This entry refers to a departed business that has closed or left town.
All information here is for historical reference only.
The downtown Roma closed, and was replaced by a Peet's Coffee. The campus Roma closed (2007-02-28)—the owner decided to call it quits due in large part to lease issues. Aggie story There was discussion about an effort to Turn Cafe Roma into a Co-Op.
|231 E Street #A, next to Chipotle across from E Street Plaza.|
|Daily 6:00AM - 10:00PM|
Espresso Roma Café was the full name of this café. There are two locations in Davis: the Café Roma downtown was sometimes referred to as "Espresso Roma," while the Roma by campus was simply "Café Roma." These names were incorrect but widely used (often inconsistently).
Both Romas were patronized mainly by students in need of a cozy place to study. There were often shows at the Romas: local bands often played, folks gathered to do poetry readings, and there was (at least during the school year) weekly stand-up comedy. The motto for Roma, as printed on the cups, was "Liquid Culture." The Romas were unique among the coffee shops in Davis because they provided a laid-back atmosphere, good music, and great coffee (get Dina or Dan to make it!) without being pretentious.
Campus Roma was home to a healthy suite of regulars, some of who were there nearly all day long, seven days a week. Commendably, the cafe was friendly to a contingent of Davis' unsheltered population, including many who were involved in The Spare Changer. The cafe could seem a little neglected, however. The many "trick" chairs which to the naked eye looked like normal chairs were really just broken. Going with the theme, the bathrooms were generally dirty, the floors were unswept and the plants were dying. Quality of service depended greatly on who wes working. Occasionally the counter would be devoid of help. Sadly this was often just because the employee was outside smoking, socializing or enjoying some fresh air. Give them credit though; cafe work can be tiring! Adding to the relaxed vibe, a seemingly endless slew of former employees/regulars/friends could be seen behind the counter sampling the goods or conducting some sort of tasks. Non-employees often pitched in and helped out when a task needed helpers. Campus Roma was a real community cafe with a set of players not often found in today's sterile corporate world. Roma was an out-of-town corporation, which may not have met many people's definition of a real community cafe
Both Romas accepted only cash, period! They also both, of course, featured wireless internet. The mochas were good, but last I tried, the smoothie wasn't very....
They were practically never asked to make smoothies, so they usually weren't very good.
Because of the close proximity of both Cafe Romas, it was best to be explicit as to which Roma you're referring if you were meeting somebody there or flyering for a show.
The windows and lighting of Campus Roma allows for a surreal feel at night time Campus Roma also had full-length windows as walls, and the light poured into the place beautifully This is Dan. He ran the Campus Roma and is the best person ever. He didn't normally wear goggles like this, but that's just the sort of thing that happens when you're a rockstar. He's also a member of ChoadBot and Legubitron.
The hour of closing, pic #1 -AndrewLeonard
The hour of closing, pic #6 -AndrewLeonard
Cafe Roma by campus occupied two different locations within the building that houses Off-Campus Books. Until c. 1990 it was in the space that faces across A St. to the UC campus and then moved to the space across the alley from where Campus Charbroil/Ali Baba is and faced 3rd St. Roma remained their until moving to the former Cyclebells Bar space where it remained until closing. Campus Roma was designed by the same person who designed that nifty purple building at the intersection of 3rd & B.
Downtown Roma was shut down on Feb. 1st 1995 by the city due to health concerns. After they came back into compliance they re-opened, but this was not the first time they'd closed their doors due to health issues.
The Campus Roma was originally only allowed to have no more than 24 seats, due to some strange city law. The management completed an extensive survey, and convinced the Davis Planning Commission to allow them to have a reasonable number of seats on June 23rd of 1996.
In late 2005 there were significant rumors that Cafe Roma by Campus would be closing. The owner of the property, Ching Chang of College Town Realty, had not let them re-sign their lease for a period of time, and has instead been negotiating with Cafe Mediterranee as a possible renter. The owner of the Cafe Roma chain had no plans to shut down the Campus location, and was unaware that the property owner was looking into finding a new renter. It's been speculated that Cafe Mediterranee decided not to pursue the property due to its lack of parking, but this could be incorrect. Nevertheless, for a short period of time it didn't seem like Campus Roma was going anywhere. (Aggie article on the potential leave). However, it eventually did close. 3rd & U Cafe later set up shop in the former location of the cafe closest to campus.
