The Weekly Week

All of Boston seems to be talking about Coolidge Corner's newest restaurant, the Koolidge Korner Kafe. You'd expect this simple, reasonably priced delicatessen to be a natural stop for Brookline residents who want to grab a quick lunch or some late-night breakfast.

But so far, while the Kafe has been garnering lots of attention, it hasn't attracted many customers. Day and night, crowds of people have gathered around the restaurant, but seldom do they come inside and buy.

It's a sore subject for Christine and Peter Lynch, the Kafe's proprietors.

"People around here sure are picky eaters," says an exasperated Peter, who is also the Kafe's main chef. "They're always chanting for this dish called 'white devils.' Look, I'm sorry, but it's not on the menu. If I knew how to make it, I would."

Vernon Stewart, head of the NAACP's Boston chapter, was among the crowd gathered outside the Kafe yesterday, and he offered up a short review through a megaphone.

"On the one hand, the veggie burger is crisp and savory, and the cheese blintzes are to die for," said Stewart. "On the other hand, the Kafe's name is an emblem of the corrosive, systematic racism, which has kept our people down for centuries."

This seemed to sum up the sentiments of the crowd, who carried signs reading "White racist deli go home" and "Good corned beef, bad racist name." After nightfall, the crowd lit candles and sang: "We shall overcome / we shall overcome / despite your tasty turkey club."

But inside the restaurant, customers raved about the Kafe's service, decor, and menu, which offers up oversized deli plates at undersized prices. "It's good for your stomach - and your pocketbook," said Rich Jennings of Milton, "It's about time that white people fought back against overpriced yuppie cuisine."

Jed Hackett of Newburyport agreed, recommending in particular Lynch's famous potato pancakes. "These potato pancakes will nourish the white race in the days of the final struggle," he said.

Even though business has been slow, Christine Lynch says that she's been pleased with the crowd of regulars - although she admits that they can be a bit "eccentric."

"It's a lot different from Long Island, where we had our last restaurant, the Long Island Kafe," she says. "There we got lots of families, business-people, elderly couples, that sort of thing Here we get mostly single white men with high-caliber rifles duct-taped to their backs."

"But you live and let live," she said.