious.

Love, Columbine

Steve Witham

Jul 24, 2006, 1:47:08 AM7/24/06
to Someday Community
I notice that the original space where the Someday was-- now inside the
lobby of the movie theater-- seems to be being wasted by the theater.

Maybe the Someday coop (S-cup/S-coop, maybe S-cup with a umlaut made of
tiny o's?) could either sublet the lobby, or run all the concessions
for the theater. Coffee, popcorn, candy, ice cream (does the theater
have their own ice cream?) and a space for non- or pre- theatergoers to
sit. Not sure how people sitting in the lobby before shows that have a
long line would work.

Ron Newman

Jul 24, 2006, 8:48:19 AM7/24/06
to Someday Community

Steve Witham wrote:
> I notice that the original space where the Someday was-- now inside the
> lobby of the movie theater-- seems to be being wasted by the theater.

It may seem that way when only movies are playing. But when there's a
live show, that place fills up. I remember the old lobby, before
expansion, and it was claustrophobic.

andrew sarno

Jul 24, 2006, 8:56:55 AM7/24/06
just my two cents but I can't imagine anyone at this point wants to do
business with the fraimans other than to draw off their foot traffic.
Fraiman = S-C-U-M.

Ron Newman

Jul 25, 2006, 9:11:05 AM7/25/06
to Someday Community
The Somerville News web site has a second article today. I assume it
will also appear in print tomorrow.

Employees work to keep spirit of Someday alive
By David Taber

Mayor Joseph A. Curatone met with employees of the embattled Someday
Café twice last week, and pledged his support for efforts to open an
employee owned coffee shop in Davis Square.

"We want to do everything we can to keep the spirit of the Someday
alive," said Meghan Silverberg, Curtatone's public information

Earlier this month Someday Cafe employees learned the shops' owner,
Gus Rancatore, forgot to renew the lease allowing the building's
landlord, Richard Fraiman, to lease the space to Peter Creyf,
proprietor of Mr. Crepe restaurant.

Shortly thereafter, five employees began discussing the possibility
of buying Rancatore out, renewing the lease, and operating the store as
an employee-owned cooperative. At a public meeting July 16 both
Fraiman and Creyf indicated that they might be interested in working
with the group if they could find a new space in Davis Square for Creyf
to move in to.

But at a meeting in the café Wednesday July 19, Curtatone informed
them that Fraiman was not willing to rent to the group. "Basically
the mayor and {Gewirtz} officially told us that Fraiman wasn't going
to lease the space to us," said Chris Miller, a manager at the
Someday and a member of the collective trying to continue the cafe.

Now the group is looking for a new space and a new name, Miller

Participants in the someday community Google Group, which sprung up
shortly after community members learned the coffee shop might close,
were quick to start suggesting new names once it became clear that the
current café could not be salvaged. Nine messages under the new name
suggestions string appeared July 19, including suggestions such as,
"Tomorrow Café," "Somewhere Café," "Somehow Café" and
"Someway Café." Another poster suggested 'Jeff's' in honor
of Jeff Hale, an original Someday owner who is now deceased.

Tanya Hahnel and Danielle Sullivan, two of the employees interested
in opening a new Someday Café, met with Curtatone and Jim Kostaras,
Director of Strategic Planning and Community Development to begin
discussing ways the city could support the now nameless coffee shop.

The mayor promised to help the group find a new location and help them
secure loans or grants to start their new business up, said Silverberg.

"No specifics were discussed, the conversation is still very much
in its infancy stages," Silverberg said.

Hahnel, who works at the Malden Housing Authority as well as the
Someday, said that while she is grateful for any support the city might
offer, the group is not counting on public funds to cover their start
up costs.

"With federal funds all grants and loans are restricted to low income
or percentage minority areas, so their hands are tied for most of Davis
Square," she said.

She said the group is going to be relying on fundraising efforts and
funding from private groups that have similar interests.

"We are hoping for support from arts councils and groups that
support small businesses or employee owned and operated businesses.
The problem is that most of these groups don't have large amounts of
funds to invest," Hahnel said.

The Brookline based ICA Group, a not-for-profit consulting firm that
specializes in strengthening employee-owned cooperatives and
community-based projects is advising the Someday group.

Hahnel said that they had already been working on two business plans,
one to reflect costs if they managed to keep the space and one in the
event that they lost it.

"What we have right now is a good idea of what numbers we need to
have for a good business plan," she said. They are hoping to rely in
part on enthusiastic community support to defray renovation costs, she

"A lot of people have volunteered to help us who have done work in
the store, who we have established working relationships with,"
Hahnel said.

But moving to a new space, with added costs like building new
counters, installing plumbing for the espresso machine, installing
sinks, an ice machine, and a sound system, make the project more
challenging, she said.

But the group is dedicated to meeting the challenge.

Hahnel said the group is committed to creating a new space to fill the
void that many perceive the closing of the Someday in mid-August will
leave in the community. "We would like to have a coffee shop that
continues to function as a cross between private and public space,"
she said.