Note: You must be logged in to add comments
Dan makes a mean bagel sandwich. He has skill. The dark haired male with all the arm tattoos creates amazing lattés. The music has a lot of variety but is always the best when the strawberry-blond girl is working. Melvins! Einsturzende Neubauten! - TaliaJewell
2005-06-10 07:38:36 Dan makes the best drink ever: Chocolate plus Coffee—Heaven in a Cup —NiareeHopelian
2005-06-11 00:10:59 I don't know why this place is always crowded. The chairs are terrible, there's no parking, they even ran out of mocha syrup when I was there. —AshleyOrsaba
2005-06-23 10:54:45 Prior to working in Davis, I once had to lead a caravan of cars and trucks filled with band equipment to the Downtown Roma. What's with those dividers in the road? We had to circle around, and finally ask for directions, just to find a decent spot to park and unload. Interesting place none the less. —MichelleAccurso
2005-11-08 03:24:46 campus roma is like, the only place i ever go. in davis i mean. —InnaKurikova
2005-11-08 19:32:45 This place is more lounge than coffee shop, that's what makes it sooo cool. There is no place which one feels as welcome just for dropping in. They have one of the best bulletin boards for concerts and other local events, plus this is probably the most popular place for local rock shows. BTW, its location makes it the Constantinople of Davis. —SteveDavison
2005-11-15 18:55:34 Please folks, this is a crappy cafe, that smells bad and has bad biter burnt coffee... the atmosphere is great if you like stepping over homeless guys dogs, and I would never go there if it weren't for their live performances... good riddance —LloydWaldo
2005-11-15 19:28:23 I think it's great that homeless guys hang out at roma. I love how laid back it is, I feel like I can relax, unlike at Mishka's. And why did you (LloydWaldo) delete my comment on the Mishka's page by the way? —KenjiYamada
2005-12-06 11:54:46 The people that work there are... strange, to say the least. They seem to be stoned every time I go in there. The music that is performed generally sucks ass. ... —StaceyGalbreath
"...strange", "...stoned..." "music...sucks ass."? What is the problem? Maybe you should just go to EvilCafe where everything is nice and homogeneous.
2006-01-09 12:21:01 Everything positive on this page is true. Would it ruin the informality and casual atmosphere, etc., if they just CLEANED the place now and then and had the staff observe some basic food-handling etiquette? I'm not saying they need to start using hair nets or plastic gloves, but they should wash their hands frequently (technically, the same person should not be handling both money and food items). And the guys/gals with long hair ought to tie it back, and wash their hands after their smoke breaks. Back when it was still hot, the flies were everywhere I realize that this was a Davis-wide problem. But at Roma it had reached revolting proportions, and one of the staff took to swatting them right on the countertop and table surfaces without cleaning them up.
Certainly there is othing wrong with a non-corporate look, dilapidated chairs, or homeless people for that matter—I don't object—but cognizance of the consequences ought to be taken, to make the atmosphere more pleasant. I can't accept the idea that cleanliness per se makes for a sterile, corporate atmosphere. That's fatuous. The pastries are rather stale, too, even "today's." Between that and the filth factor, I've largely cut out going there —NicholasCorwin
2006-01-14 18:48:18 when i came here with my brother, he ordered the roma salad that may have been the worst salad i have ever seen in my life. it was unetible. it smelled like a combination of feet and old lockeroom. absolutely disgusting. their atmosphere may be relaxed and all, but dont serve wrotten crap. im all for a layed back atmosphere as long as the place could just be semi clean. this was a nasty experience. —MattHh
2006-02-11 10:29:05 foo's the salads are really good and they use gloves. the coffee is excellent but the place is a little old. also the pastries are much better as of late. it is an open living room. look for more improvements in the coming months. disclaimer - i work there —DanielReid
2006-03-16 18:58:30 Hilariously, the campus roma has had music shows during finals week for the past few quarters. —PhilipNeustrom
2006-03-16 20:02:52 On the official website of espresso roma it only lists off the e street roma. WTF? Yo Richard, get some recognition! —RobRoy
2006-04-02 21:05:06 It's getting weirder, or worse, or both. Now the front door has been boarded up, and the quota of derelicts has increased to the point at which they dominate. How anyone in his right mind could stand it in there is beyond me. They have completely neglected everything, including the storefront and adjacent areas, to such an extent that the cafe is becoming an eyesore even from a distance. It should be shut down, taken over by new owners and renovated, even if the prices go up. Enough is enough. This is the block directly adjacent to campus, meaning that it should have decent stores that a) serve our needs and b) make at least a halfway decent impression on visitors. Let's get rid of this blight. —NicholasCorwin
