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Oh man. Last night.

Can’t believe I’m here.

Sitting at a table with a rose in a vase, listening to a gal at a mike get lyrical about “The Shift” of 2012. Like, end of the world as we know it. And the creative forces it’s gonna unleash.

At least what you can hear above the bongos this guy’s beating on.

But hey, I knew what I was getting into. Wordsmith Wednesday. “Open mic,” the sign outside said, “7.30-10.”

This is at Nunzi’s Café (1255 University Avenue, 619-955-8450).


Actually, it was the angus beef meatloaf panini that sucked me in. Angus beef or turkey meatloaf.

This is a place I’d never noticed before. Was trotting along University just east of Vermont. Heard the buzz. Had to stop.

Inside’s like salmon and brown and red walls, and a high corrugated metal ceiling. Tables up and down either side. Microphone’s just in on the left. Tables are crowded. A guy named Adam sits at one that says “Sign in here.”


Poet/organizer Adam Stutz (right) with funny guy Dominick DeFalco


Inside, after open mic. Most of the crowd has left

But I go through to the back, where the counter is. Gal named Cali takes my order: angus/chipotle/spinach/bacon/muenster. $7.50 with chips. Get a $1.50 coffee (free refills).


The second half of the panini. Gulped first half down before I remembered -aaargh! Camera!

And guess what? As the cheesy, beefy flavors ooze into my consciousness – kinda like a pattymelt –


  • and the coffee glugs down, and I get to relax in the crowd a little, this starts to feel like a pretty good scene. A rapper guy’s clever, and this funny guy Dominick DeFalco is really really funny. If you come (these open mic nights are supposed to be once a week), ask him about grandpa’s math/sex lessons.

“I was born in Sicily,” says Nunzia, the owner. She’s 33.


Nunzia Daniele

“And my dad’s a chef. But mom and dad both warned me: ‘Don’t do this!’ I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary here. It’s been a rough one. I work 12 hours, seven days. Can’t say they didn’t warn me.”

But hey, full night tonight. “These things all happen by word of mouth,” she says. “Open mic is Adam the poet over there. We just got talking. He organized it. The paintings on the walls came after I said I was looking for local art on Facebook.”

Most entrées are about $13. But paninis are cheap. And tonight, there’s a free dessert if you eat an entrée.


Nunzia, with Cali, who's a baker, bakes all her own desserts


Cali and Nunzia

Or free cawfee if you buy a dessert.

You come out feeling like you’ve just been at a performance in some cellar in Paris. Or Palermo, maybe. But mainly, I come out still tasting that delicious meat loaf and spinach. If this is Sicilian cooking, count me in.

Watch for a Tin Fork on this soon.

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Nunziadaniele Feb. 9, 2012 @ 4:19 p.m.

So grateful and excited for the coming year! Thank you all! -nunzia daniele


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