I am not sure if the painting is by Francesco Guardi or about him, or both, but the expression on the artist’s face captures the expression of the guy who runs a little, weird coffee place on Indianola Ave in Clintonville near where the streets take on Norse nomenclature.
He has a diffident way of doling out the goods, and besides counters, sacks of coffee, the roaster and the paintings on the wall, there is nothing else. It does not appear that he brews coffee there, just roasts and grinds. And he greets without expression, attending you with a kind of wordless motion that suggests surprise.
His coffee is really good, especially his Sumatra. I don’t know all that is in town, but as far as I can tell, his is the best yet. And I think part of it is like the painting. I tried to talk to him a bit, without much success, but then I said I really liked his coffee and he was grateful, words tumbled out. It is as if all along he is doing what he does with his coffee as an artist with his work, offering it to public judgment in search of praise and not entirely sure he will not meet with censure. I hope that small and curious coffee shop persists. I’ll certainly be bending my not entirely modest coffee budget that way.