Real Food Takes Real Time

Mondo’s is my neighborhood coffee shop, and I am there once or twice each week grabbing a good cup of coffee—but the menu item that truly makes my taste buds sing is the Mondo’s breakfast sandwich. I quickly found the combo that makes me the happiest: jalapeno-cheddar bagel, garlic aioli, egg, cheddar, and bacon. The garlicky, creamy aioli sends this breakfast bagel to a whole other amazing, transcending level. They always have several different kinds of bagels to choose from—you can do Swiss or cheddar cheese; bacon, ham or sausage; and if you abstain from meat, they also have spinach and avocado available. These delicious morsels (and all morsels on the menu) are made fresh and from real ingredients. This isn’t a faux-food drive-through window! I love the reminder on the chalkboard menu: “Real food takes real time.” Expect a bit of a wait, but expect to be amazed.

I generally see plenty of students sitting quietly in the corner studying, or walking in bleary-eyed and in desperate need of a hit of caffeine to help them overcome the previous night’s late “study session.” But the customers are much more diverse than just students.

Mondo’s owner since 2009, Oziel Magana, had this to say: “Our location lends itself to capturing the essence of the ‘Chicoan’ community. From our predawn farmer group, to the 7am rush of parents on their way to dropping off their kids at school—we’re about a mile away from five schools—to the mid-morning college student study sessions, we really do see a good representation of life in Chico.”

What many people may not know about Mondo’s is that they run a program for people with developmental disabilities in our community. Magana comments, “The program is Mondo’s best-kept secret. It’s an important facet of who we are and what defines us ‘behind the counter.’ At Mondo’s, individuals with developmental disabilities are given an opportunity to acquire important public socialization, independent living, and employment skills while being paid a competitive wage. As a society, we are often so focused on labels and pre-conceived notions of what somebody with a disability can and cannot do. Some of our staff have disabilities, but they do great work and few customers are aware. People come to us because it’s a good cup of coffee and a great atmosphere. We prefer this, as it is true integration and equality. The stigma of being ‘disabled’ can weigh heavily; we offer a place where they can come and feel like a respected peer instead of being labeled as ‘the disabled person.’ Their ability to make a great product defines Mondo’s, not their disabilities.”

Mondo’s, and all its friendly employees, can be found at 995 Nord Avenue, #100.

Jackie is a sometimes food-blogger that is trying to balance the world of mama-hood and her love of food by getting in the kitchen and whipping up edible bits for herself, her husband and her 1 year old and by writing here in this space. She likes to keep it local as much as she can, and you will probably see her cruising the Saturday farmer's market, coffee in hand (always), and chowing down at local restaurants. She braises, she roasts, she can do a mean chiffonade and she firmly believes that bacon and butter make everything better.