2006-04-03 00:05:55 First, the 'derelicts' would never refer to you the way you condescend on them. Don't be such a jerk. Second, the door will hopefully be replaced by next weekend. As for the 'lets get rid of this blight,' comment, Power to the People! Down with Roma! —DanielReid
2006-04-03 01:12:34 Cafe Roma rules and is one of my favorite places in Davis. Regarding the front door, its not that big a deal since there are three other entrances. It hasn't changed the comfort level. And the management recently painted the back wall, so they're doing progressive things —BrianAng
2006-04-03 02:09:01 Filthy place. Crappy cafe. But they have couches.. —JesseSingh
2006-04-03 03:08:58 I like how people who hate the dirtiness tend to think it's a crappy cafe, and people who don't care about dirt seem to find their coffee delicious. I'm impartial, as I hate coffee/etc., but Roma is definitely an amazing place to sit around at. I also find their salads to be delicious, and the Balad to be a good deal. —GiladGurantz
People who find places like Roma "filthy" have become so bourgeoisified1 in their outlook that they would rather have the world converted into a giant shopping mall than put up with a little unpurged humanity. —ZN
How're hyperbolic arguments working for you? —JS
If they provoke reconsideration, then they achieve the desired effect. One drawback of this tactic, however, is that it generally only influences those who surround the target and not the target itself, which is unfortunate, because it's the target who stands to gain something from reconsideration. —ZN
2006-04-03 20:07:49 Conflating basic hygiene and sanitation with being "corporate" or "bourgeois" is affected, pretentious, and just plain silly. Certainly there is nothing wrong with having dilapidated sofas, informality, music, etc. But have you no pride in yourselves, as members of the human race? Do you enjoy wallowing in filth? Remember, this is not a private club or someone's apartment, it is, at least in theory, a restaurant/cafe open to the public, and as such it needs to conform to some minimal health and safety standards. I'm not suggesting that you change the menu, redecorate, etc., only that you observe basic food-handling procedures. Sure, leave the graffiti in the restroom, but for heaven's sake clean it! You don't have to hire someone without tattoos—and, presumably, since tattoos don't wash off, why can't everyone wash his or her hands regularly? Judas Priest, you'd all feel better into the bargain! —NicholasCorwin
What are the food handling procedures you're refering to that Roma employees don't follow? The employees do exactly the same thing as employees at Starbucks and Mishka's, in my experiences. —PhilipNeustrom
2006-04-03 20:15:51 You have different, and not necessarily better, standards that prevents you from enjoying the Roma. It's not that dirty. —BrianAng
No doubt my "standards" "prevents" me from savoring filth. But what can you expect in a country where about 3/5 of men and 1/5 of women don't wash their hands after using the restroom? —NicholasCorwin
Nick, take a few minutes to look up the word "bourgeois" in the Oxford English Dictionary. You'll be surprised with the diversity and aptness of its definitions. Just for starters, it is not synonymous with "corporate." —ZN
My dear Zachary: 1) Kindly refrain from taking the liberty of modifying my name in accordance with the lamentable inability of many Americans to remember names containing more than one syllable. My name is Nicholas, not "Nick." It has never been "Nick." "Nick" is a verb or noun which describes what happens when one cuts oneself slightly while shaving, or endures a similar minor mishap with a pair of scissors, perhaps. 2) Given that I am a Ph.D. student in European history and already have a master's degree in the subject, I can assert with confidence that I possess a reasonably clear understanding of what the term "bourgeois" means. Namely, I understand it well enough to know that the typical middle-class UCD poseur (poser) typically hasn't the foggiest idea what he or she is talking about when he or she bandies the term about as an all-purpose epithet for what he or she simply doesn't like. Loaded words like "fascist" and "Nazi" often receive similar treatment. American middle-class youth yearning to rebel from "the system" without putting up with any of the real sacrifice or inconvenience that would truly entail have been hurling "bourgeois" around for decades. You can find it even in The Catcher in the Rye, written more than fifty-five years ago. Holden has a friend in his prep school, no less, who is fond of calling everything "bourgeois": "Even my fountain pen was bourgeois. He borrowed it off me all the time, but it was bourgeois anyway." As it happens, I don't object to the charge of being bourgeois, because, unlike the hypocrites around this place, I freely admit to having a bourgeois upbringing and to being a product of that. Serious historical criticism of bourgeois values and practices is extremely important, and has absolutely nothing to do with enforcing standards of hygiene at a coffeehouse in Davis, California in the year 2006.
