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Bite Us: Mandolin Café redux

New management grabs control of the neighborhood hangout

The Mandolin Cafe offers daily specials. Photography by Jennifer Johnson

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The situation at the Mandolin Café has been rocky, flaky and turbulent of late. Since original owner John Morrison stepped away from the day-to-day operations a few years ago, there's been some mismanagement. Quality and service had fallen off, which was a factor in the café's five-day closure in June. With permanent closure looming, Morrison asked long-time friend Thomas Montante to "save the café." Montante agreed and shares, "We want the Mandolin Café to be a community gathering place for local artists, musicians and people of the South Sound.

Moving forward at Mandolin Café, look for a new menu, extended hours, outside seating for 15-20, extra parking across the street, breakfast and Pacific Northwest beers and award-winning wines. "I've found a lot of enthusiasm from all of our customers," says Montante of the café's recent efforts.

Montante and new General Manager Sarah Forrest have turned their attention to righting the wrongs - starting with the kitchen. "We have our great chef back," says Forrest. "Emily (Montgomery) is making many things from scratch; people are loving it."

This means Costco muffins and frozen bags of soup are out; house-made items are in.

Meet the new and returning crew Saturday, July 16, for an all-day grand reopening party starting at 11 a.m. with live music, specials and fun for kids.

[Mandolin Café, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to midnight Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma 253.761.3482]

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