By Chris Cameron
One of Englewood’s favorite go-to restaurants celebrated its 13th anniversary on March 1st, and the popularity of this award-winning eatery just continues to grow. Mango Bistro opened its doors on March 1, 2008 as a gallery/smoothie bar by owners Marie Laforge and Ricardo Ruggiero with Ricardo as host, Marie as cook and a couple of employees. The first day they had five tables, upped it to 22 tables the second day and their popularity soared from there as word of their fresh and delicious food spread around the community.
Marie grew up in France and moved to Englewood after spending ten years in Santa Barbara. She recognized the need for a healthier “California style” eatery. Seeing the available building on the corner of Mango Street and Dearborn, she viewed it as the perfect location for
a European style outdoor café and gathering place. Marie was a Graphic Artist/Photographer and she learned about the restaurant business while traveling the world and working in various establishments. Ricardo is originally from Brazil and has many years of experience as a Programmer/Web Designer and IT/Networking. They had never owned a restaurant before but obviously got it right the first time!
Mango Bistro is an eco-friendly restaurant and has won awards for its high quality, fresh and original menu items. Marie stays on top of trends and has designed her menus to meet the dietary demands of their patrons. The newest addition is an entire plant-based menu, as well as a gluten-free menu and a line of organic, cold-pressed juice made right in the restaurant. Fun cocktails and craft beer can be found on their drink menu. Ricardo is a wine aficionado and connoisseur and has crafted an impressive wine list, recently adding some new wines from the Republic of Georgia (known as the birthplace of wine as wine creation has been traced back there to 6,000 BC.)
Both Marie and Ricardo are lovers of world music and they have introduced many music genres during their musical evenings when they and their customers dance to jazz, flamenco, Latin beats, gypsy jazz, bluegrass, classical, blues and more.
The building’s colorful décor is accented by artful gifts for sale.
“Mama and Papa” are the names affectionately given to them by their staff as Marie and Ricardo consider their employees as the Mango Family. Some of their employees have been there ten years or more. Main chef Sabrina Hart has been with them for 10 years, and employee Cheryl Roeder has been with them since Day One! This sense of family extends to their customer base as well. Customer Don Landis came in every day since the doors opened until the COVID-19 pandemic prevented it. And that sense of family also includes the Englewood community. During the pandemic, they partnered with Sky Academy and during the two months of shutdown, gave out 3,000 free meals to Englewood adults whose kids were on the free lunch program. They developed their take-out and delivery services to successfully support their employees while serving the community. Mango Bistro has organized fundraisers such as wine tastings through the years to help support the Englewood Community Care Clinic and others. Giving back to the community is a large part of who they are.
Mango Bistro is located at 301 W. Dearborn Street and is open for breakfast and lunch, 9am to 3pm, Monday through Saturday. Catering is also available. From paninis and French crepes to soups, fresh salads, and baked goods, you will partake of a delicious meal at the Mango Bistro accompanied by specialty coffees, organic smoothies, teas, wine and cocktails. Menus can be viewed online at www.mangobistro.com. Follow them on Facebook @ mangobistro. If you haven’t tried this Englewood gem, find out what you have been missing and you will find yourself wishing them “Happy Anniversary and Many More!”
Mango Bistro will not be holding an anniversary celebration this year due to the current situation with the pandemic, but you can celebrate by just stopping in, visiting and enjoying a meal or beverage. All CDC and social distancing protocols are still in place.