Inside Sholl's New Cafeteria yesterday, Ed Sholl, his sister, his wife and his son used snow shovels to clear away the broken glass, bricks and stones.
They set the plastic geraniums back in front of the shattered windows. They carefully arranged on each formica-top table the little American flags and prayer cards that belong to the tradition at the cafeteria -- founded 55 years ago by Ed Sholl's uncle, Evan Sholl -- that has become a Washington institution.
By 1 p.m., Sholl's, at K Street and Vermont Avenue NW, hard hit by the mob violence emanating from Saturday's anti-Ku Klux Klan demonstrations, was ready for the next day's customers.
"We'll be open for breakfast at 7 a.m. tomorrow," cafeteria manager Ed Sholl promised. "This is just something that happened Saturday. Monday's another day."
Equally unruffled in his view of Saturday's events was the deeply religious and patriotic Evan Sholl, who entered the restaurant business in Cleveland 65 years ago and, at age 83, still spends four days a week at his two cafeterias, at 1433 K Street NW, which was damaged in Saturday's demonstration, and the other a few blocks down the same street.
"Being in business the number of years I have, I've never been too disturbed over anything," Evan Sholl said. Despite flying glass and bricks, none of the 100 people eating in his cafeteria at the time was injured. "Nobody got hurt, I'm happy," he said.
He said he didn't know who hurled bricks and rocks through the expensive windows of his cafeteria, sending the waitresses and the usual Sholl's mix of downtown businessmen, budget-minded tourists, retirees and bag ladies under the tables for shelter. But he added, "I know one thing: They hurt themselves much more than they hurt me."
As the Sholl family prepared to open for business as usual today, other merchants in the 1000 block of Vermont Avenue NW--the scene of some of the worst looting and vandalism Saturday--did the same, cleaning up and estimating the damage.
The demonstrators, meanwhile, expressed mixed feelings about what had begun as an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally and become a rampage against police.
Bakery cashier William Whitham traveled to Washington from Chelsea, Mass. to participate in the rally as a member of the All People's Congress, a group that says it represents poor people and laborers.
"Despite the fact that it didn't accomplish anything, it was necessary to show that people are not going to let the Klan march," Whitham said, adding that "I only threw one brick." He said he would join more in the aftermath of the rally if he could do it all over again.
Jon Pinkus, an unemployed District secretary, said he thought the violence could have been avoided if the police had told the demonstrators that the Klan had cancelled its march and left town. "Yet police were still keeping people out of Lafayette Park. I think that there would have been a celebration and rally if they had been told that the Klan had left. Instead, the upper echelons of the police department set their own men up to be targets when there was no reason to keep people away any more."
A 17-year-old Boston University freshman, Barbara Dorritie, said, "I don't think it was right to destroy things. The anger was right, but it was misdirected. But when you feel helpless you have to express it in some way."
Other protesters said that businessmen such as Evan Sholl should be angry not at them, but at the Klan. "Maybe it wasn't right that they broke your windows, but it shows you how upset people were and you should really be upset at the Klan because they were the cause of breaking your windows," Mallory Merrill of Buffalo said.
"I feel it was a victory for poor and working people," said her mother, Jeannette Merrill. "I feel very proud and honored and I would go back again."
Back on Vermont Avenue, Big Wheel Bikes store owner Mike Sendar, who estimated his damage at $25,000 -- including 15 to 20 stolen bicycles and shattered windows and display shelves -- said he was angry but not surprised. "It happens. There's a criminal element out there, and every once in a while it happens. You'd probably find it in any downtown metropolitan area."
Sendar has two other bicycle stores, in Georgetown and in Bethesda. He said he has no plans to leave his downtown location. "We do well here. You invest in a lease, you build up good will, you've got to stay. You've got to stick it out."
For a few enterprising businessmen, the aftermath of the violence presented an opportunity to make some money. A Greenbelt repairman left his business card at almost every shop in the 1000 block of Vermont Avenue, in some cases sticking it between the boards that had been placed over broken windows. A shabbily dressed man with a long gray beard knocked at the door of Sholl's and asked Ed Sholl, "You need anyone to haul away the glass? I've got a friend with a truck." No thanks, said Sholl, who had already taken care of the glass.
As he straightened the green vinyl-covered chairs, he noticed a cut in one of the seats. "It's a different world out there," the 50-year-old father of five said, shaking his head. "Everyone's walking around with a chip on their shoulder."
Outside, it was a dismal, rainy Sunday. The passersby looked out from under their umbrellas at the broken windows that were gridded with masking tape. An old woman in a pink coat, holding the Sunday comics section of the newspaper over her head as a rain hat, rapped at the window.
"Will you be open tomorrow?" she shouted.
Ed Sholl knew the woman, one of the regulars. He assured her that Sholl's, would be open for breakfast as usual. "See you at 6:30."