Perk Coffee & Espresso

Eugene, Oregon

tableaux'd by: and


After a day of cycling and sunburning the two take a very late lunch at the Viva! cart on Willamette where Thos has been eager to take a second pass at the tempeh reuben, having seemingly forgotten the ingredients consist of far more putrid ‘saukraut’ [sic] than tempeh. This is surprising to JHT, as Thos had talked of little other than his displeasure with the sandwich during last year’s visit.

They deploy their bikes’ kickstands and approach the trailer. The server is flirtatious and gregarious with Thos when he inquires about the ‘cheese’. “E’rything here is vegan, dude!”
“Then your banner should state that, rather than ‘vegetarian’.”
“My boss doesn’t want to scare anyone away.”
Thos selects the Savory Italian on JHT’s recommendation.

“How about that!” Thos mugs.
“Don’t flatter yourself. She is always here, and that abrasive gregariousness is just a routine.” Deviating from the routine on this visit, the tableauxists find that she has allowed what were formerly rips in her filthy white jeans just below her buttocks to circumnavigate each leg, resulting in a pair of cut-offs, providing ample clearance for panty and pubic hair to make contact with the food prep area when she hoists herself up for a sit on the counter while chatting with a regular. “Health inspector!”

Viva Perk

White Bread

“I shoulda ate the Polish Soysage,” Thos belches as they scarf down the last of their soft sandwiches. Our boys head to take an afternoon brew. The day has grown hot and the western sun bakes the facade and sidewalk seating of Perk. Inside, none sit, save an odd-looking man, alone and fierce in the back corner. He is odd firstly because his complexion and inappropriately youthful features resemble the sort of face one might see in a daguerreotype of a young soldier in the War Between the States shortly before he was exploded by cannon and think, “I wonder why people don’t look like that anymore.” He is odd secondly because he lacks a nose. The tableauxists, with the lack of tact you will grow more familiar with in later episodes of this journey, cannot help sneaking obviously lingering gazes at his gauze patch while attempting to fumble through their orders.

Apparently though, Perk has closed already, in keeping with their new, unposted, summer hours. The barista is friendly enough to serve them, anyhow; though she runs out of coffee before Thos’s mug is filled and offers to crank him down an Americano. She makes to discard his half-cup of coffee. “Don’t pour that out!” Thos shows off, “Just add the espresso to the coffee that’s in the cup!”

Save the perch of the corner creep, the cafetress has turned up all the chairs in the joint. “We can just take our coffees around the corner,” JHT suggests.

“I didn’t hop a freight from Camden to Eugene to walk around in the sun while holding coffee!” Thos whines. “I prefer to sit with my beverage.”

“Do you mind if we are seated at this outside table until you are ready to lock up?” The Perk wench nods approval, and they retire to a remaining bistro table on the sidewalk to shade the already scorched portions of their bodies with other still milky or clothed protrusions. Like blisters in the sun, reflecting on their afternoon milling about the ghost city hall, CT enters the debate about its potential or adaptive reuse by declaring the rotunda should be made into a coffeeshop, while the remainder of the campus should be set ablaze, and the city should be ruled from the Maitreya EcoVillage on West Broadway.

Perk City Hall

I would drink the hell out of coffee served here.

“Do you remember when you tuned me out by the bread rack at TJ’s so you could stare at that olive-skinned girl with the bike helmet?” -JHT

“I remember the girl. Were you still standing there?” -Thos

“I guess it is too late to tell you that when you were buying that fennel toothpaste, she totally cruised you while pretending to look at hygiene products. Sorry, I guess I should have said something then.” -JHT

“Putain!” -Thos

“She was like six inches from your neck. I figured you felt her breath on you and were grossed out. At least now that you know she was into you, and since you will never see her again, you can get her out of your mind.” -JHT

“Traitor. You are a traitor.” -Thos

Perk Espresso

This is the Perk sign

After a moment, the noseless Union infantryman emerges, gives JHT another look at his gauze patch, and ambles down the road. The barista emerges and confides in our heroes that she only served them coffee to keep the creep inside from robbing her. Satisfied with their benevolence, they choke down the rest of their drinks and pedal off to plan the route for their dawn departure.

“Do you think that girl is still at TJ’s?” -Thos


Cafe Tableaux. On The Road. Summer 2012
« Chapter 1: Wandering Goat | Chapter 3: Zootown Brew »

Wandering Goat. Eugene, OR Perk Coffee and Espresso. Eugene, OR Java Break.  Lawrence, KS Aimees Coffeehouse.  Lawrence, KS Black Sheep. Sioux Falls, SD The Fix. Buffalo, WY Coffea.  Sioux Falls, SD Liquid Planet. Missoula, MT Zootown Brew.  Missoula, MT
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Perk Coffee & Espresso

1351 Willamette Street
Eugene, Oregon 97401

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