"Well, as I always say, if you've got to do the impossible, you might as well do it with a cup of coffee in hand," said Darwood.
Smitty looked at him and blinked. "My good man, you've never said a thing like that in all your life. But it's a damn good thing to say. Caribou?"
Smitty didn't really need to ask. Caribou was the only ubiquitous chain with outstanding coffee, and the two seldom ventured elsewhere for a cup. As soon as they said it, Eli had them cruising several blocks past the Senate and turning a corner before it slowed, found a parking spot, and halted maybe mile from the Apex. The men clambered out and made their way into the lodge-like cafe.
Chain cafes had always relied on three things to spread themselves wide and keep profits high: friendly workers; a great atmosphere; and aggressive marketing, even if subtle. Terrific coffee was secondary because, with a public that barely knew good coffee, it was just a drain on profit. Coffee snobs, though, felt that Caribou had gone a step further and offered an excellent brew on top of all else, which allowed for its climb from obscurity against the other chains.
In any case, I'll answer the question no doubt chewing on your brain: yes, much of my work on the book was done in Caribou. And definitely that chapter was written there.
Now some questions for you: ever been to a 'Bou? Like the coffee? And importantly ... do they have a bookshelf that needs a free copy of Darwood & Smitty? I'm open to sharing a few copies in this way.