Let me reiterate that I have never intimated that Roma should change its menu, music, artwork, sofas, or even its tolerance of the "unsheltered." The staff does not need to wear uniforms, etc. Keeping the place clean would not require sacrificing anything except some exertion and effort. Now, despite having had a bourgeois childhood, I daresay I probably have considerably more direct experience in the real world of the working class than most UCD students who think they are suddenly one with the toilers of the earth because they work at the CoHo or some such. Besides having been an enlisted man in the Navy, I have also worked as a janitor and maintenance person; both of these jobs brought me into considerable contact with real proletarians, the kind of people the average college student has nothing at all to say to, the kind of people who never go to college and would never consider even a J.C. Yes I have shovelled shit for a living, is that "non-boogie" enough for you? And in the service one keeps the barracks and food-serving areas clean not because of a bourgeois fetish, but to minimize the spread of disease. From being a janitor and cleaning "the head," I can attest that any reasonably intelligent, able-bodied person, equipped with ordinary tools and supplies, can, if so motivated, make any bathroom as clean as the one at the Waldorf Astoria. It costs very little and takes perhaps half an hour, less if it's done regularly. So invoking the term "bourgeois" is simply an excuse for indifference and sloth. Believe me, the real Communists were nothing like that. I think it's safe to say that Leon Trotzky and V.I. Lenin were committed as anyone to the destruction of the bourgeois. Yet, while Trotzky was in exile in New York City and used to frequent various delicatessens on the Lower East Side, he wouldn't even tip unless the service was perfect, so it's hard to imagine that he would look at Roma's current state with anything short of contempt. And V.I. Lenin paid his bills scrupulously on time and used solvents to keep his woollen suits free of stains and dirt. If you prefer dirt and human grease, as a significant proportion of Davis's well-off and badly aging baby-boomer population seems to do, that's your prerogative, but spare the half-educated pseudo-intellectual palaver.—NicholasCorwin
I'll be a gentleman and begin by apologizing for earlier flippancy ;) Now to my rebuttal.
With the exception of your glib apologia for having bourgeois values, I can empathize with your position, but before I respond, you should realize a few things: first, although this should be irrelevant to the main line of this thread, I did not mean to trigger an upset by using the shortened version of your name. My best friend's name is Nicholas, and he prefers Nick. Maybe that is an American thing, I don't know. Second, let's set aside presumption and impertinence for awhile, and consider the heart of the issue: namely, whether "Roma is filthy" is a reasonable proposition. This means sticking to basics and avoiding all the trappings of intelligence and peripherally relevant banter (and yes, I can be guilty of this at times too, so there's no need to take that last sentence personally).
Let me begin with a recollection from Biology 121, taken many moons ago: I recall going out into public venues armed with a bag of cotton swabs used to collect bacteria samples from various locations. The whole purpose of this little experiment was to surprise the students with unexpected results. I recall feeling quite disgusted, for instance, with the revelation that there was more bacteria on the handle of a urinal than on the inside, and I also recall the fountain bench having some nasty results. The point of this recollection is to illustrate the difficulty of gauging how "filthy" a place is based on appearances alone. I would be willing to bet that the next time you shake hands with a professor you're picking up more "filth" than anything you'd get ordering and consuming a sandwich at Café Roma, even if you decided to sit down on one of the ratty couches to eat (does your professor always wash his hands? Does everyone at Roma, including the customers, wash their hands?). Indeed, by any objective standard, it's doubtful that Roma is really so filthy as to warrant caution or complaint, which leads to other sources of aversion, such as aesthetic comparisons between venues, like Roma and Mishka's, or possibly some psychological component as yet undetermined. Since I brought up Mishka's, I'll use it as an example of the first possible cause of your evaluation.
