All In The Name: The Meaning Of 'Intermezzo'

“What’s in a name?” said Juliet to Romeo in the classic Shakespearian tale.

Well, at Café Intermezzo, the answer is a lot.

The combination of the words “café” and “intermezzo” were chosen and combined with great purpose by President/Founder Brian Olson. Together, they describe the core essence of what this coffeehouse aims to provide customers, both in physical and experiential offering.

“‘Intermezzo’ is an Italian word that was created for the opera. And it means, literally, ‘intermission’…something between two points,” Brian explained.

“The use of ‘intermezzo’ in our case was to create the reality that someone could come in for a coffee or a break in their day and have their own intermezzo in their day between the acts, if you will, the acts of their life.”

What those breaks encompass is left to interpretation by guests.

“They’ve historically come in with reading materials, which is what I witnessed a lot in European coffeehouses in Vienna and in other places in Europe. They read a book, write in a journal…of course in the modern world now, they’ll bring an iPad or a computer.”

In fact, according to ‘The Economist’, it can be said that coffeehouses were an original form of ‘social media.’

“The coffee-houses that sprang up across Europe, starting around 1650, functioned as information exchanges for writers, politicians, businessmen and scientists. Like today's websites, weblogs and discussion boards, coffee-houses were lively and often unreliable sources of information that typically specialized in a particular topic or political viewpoint,” the Economist wrote.

“Rumours, news and gossip were also carried between coffee-houses by their patrons, and sometimes runners would flit from one coffee-house to another within a particular city to report major events such as the outbreak of a war or the death of a head of state.”

Café Intermezzo: All In The Name

Learn more about the inspiration by the place that's brought a taste of Europe to America for nearly forty years.

While Intermezzo can serve as a place for individuals to reflect, read, or work remotely, quality time shared with friends, family, and coworkers has, since it first opened in 1979, added a palpable liveliness to the environment.

And whether over coffee and pastry, a drink at the bar, or a full meal…whether at breakfast time or late-nite, Brian’s original and still-standing mission is that one never feel rushed to leave.

“As people become more acclimated to or familiar with the European experience, I think they’ll be more willing to take that time, that break. The ones that did this religiously when we first opened were Europeans and people from other parts of the world. It’s a slow evolution, but Americans are learning that that’s a wonderful thing to do themselves.”

Cited: The Economist, 'The Internet In A Cup';