Cappuccino in the Midwest

N. has lived in the Midwest since 2003. Still, he doesn’t seem to understand what the area is about. Every time we go to a restaurant here, he asks for a cappuccino.

“A what?” a waiter asks, looking as mystified as if we requested blinis with caviar.

“A cappuccino,” N. responds, undaunted.

“Erm. . . we don’t have anything like that,” the waiter always says uncomfortably. “We might have some decaf, though.”

Time and again, I have tried telling N. that we are in the Midwest and all that restaurants serve is a strange, sad-looking liquid with a smell of burnt day-old coffee grounds they proudly pass for coffee.

N.’s faith in humanity is such, though, that he keeps looking for a cappuccino at Midwestern restaurants.

12 thoughts on “Cappuccino in the Midwest

  1. I have to say I really do not think your comments about the midwest are accurate.

    Is the lack of cappuccino or mix up of aerobic and arabic of a student due to your location in the midwest?

    I would argue the colloquially american nature of the people you encounter is largely due to living in a more rural location. I currently live in upstate New York and regularly encounter confederate flags, extremely conservative attitudes, and ignorance about current events/history/other parts of the world. I also have experienced similar people in rural Oregon, California, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maine.

    Small town america does not equal midwestern America.


    1. ‘I have to say I really do not think your comments about the midwest are accurate.”

      -Are you suggesting that I’m inventing all this, or what??

      Is St. Louis a big enough city for you?

      I also have lived in upstate New York (Ithaca), and there is absolutely no comparison between there and the Midwest. It’s a different world.


  2. Well, Ithaca isn’t representative of Upstate New York, from what I can tell. Ithaca is more like what would happen if Portland Oregon and Portland, Maine both threw up in the general direction of the center of the U.S. and Ithaca sprouted up.

    I think it depends on the Midwestern restaurant, too. I mean, any Italian joint worth its salt, Midwest or not, will have cappucino. What we have out here in the Midwest, though, are a lot of the “greasy spoon diner” kind of places, which are cultural worlds of their own. Too much food, too much grease, burnt coffee that the server will keep warming up your cup with even if you’ve only had one swallow since she was last by (and she’ll dribble on your entree to do it), a basket of 7 year old crackers and breadsticks, and dessert as part of the meal whether you want it or not. Usually owned by a family that’s either Polish or Greek, with house specialties reflecting that ethnicity (which are usually AMAZING)…but rarely cappucino.

    Tell him to order the pierogi or baklava and then head over to Starbucks for his cappuccino.:-)

    (Thoreau, you have clearly never had truly wonderful coffee. 🙂


  3. How about Midwestern coffee shops? Yeah? Intelligentsia (Chicago)? Alterra (Milwaukee)? Have you ever actually been to the Midwest?


  4. Would you kindly direct me to your post in which you tell us exactly where you live? Or just tell me? I don’t like reading all that much.


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