Once upon a time–wow, all the way back in 2007–I stopped drinking caffeine. Cold turkey. No coffee. No soda. (Yes, still chocolate. Let’s not be crazy.)
If I had buckets of money, patience to figure out Roman building permits, and know how on Italian labor laws, I would open a Waffle House in downtown Rome. Or a Waffle House like restaurant. It would make a killing. Lemme ‘splain.
Italians don’t really do breakfast. Nick Kroll was not too far from the truth when he said breakfast would be a cigarette and a bar of chocolate for Europeans.
Italians are crazy for coffee. I’ll see people come in, order an espresso, down it at the bar, and leave before I can even figure out how to get my stroller through the door. Cappuccinos are for morning; never for afternoon. It is my understanding that Italians believe milk interferes with digestion.
You may see someone get a pastry. A cornetto is an Italian croissant. I like them quite a bit, but they are different than French croissants. A cornetto is denser and less flaky. They do come with fillings. Nutella and apricot jam seem to be particularly popular.
I can’t say what Romans do in the comfort of their own homes, but this seems to be the standard breakfast. Some combination of espresso beverage and cigarettes.
I miss American breakfasts. Big plates of pancakes with syrup streaming down the sides. Cheesy omelets. Crispy bacon. Toast with jam AND butter. Back home, we usually had breakfast out on Saturday or Sunday. It was awesome. Breakfast food is thankfully pretty easy to make at home, but sometimes it isn’t just the same.
You will see places that advertise brunch here. I accompanied some friends to a brunch buffet not too long ago. They had sushi, pasta, salad, meats and cheeses. It was nice. But there wasn’t anything particularly breakfasty about it. I’ve heard from others that many other “brunch” places are similar.
Enter my brilliant idea. A breakfast joint in Rome. Even if it was just a greasy spoon, I think it would make a killing. First you get the ex-pats, then you get the tourists, then maybe, just maybe, you get the Italians. Probably not for breakfast, but possibly at 9:00 pm.