You mentioned the bathrooms at Roma, and something about not washing one's hands, but let me remind you that Mishka's uses a nasty little contraption—a key on a basket—to gain access to their bathrooms. Even if people wash their hands, this little contraption makes the whole process of ablution pointless. So even though Mishka's appears more clean on the surface, if you consider how many times people come in and out of the bathroom, fondling that unwieldy contraption, then touching their chairs and tables, I would venture that it's actually comparatively more contaminated at the microscopic level at Mishka's than that Roma's. While this may not be entirely true, the possibility is real; but even if it's not, the point is simply this: one cannot judge the sanitation of a venue by appearance alone, and even if Roma were comparatively less "clean," it wouldn't make a bit of difference in terms of practical consequences. In fact, I read an article in the New York Times a few days ago suggesting that we're more likely to catch cold by isolating ourselves from social interaction. This is because more regular social exposure helps our immune system adapt to greater variety of potentially harmful germ strains. In other words, regular exposure to "filth" may actually be good for us, which would make Roma—if it were filthy, and I don't think it is (unless you're referring to the toilet alone, in which case I would have to concede some ground)—comparatively more salutary than Mishka's. This brings us to another possible source of your aesthetic evaluation.
I suggested earlier, implicitly, that the real reason people were turned off by Roma had more to do with psychology and upbringing than any objective measure of cleanliness. That is, my primary enthymeme—which I felt was clear, despite the brevity of my comment, but which in light of your response requires clarification—was that those who find Roma "filthy" have been conditioned by socioeconomic standards of living ("bourgeois" and, while I'm at it, "petit bourgeois") that have habituated them to a certain unrealistic sterility of appearance (related to the purblind "value system" chronicled in the OED—and if you like, we can get into primary sources). Because there is no rational basis for such an aesthetic expectation, it is self-evidently silly and pointless. I believe, more importantly, that such expectations of superficial cleanliness are drilled into us from an early age, if we are raised in an affluent or middle-class environment. In such environments, everything is expected to remain perpetually in order, perhaps on account of maid service or an overzealous housewife. Those fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be raised in such an environment come to take superficial cleanliness for granted, and they begin associating environments and individuals lacking in such standards with the lower classes, the so-called bottom 10th of society. The primary source of aversion for places like Roma, then, seems to derive from an association between superficial "dirtiness" and undesirable—and yes, perhaps even proletarian—standards of living/existence. Herein lies the substance behind my original comment.
You may disagree with that conjecture, but bringing up anecdotes, such as shoveling shit or Trotsky's tipping habits, does nothing to refute my position. Recall the basis for my latter arguments: if there is no real objective reason for finding Roma "filthy," then the real cause is likely psychological, and behind the psychological, as I see it, there is the socioeconomical. And so I ask you: if it is primarily psychological, what is its source? Here in America and elsewhere in the industrialized world, and perhaps to a greater extent in modern university towns like Davis, I believe we have lost touch with what I should call, in lieu of precise language, the more loose and carefree elements of living (not necessarily preindustrial standards—I'm not a proponent of historicism); in place of such elements, we have adopted a certain hyperclean, hyperaesthetic expectation, an expectation which projects certain unrealistic standards that are unwittingly entangled with real sociocultural issues. According to my position, therefore, it is quite unhealthy and selfish, beyond what you may be willing to admit, to put so much stock into such a knee-jerk, superficial evaluation of filth and unfilth. This is why I stand by my original criticism—even its personally directed overtones. —ZN
2006-04-03 21:06:55 When I first read the comment about not washing hands after smoking I told peeps to wash hands because it's the law and we're being called out on the wiki. Some other complaints are a little beyond the staff. The owner and property manager could greatly invest in the business/property were they so inclined. Finally, according to the health department we're clean and safe enough to operate. And didn't you notice those fresh (as in cool) "please wash hands" signs in the bathroom? —DanielReid
2006-04-03 23:32:21 Come to think of it, I think it's only fair that I put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. I hereby extend an offer to the management of Cafe Roma: For two weeks' worth of free coffee drinks (no lattes, etc., just black coffee), I will show you how the place ought to look—without destroying the art, sofas, "look," etc. I will get that head so clean that Felix Unger himself would be proud to go in there and take a dump. Give me cleanser, brush, and mop and let me at it. How about it? —NicholasCorwin
2006-04-04 13:20:20 All right, but one week of coffee in exchange for the clean head. (the management) —DanielReid
Serious? If so, email me (use the directory from the university's site) and we'll make plans. I've got to go out of town at the end of the week, and next week is Holy Week, so anytime after 17 April would work. —NC
Are you sure, Nicholas, that they were speaking literally about cleaning head?