Hahnel said that if the new Someday Cafe gets off the ground, the
group would be interested in working to set up a community based fund
for Davis Square to support local businesses and insure that community
members can have greater say in the neighborhoods future.

"There is no reason a business would not be able to donate ten
percent of its profits to a fund to help keep Davis Square affordable.
We would love to be able to buy back in that sense," she said.

Ron Newman

Jul 28, 2006, 10:13:51 AM7/28/06
to Someday Community
>From this week's Somerville Journal:

The Someday was our magnetic north
By Georgiana Cohen
Thursday, July 27, 2006 - Updated: 11:23 AM EST

It's raining in Somerville, as another round of summer afternoon
storms rolls through. I'm inside the Someday Café in Davis Square,
and it smells like a mildewy old shoe - but it's not the weather,
it's just always like that. Still, I'm grateful, not just for the
shelter, but this particular shelter. It's been a safe harbor to me
in more ways than one.

My laptop is open, and I'm peck-peck-pecking away at article
pitches and query letters. Beside me, my friend Alison sits,
peck-peck-pecking away at her own MFA graduate coursework. I catch the
eyes of the pedestrians walking by the window where I'm stationed,
hastily heading toward home or dinner dates with umbrellas in tow.
I've already put away a brownie and a mango milkshake, to my diet's

We are on what she calls "writing dates." For nearly a year now,
we've been meeting here every week or so with our laptops. The
conversation is minimal; the shared company is mainly a sort of
competitive encouragement. You sort of don't want to be the one
slacking and gazing off into the distance when the other is furiously
typing away, in fast pursuit of some creative spark. These dates end up
being very productive for both of us, and the Someday has provided an
ideal locale with its late hours and tasty treats.

But in a few weeks, we'll have to find a new roost. The Someday
Café is closing its doors for good.

The particulars behind the unexpected closure of this Davis Square
hotspot are messy and accusatorial - a forgotten lease expiration, an
indifferent landlord, an outraged community. But at the end of the day,
what matters is that there is no tomorrow for the Someday. Its future
is at best uncertain - there are unsubstantiated rumors it will re-open
elsewhere - and at worst, its days are numbered.

Lots of people don't care. Good riddance, even. They rightfully
decry the shabby furniture (once, an armchair peed on by a homeless man
was innocently set out on the curb, where it was duly snatched up by
someone who couldn't have known any better), the threadbare carpet,
the foul restroom. They protest the deadbeats who linger in the
Someday, distressing yuppies equipped with novels and lattes.

But right now, amid the bustle of conversation and the gentle lilt
of the songwriter on the stereo and the churn of the coffee machine,
all swirling behind me in a caffeinated symphony, I can't help but
smile. It's hard to reconcile that this place is about to close.
Since I moved to Somerville nearly three years ago, I've stockpiled a
lot of great memories from the Someday, mainly owing to the Scrabble
group my friend and former co-worker, Lis, organized here back in 2003.

That group was the germ of something much greater. Out of a simple
Sunday night gathering of word nerds was born a true-hearted posse of
people bound to one another and reveling in the company. We've had
potlucks and Secret Santas, mix CDs and dance parties, break-ups and
hook-ups, and adventures galore. The sense of belonging I feel with
this group, dubbed "The Merry Band," is like none other.

But now our point of origin, our default destination, our magnetic
north is being ousted from the map.

I understand why this is happening. The Someday Café is an
institution whose time has come. Every neighborhood is subject to this
ebb and flow. I can't be like some folks, who are launching
petitions, scouring new locations or even threatening to move out of
Somerville entirely. I accept the Someday's fate, though not without
some grief.

So my friends and I are planning one last Scrabble night, to gather
around coffee and cookies and triple word scores and revel in the flaws
that made the Someday ours and so many others'- the raucous toilet
lid slams that resound from the bathroom; the sketchy clientele who
provide no end of anxiety and amusement; the lengths we went to ensure
that whoever made it on a particular Sunday night would be able to
play. We'll miss the characters we've encountered over the years -
Laptop Stalker, Throat-Clearing Guy, the shady men who mutter charming
aphorisms like "I'm gonna break your neck" while not so subtly
swigging from nips of gin, any number of loud cell phone
conversationalists, and the list goes on.

The Someday has cultivated a mini-civilization of endearing
oddities and oddballs, a collection in which I do not deny we exist - I
bet that someone is crafting a similar missive including "those Sunday
night Scrabble geeks." The closing of the café changes little if
anything about how we will function as friends, or as residents of
Somerville - Alison and I will find someplace else to write, we will
all find somewhere else to play Scrabble - but it does leave a hole. It
may be a dimly lit, shabby dump, but it was our dimly lit, shabby dump
- and in our sky, it shone brightly nonetheless.

Georgiana Cohen is a writer who lives and works in Somerville.

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages