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Café: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A café (pronounced /ˈkæfeɪ/ or /kæˈfeɪ/), also spelled cafe[a], may in the United States mean an informal restaurant, offering a range of hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches,[1][2], while in most other countries it refers to an establishment which focuses on serving coffee, like an American coffeehouse.

A "café" can also refer to a small informal public discussion. These are usually live events, and often focus on starting an open conversation on a particular topic. Examples include science cafes in the US [1], Café Scientifique in the UK [2], and Café Society in Chicago [3].


In Europe

In most European countries, such as Austria, France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Portugal, etc., the term café implies primarily serving coffee, typically complemented by a slice of cake/tart/pie, a "danish pastry", a plain bun, or similar sweet pastry on the side. Many (or most) cafés also serve small meals such as sandwiches. European cafés often have an enclosed or outdoor section extending onto the sidewalk. Some cafés also serve alcoholic beverages.

Iguana Café – Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland a café (with the acute accent) is similar to those in other European countries, while a cafe (without acute accent) refers to a Greasy spoon style restaurant, where the establishment has a focus on fried or grilled food, in particular breakfast dishes. Paradoxically such an establishment is likely to offer only a single type of often poor-quality instant coffee.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, a café is a the equivalent of a bar, an establishment selling alcoholic beverages. A coffeeshop, which exist in the former country, is an establishment which sells soft drugs (cannabis and hashish) and is generally not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

In North America

A café or coffee shop is an informal restaurant with full-service tables and counters and broad menu offerings over extended periods of the day.[3] In hotels, the coffee shop is a more popular-priced alternative to the formal dining room. Coffee shops often encourage families with special menus for children. To establish a family-friendly atmosphere, in many localities they do not serve wine and beer.[4]


a. ^  The most common English spelling, café, is the French spelling, and was adopted by English-speaking countries in the late 19th century.[5] As English generally makes little use of diacritical marks, anglicisation involves a natural tendency to forgo them, and the anglicized spelling cafe has thus become very common in English-language usage throughout the world (although orthographic proscriptivists often disapprove of it). The Italian spelling, caffè, is also sometimes used in English.[6]. In southern England, especially around London in the 1950s, the French pronunciation was often shortened to /ˈkæf/ and spelt caff [7].

The English words coffee and café both descend from the continental European translingual word root /kafe/, which appears in many European languages with various naturalized spellings, including Italian (caffè); Portuguese and Spanish (café); French (café); German (Kaffee); Polish (kawa); Ukrainian (кава, 'kava'); and others. European awareness of coffee (the plant, its seeds, the beverage made from the seeds, and the shops that sell the beverage) came through Europeans' contact with Turkey, and the Europeans borrowed both the beverage and the word root from the Turks, who got them from the Arabs. The Arabic name qahwa (قهوة) was transformed into kaweh (strength, vigor) in the Ottoman Empire, and it spread from there to Europe, probably first through the Mediterranean languages (Italian, Spanish, French, Catalan, etc.) and thence to German, English, and others, though there is another well-based theory that it first spread to Europe through Poland and Ukraine, through their contacts with the Ottoman Empire.

See also


  1. ^ A Café is a coffee-house, a restaurant; strictly a French term, but in the late 19th c. introduced into the English-speaking countries for the name of a class of restaurant. Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ A coffee-house; a teashop; an informal restaurant; a bar.; Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English
  3. ^ Christopher C. Muller and Robert H. Woods. An expanded restaurant typology. Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly 35.n3 (June 1994): pp27(11).
  4. ^ Bernard Davis, Andrew Lockwood, & Sally Stone. Food and Beverage Management Butterworth-Heinemann, 3rd ed., 1998.
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition (1989), entry number 50031127 (café).
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition (1989), entry number 00333259 (caffé, n)
  7. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition (1989), entry number 50031130 (caff)

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also café


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Café n. (genitive Cafés, plural Cafés)

  1. café, coffee shop


Simple English

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