Left of Center: Now there's more room to Mangiaby jmaloni
Center Street restaurant expands, adds menu items
by Joshua Maloni
Size matters in the eatin'-out business.
There are restaurants we like, and restaurants we love. Much of the formula involves taste and service. But another notable difference between the "likes" and the "loves" is walking in and finding a table with little or no wait.
At Mangia Café & Bakery, patrons were craving owner Bec Poletti's divine culinary creations to the point where "we needed more seating," she said.
"It was discouraging business," Poletti continued. "We heard the need for more room."
Last week, she opened a new room in her Center Street restaurant. The brightly colored room has a chandelier, large murals and seats about 20.
"The response is great," Poletti said. "People love the intimate, quiet little back room."
She said the space is suitable for small events, such as a gathering Tuesday of retired Lew-Port workers.
"It's warm and inviting and familial," waitress Margie Pryce said. In other words, it's homey. "Which a good restaurant should be."
The new digs are perfect for trying some of Mangia's new menu items.
"Our teas are a new addition," Poletti said. She's brought in organic, antioxidant-rich loose-leaf teas.
Try them with some coconut-pineapple pancakes ($5.75 for a stack of three), a roasted veggie salad with organic spinach and feta cheese ($6.50), a black bean veggie burger ($7.50) or the "A Walk Away" breakfast sandwich ($4.25 for roasted red peppers and eggs, or egg and cheese with bacon or ham on a Kaiser roll).
In total, the restaurant now has upwards of 50 freshly prepared dishes.
"I personally make everything ... which is a lot of work," Poletti said, laughing.
"The old staples are so popular I can't wipe them off," she added.
As Mangia nears its two-year anniversary at this location, Poletti is appreciative her business is growing in a time of economic hardship.
"It makes me feel thankful and grateful," she said. "I'm just forever grateful for the nice response I've had since coming to Lewiston."
Mangia Café & Bakery is located at 621 Center St., Lewiston. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., and Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. For more information, call 754-1517. Parties of six or more are encouraged to make a reservation.
Scroll through the photos to see more about the signature Mangia T-shirts.