[Sigh...] At my own risk do I forget that I am dealing with children. All right. I mean, and I meant, that I will clean the restroom at Roma. "Head" is the naval term for the same. They have different terms for the phenomenon you seem to have in mind. —NC
he he—I have no idea what they meant. But I think they should take up your offer, either way.
2006-04-13 23:07:30 The men's restroom in this cafe is now clean. And I mean clean. It took me over ten large bucketfuls of cleanser to extirpate the accumulated filth and grime. Consider it my good deed for Maundy Thursday. [Do I have to explain that to all you vile heathens out there?] So I have cleaned the head, ladies and gentlemen, with such punctiliousness and attention to detail that, verily, I am quite confident that my German grandmother, may she rest in peace, would be quite proud to go in there and take a dump. Next week I shall clean the women's Toilette. After that, the floors...before you know it, Roma will cease to be unsat and members of my department will again patronize it. —NicholasCorwin
Good on you, mate. -ZN
2006-04-14 00:44:48 I can't wait to take a shit at Roma! —KenjiYamada
2006-04-04 00:22:42 I found an eyelash or some kind of short hair in my latte. Which I wouldn't mind if the latte was better than just average. —DavisHo
2006-04-09 23:44:41 I must agree that Campus Roma is somewhat disgraceful. And I say this from experience, having been a regular for perhaps two years and the author of a good deal of the wiki discription. Before I get this off my chest though, let me point out that I did indeed enjoy the cafe very much when I was a patron. The place is filthy though! Only very rarely does the inside get swept/dry mopped (and it seems like Dan is the only one to ever clean). Cigarette butts and dustpiles have been known by me to lie for months uncleaned. Up until recently the bathrooms were in an even worse state with no soap and no paper towels for long periods. Further, there is just a general lack of money being spent on the place. Some of the chairs have been broken for years, one sofa broke so they just ripped the back off it and called it "cool" (notice it's not very popular) and the others are broken in their own ways. In a college town, where free and cheap couches are abundant, they're rediculous. A leak sprung up under the elevated seating area and ran for at least a week resulting in water damage that won't be repaired. And the broken front door? WTF!! It was disintigrating for at least a month before they even decided to close it off. I won't even get started on the certain employee(s) couldn't give a shit. While I got over all of this, many people don't. It's amazing how often I hear about people hating Roma due to it's cleanliness and/or attitude. —JackHaskel
2006-04-21 20:57:26 The 'cool' sofa is outside (for a day or two) if anyone wants it, and there's a better one inside. Oh, the front doors are replaced too, and will be varnished next week. —DanielReid
"2006-04-28" i like cafe roma, i go there a lot and order the mocha which is usually pretty good. Some of the employee's are nicer than others, typical of anywhere, but overall ya'll seem to be a bit short-staff lately. the people who say roma is dirty and gross. well i dunno. i find the womens bathroom to be pretty compariable to most campus bathrooms. This isn't the place for people who are in a rush, or people who can't stand a little dust. If ya'll are so worried about it, take a napkin and dust of the table yourself. The new couch thats cream is pretty nice, i prefer the gray chair. This place has the real pace of life, and that is it tends to change more slowly that freaking starbucks or some place that have color cordinated art and employees and tables and chairs which are pretty much the same on every street corner its on. Pretty much my favorite place to study and feed my caffiene addiction off campus. maybe a roma chair search should be in order? moving? bring your old chair. Now you are firmly intergrated in roma history because of your chair contribution. — KirstenHaney
2006-05-24 21:56:00 Some people have asked me to expand on the comment I made above about Roma being owned by an out-of-town corporation, a fact that may call into question its designation as a “real community cafe.” The cafe is owned by Sandy Boyd, whose Emeryville-based corporation owns more than twenty cafes in five states. While this doesn’t put Roma in the same league as Starbucks, it certainly puts something of a scratch in its independent veneer.
Why does this matter? The answer depends in part on what you think makes a cafe a “real community cafe.” Is it the groovy people who work and hang out there and who are groovy in ways that you like to think of yourself as being groovy, or is it the real impact (economic and otherwise) that the cafe has on the community?
