Best Power Lunch

Cafe Napoli

On a sun-soaked August afternoon, attorney Albert S. Watkins strides onto the terrace of Café Napoli in downtown Clayton. "Rule No. 1 of a power lunch," he says over his shoulder, nearing the host stand. "Walk up with reservations, even if they don't exist." Clad in charcoal suit and floral tie, he tells the host: "Watkins, party of three." We're seated inside, among businessmen and attorneys. "Rule No. 2," Watkins says, settling in, "back to the wall." Though it's not a wall; it's a giant window, affording a view of the many female specimens dining outside. (He leers, but with "discretion.") When the waiter arrives, Watkins follows what we discover are Power Lunch Rules Nos. 3, 4 and 5: Don't look at the menu (in this case, respectable Italian fare); act interested in the special; then order something off the top of your head. Watkins requests, and receives, a plate of antipasti and bruschetta. Thirty minutes later, he wipes his mouth on a linen napkin. "A true power lunch," he imparts, "implies there are 10,000 places you would not only rather be, but need to be." He stands, grins, thanks us, shakes our hand and departs. And thus we must reorder our rulebook, having discovered the true Rule No. 1: Always be the first one to leave.

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