As soon as Caffe Trieste arrived in southwest Berkeley last year, the masses moved in. The cafe has been an institution for the caffeine-craving North Beach crowd since 1956, and the new shop at the corner of Dwight and San Pablo brings the same flavor -- less the pesky tourists -- to the East Bay. It is decorated with myriad photos of its founder Pappa Gianni, framed posters of Italy, and local celebrities like Francis Ford Coppola, and the cafe is so comfortable in its new surroundings, it's hard to remember the neighborhood without it. The cherry-colored floors are already scratched, and the baristas have memorized the orders of the regulars. Go there often enough, and you just might find your creamy, smooth cappuccino waiting for you at the counter. Every other Sunday, Gianni makes his presence known, wearing a dapper suit and dark glasses, to make music and sing with his North Beach Band. When he isn't there, the cafe has a constant buzz of conversation, usually with some opera playing in the background. It's open early and closes late, serves everything from coffee and tea to beer and wine, and has a selection of rich pastries and gelato that encourage new regulars to adopt the place as their own.
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