I won’t rehearse here all of the details of the economics of local businesses, but I will make a few observations. In general, a greater percentage of the profits from locally-owned businesses stay in the local community, are re-spent in the local community (multiplier, anyone?), and generate taxes for the local community. When you buy your mocha at Roma, much of your dollar heads straight out of town. I don’t know who Roma’s suppliers are, but in general, locally-owned businesses are also more likely to rely on local suppliers than are larger corporations. Perhaps someone with more knowledge can let us know where they buy their milk and produce, who supplies their pastries, who roasts their coffee, etc.
Roma’s corporate ownership also takes decision-making and resources out of local hands. Boyd is a notorious skinflint. Many of his cafes have the dilapidated look and feel of the Davis Romas, as he is loath to pay for repairs, upgrades, and maintenance. A number have also been closed for health violations. While this is not necessarily a direct result of the cafes being owned by someone who lives far away, one can argue that an owner who was part of the community in which his business operated would be more likely to feel accountable to maintain his business well. —DavisExile
Thank you very much for this input. You have vindicated me, by giving the lie to those who invoke spurious claims to "community" and "individuality" to justify neglect, indifference, filth and, yes—aha—even corporate callousness. So, Zachary, my dear fellow, it turns out that Roma's filth is not hipster, but bourgeois, a result of greedheads who do, verily, place profits over people. In this case, the health, comfort and well-being of people are being subordinated to the false god of Profit. Seems like Roma is Davis's answer to Quark's, except that apparently neither the university nor the Yolo County Department of Health are willing to step into Captain Sisko's shoes to enforce high standards of decency and, yes, fair play. Until now I had no idea who owned Roma, or what the underlying dynamics of the situation were, but DavisExile's posting here explains a great deal. —NicholasCorwin
In case people were wondering, I decided to forgo responding to NC, who's clearly on a trolling mission. He's intentionally arguing like a buffoon, modeling Rush Limbaugh et al. (logical fallacies all the way down). He reminds me of a reverse Stephen Colbert. I let my dedication to the principle of charity get the best of me. —ZN
"Seems like Roma is Davis's answer to Quark's, except that apparently neither the university nor the Yolo County Department of Health are willing to step into Captain Sisko's shoes to enforce high standards of decency and, yes, fair play." — Isn't this, like the rest of your post, a little overblown? You say vindicated, more like vindictive. —DanielReid
I don't think so, in light of what DavisExile has brought to light. Maybe I should have said "Odo," he was after all the "constable" who had to keep an eye on Quark's. It isn't my fault that C.R. languishes in such a lamentable state. You can blather on all you like about community but my voice will be heard and I will never cease to oppose sloth and indifference, much as many of our misguided youth mistake these vices for being cool, hip or laid-back. Within twenty years we will elect a president that makes the current occupant of the White House look like the limousine-liberal pansy he is. There will be a mandatory draft for all able-bodied men AND women (defined very broadly); the term of service will last three years and include 12 weeks of boot camp, preferably in Texas. Anyone who refuses will spend 10 years at hard labor, followed by 5 years in prison. Failure to register and report for military service will be an absolute bar to attending college. And when all that happens, my dear boy, everyone will have proper standards of hygiene and grooming so ingrained in him or her that nobody will be constitutionally capable of operating any establishment in anything but a shipshape manner. —NicholasCorwin
2006-05-25 15:36:15 To his credit the owner keeps stores open that aren't making very much money, and even losing money because he believes in the value of the coffee shop to the community (students, artists, professors, neighbors, townies, musicians, friends, etc.). I do think that the place could be so much cooler with a little more investment but campus roma is still great even its "lamentable state," which has been so dissected on this page. So, to those of you with a more fundamentalist outlook, bring your Ayn Rand book, relax on one of our ghetto-fabulous couches, and enjoy that expertly crafted cappuccino!
