Doha and Mayssa Skaf are two sisters who grew up in New York before Montreal became their home. They keep the vibrant colors of the 1990s from their childhood in the Big Apple. Among other things, they have excellent memories of the candy wrappers that colored the bodegas, those small street corner businesses (our convenience stores, in a way) that are legion in New York.
Posted at 11:00 a.m.
This moment in their life inspired them to set up a café and sandwich shop Bodega Mtl (despite its name, it’s not a convenience store) in Griffintown last July, in a superb historic building located at the intersection of rue de la Montagne and rue Ottawa. This is not their first feat: they are also behind Cafecito, a café inspired by Cuban culture, located a few blocks away, on Prince. “Our idea is to open cafes inspired by events or trips that have marked us,” summarizes Doha.
With its aesthetic reminiscent of the 1990s but which remains up to date (the design is signed La Chambre Design), the place is very charming and welcoming. Weather permitting, it features an outdoor terrace. Here, things are not complicated, with a short menu of sandwiches: mortadella, fior di latte and spicy aubergines; turkey, guacamole and jalapenos; roast chicken and garlic sauce, a nod to their Lebanese origins. All on fresh daily bread and meticulously selected ingredients. “The idea is to go back to basics, to focus on taste,” says the sister.
To drink, a homemade Italian blend simmered with the Union roaster. “It’s a round coffee, with woody, chocolate, tobacco notes, not at all fruity,” explains Doha. Enjoy with a decadent “bombolone” (Sicilian-style filled donut, by Bomboloni Boss) or with a bag of sweets, a cookie or other treats featured in the colorful displays. There are several imports: Dunkaroos, Haribo, Twix, Reese’s peanut butter, Nerds, Cheetos… The child in you will be delighted! “It reminds us of the time when everything was simpler, when we spoiled ourselves without breaking our heads! concludes Doha.
Bodegat Mtl is open daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sandwiches served from 11:30 a.m., while supplies last.
248 Mountain Street, Montreal