Last year, we took an anniversary trip to Italy. It was the best people-watching I’ve found; sitting outside a café, sipping a cappuccino, a heater taking the nip off the chilly day. Farther away from tourist hubs, we could usually identify a patriarchal owner, overseeing his employees. We talked about “The Godfather” a lot.

10 Italian Café — located in Carytown, at Cary and Auburn — must be reminiscent of Italy to more experienced authorities than I, since conversation in Italian (Including that of Claudio, the Veronan owner.) can usually be heard under the canopies shading the patio.

The extensive menu includes beautiful salads (My friend, Lindsey, can’t eat one without first taking a picture of it.), panini, flatbreads, conversation platters, breakfast, and gourmet coffee. And the people-waching is good, too. Today, the temperature reached a deplorably humid 87 degrees, and I still thought the canopies cooled the patio enough to consider outdoor seating. About a dozen small tables make up the indoor seating. They’re placed tightly enough that you might feel a little closed in by your neighbor, when the café is full. I’m usually able to secure a table with an unoccupied neighbor. Afternoons are consistently occupied, but rarely crowded. The door gets a little stuck, sometimes. Pull it toward you, before you push it in. Parking isn’t too bad. Usually you’ll come across a three-hour spot, nearby. Or drive one block east on Cary, and loop around the Cary Court parking lot a couple times, until a spot opens.

The reliable wifi makes it a candidate for my mobile office, but 10 Italian feels a little too special to go every day. I don’t want to spoil that. Plus, I need to stay away from the cannoli.

Published by Bethany Lansing