2007-02-15 13:34:36 I don't want Campus Roma to leave!!!!!!! =( —EliseKane
2007-02-15 13:41:04 p.s. Campus Roma is a special place to me because it is the only place I can go in town that I can go in without feeling pressured to buy something. It is a vestige of pre-capitalist society and for that, it is a valuable place (metaphysically speaking). It is so unusual to have a cafe/lounge where people can study, relax, sleep ... what have you. Is there any way we can convince the owner and landlord to leave Campus Roma open? It is such a special place for this community. How about a Keep Campus Roma petition? Or a peaceful sit-in? —EliseKane
2007-02-16 00:06:12 The campus roma needed to have more baked goods. I really liked some things at the downtown place, like the pumpkin cake, and it would be nice if whatever develops here has something like that. —NickSchmalenberger
2007-02-16 16:52:26 I'm sad to see Cafe Roma go. It was nice being able to sit there and use my computer for hours on end. —GreggAlexander
2007-02-16 20:58:48 Thanks for all your support over the years. We're going to have a party Sat. Feb 24th at Little Prague for employees and regulars. —DanielReid
2007-02-20 00:02:12 Damn I can't believe the downtown Roma closed so quickly. After going there for 15 years. Writing probably half of my dissertation in the place. I didn't get a last cup at the Roma. —JimEvans
2007-02-27 12:39:01 All I have to say is: :( —MeghanSkaer
2007-02-27 12:44:21 Formerly, refutably not the worst coffee in Davis. Sorry to see the Roma die here in Davis. Been a cusrtomer since 1986 when Roma was on the corner of 3rd and A. Rest in peace. —ChebaccoThirty
2007-02-28 19:38:42 Really sad to see cafe roma go.... I enjoyed hosting photo club meetings there and just being able to relax. I know it sounds cheesy, but that place is kind of legendary for a lot of us who spent any sort of time there on a regular basis. RIP campus roma.... —AndrewLeonard
2007-03-13 09:41:53 I miss going to Roma between classes and studying and hanging out and napping on the couches. I don't think there's anywhere even remotely similar to it in Davis. It will be mourned. —EmyFargey
2007-03-28 14:48:58 I have just read the back-and-forth between Nicholas and Zachary with great delight - but what a bunch of erudite hogwash! If I has to choose sides, however, I would have to go with Nicholas because he's right: the Roma is a filthy bastion of squalor that would make even Pigpen uneasy (and Zachary's response to that was just a bunch of equivocating nonsense rife with one fallacy after another. —CoffeeLover
"I too am sad and I feel like something is missing because something is. What some feared is now gone — sharing space with the poor, the wise, the diverse as well as having community, familiarity, support, and enjoyment." —Sandy Coldiron, former manager of the E Street Roma, in piece in The Flatlander.
2007-07-12 11:38:51 I was in Davis back after Memorial Day. In bike ride between around 3rd & C and the campus, I ran across two well dressed people looking at the site that was once Campus Roma. I talked with them and they mentioned they are representatives for Wells Fargo and they were thinking of putting a branch office there. In my opinion, it would not fit too well with the character of that part of the street.
Also some rhetorical questions, the glass pane that has an image of a man upside down, how long has it been there, who was the artist and what will happen to it if significant changes are made to the building. Will there be an attempt to save that piece of glass ? —BradCuppy
I heard the people that own La Bou in Sacramento are opening a Cafe/Restaurant here, although they haven't filed with the county recorder yet. Not sure what's going on with the art. —ArlenAbraham
Does Davis really need more banks? It seems as though it has a ton of them already, and this doesn't strike me as a great location for a bank. —CovertProfessor
2007-07-12 15:15:55 On their website College Town Realty was asking over $6000/month rent for the old Roma space ($3.25 per square foot), plus tenant pays all taxes and utilities. If it's La Bou going in they're going to have to sell a lot of coffee and sandwiches to make that rent. I feel sorry for anyone who leases from College Town Realty. Ching and Lucy Chang will squeeze them for every penny they can get. Probably Wells Fargo can afford it. —SteveGreen
2008-06-05 08:03:43 The glass man is now gone ! In my opinion, I thought it was cool and made the place unique ! —BradCuppy
2009-10-17 22:18:19 There are few places I can think of which make me feel deeply sad to see gone. Cafe Roma, the 3rd & University especially, is one of them. I don't know the owners, managers, or workers, but they made it a really warm, friendly place (incidentally, something the replacement has none of). My deepest respect to each of you! Cafe Roma was much more than a coffee shop. It was the first place I went to when I arrived in Davis -for its bulletin board. You could use the free WiFi all day, and they wouldn't ask you to leave or even buy anything. If you needed to use the bathroom, you could duck in there. You could meet friends, chat, they held concerts and poetry readings. If I had my way, I'd have the city pay the rent for them just to be as a community service. Sadly missed. —SteveDavison
- 1The OED definition I have in mind is 2. Resembling the middle classes in appearance, way of thinking, etc. Also used disparagingly: selfishly materialistic or conventionally respectable and unimaginative.