Mega Bodega

The corner of Broadway and Olympic is home to Mega Bodega, one of Downtown’s most delightfully unusual food and drink stops. In the year it’s been open, Mega Bodega has amassed a devoted following. And for good reason.

The neon sign hanging in the storefront window reads “Hot Coffee Cold Beer”, informing prospective patrons of what awaits them within. Mega Bodega is part coffeehouse, part taproom. It’s a seemingly incongruous combination that works surprisingly well. And it reflects owner Scott Kroha’s abiding passion for great coffee and hard-to-find microbrews.

Mega Bodega is the kind of one-stop-shop where you can grab a Starbucks-shaming macchiato and a hoppy IPA from some of Kroha’s favorite craft breweries. With a menu that includes unusual wines, coffee-based concoctions, savory toasts, hearty sandwiches, and charcuterie, Mega Bodega quite literally has something for everyone. And then there’s the revolving selection of beers on tap.

“I think our beer list has been one of the best in Downtown as far as the consistency of seasonal and local [craft beers], and how rapidly they turn over,” says Kroha of his ever-changing, personally curated tap selection. “A lot of them are probably a week or two old. They don’t get much older than that.”

As impressive as it is, the protean beer list isn’t the first thing customers notice. That distinction goes to the impossible-to-ignore, cobalt blue facade – a less-than-subtle nod to iconic imagery from Kroha’s childhood. Though it’s concealed from view when open for business, the steel door protecting the glass entryway can be rolled down to reveal the pixelated face of the classic video game character Mega Man, with the blue stucco facade revealing itself to be his helmet. For the uninitiated, it’s an easily overlooked easter egg. For those in the know, it’s a small bit of nostalgia hidden in plain sight. The nostalgia, however, ends at the entrance.

The interior is a case study in decorative minimalism. The spare, angular space is dominated by clean whites and unfinished woods, a modernist arrangement that still manages to be warm and inviting. Plus there’s a street-side patio where you can people-watch while enjoying an espresso and noshing on your favorite pastry, al fresco.

It’s been a good first year for Kroha and company. Still, he’s eager to bring a few big changes to Mega Bodega, turning it into what he calls version 2.0.

“I’m doing heaps of ordering right now. We’re doing a whole retail section that’s brand new. We’re going to be doing a whole bottle section,” says Kroha, referring to the expanded selection of canned and bottled beer he’ll soon start offering patrons on the go. “The level of inventory here is tripling.”

Along with his plans to offer a wide array of beers for takeaway, Kroha is currently working on a new food menu that he hopes to unveil in the upcoming weeks. He’s also interested in giving the old-fashioned lunch combo a new and unique spin. When it’s finally rolled out, Mega Bodega’s lunch special would include a sandwich, a half pour of beer, and a coffee (hot or cold) to take back to the office.

And then there’s the upcoming anniversary party. Tentatively scheduled for Saturday March 18, a month after Mega Bodega’s official one year anniversary, Kroha has a few surprises up his sleeve, including some “crazy” kegs that he’s been stocking for the occasion as well as a selection of off-menu food items.

With so much in the works, Kroha is keen to point out that none of the changes would alter the shop’s essential character. He promises that Mega Bodega will continue to be “a crew of people who are actually operating a little shop for the neighborhood. We’ll make you a coffee, we’ll make you a sandwich, we will suggest to you and pour you the best beer we can get our hands on. I think there’s an authenticity and honesty there that a lot of people are drawn to.”