Caffé Italia, hidden in a tiny strip mall in one of Lincoln’s off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, is one of those places that people who love eating dream of finding.
I first went to Caffé Italia with my now husband when we had just begun dating. One of our old college professors that Matthew kept in touch with hung out at the restaurant every Friday night. He invited us to join his eclectic group of friends — artists, scholars, writers, photographers — for Caffé Italia’s Friday night dinner.
The menu only had one item each night, and everyone got it. Over the years, I remember eating some delicious lasagna and lots of homemade, light pasta tossed with perfect sauces. When the restaurant ran out of the menu item that night, that was it.
The restaurant’s half-dozen glass-topped tables were filled with an eclectic crowd. Noise levels in the small space could become deafening as the night went on. It wasn’t music, though, or kitchen noise that filled the space. It was good conversation.
During that first dinner — and the many that followed — I talked to people about books they were writing. Photography projects they were working on. International travel. Politics. Cooking. Documentaries they were filming. The future of journalism.
I also learned to love drinking from a tiny, frosty glass filled with tart Limoncello.
Caffé Italia doesn’t serve its dinners any more. After closing temporarily, the restaurant re-opened for breakfast. A barista makes all sorts of drinks with Italian Lavazzara coffee and there’s a selection of scones and biscotti. The restaurant served both coffee and sweets before it closed. Now, it just draws a crowd in the morning rather than the evening.
I had a latte and a buttery, flaky scone dotted with figs and pistachios. Matthew ate his scone with an inky-black, rich Americano. Caffé Italia is still as good as ever.
That morning, we missed our college professor by just a few minutes.
Caffé Italia | 2110 Winthrop Rd | Lincoln, NE | 402-489-4949