Mega Bodega is a rare breed: equal parts coffee and craft beer served morning to night (without judgment). The three-month old shop, which sits on the still-growing corner of Olympic and Broadway, would be inconspicuous if it weren’t for the blue façade that bears suspicious resemblance to Mega Man’s helmet. It’s where the shop gets its name: the metal roll door out front is painted so that, when shut, it fills in the videogame hero’s face.
Inside, the shop is neat and sparse. There’s a wall lined with two-tops, a corner with bench seating, and a long wood bar from which patrons place their order. Owner-operator Scott Kroha, along with partner Peter Wilday, designed it this way for a reason. The space is meant to be versatile — mornings functioning as a bright coffee shop with plenty of room to enjoy a cup or get some work done, and evenings transforming into an easy place to start off your night.
“People are used to everything being a production, but we’re here to just do this thing,” Kroha says. In making Mega Bodega, he drew inspiration from the various places he’s lived — the friendly, artisanal coffee culture in Australia, the craft beer scene in San Diego, and now, the creative workforce that’s burgeoning in the neighborhoods of Downtown LA.
“We wanted to open something that was tailored to the neighborhood,” Kroha says. “I thought this area coming up down here could use a little bit of this third-place mentality — we wanted it to be somewhere you could go that’s not your home, that’s not your work, but somewhere you go to live a little bit, to have some personal space.” It’s the kind of business that makes LA feel like a small city.
The selection at Mega Bodega is akin to a tightly curated corner store: everything you need, nothing you don’t, and all of it special. The coffee is from Four Barrel in San Francisco, and the tea is from Steep Tea Co. in Oakland, run by two girls who source all their own tea and create their own blends. The donuts are from Daily Donuts in Los Feliz (“As much as the fancy new wave donut thing is great, you can’t really replace the original.”), and the sandwich fixings are high quality and organic.
Try everything, but start with an Iced Embargo — their take on a Cubano, with cold brew, house made vanilla cinnamon simple syrup, and a splash of milk. And for dessert, try the Naughty Toast: Nutella, banana, and fresh strawberries on thinsliced brioche.
The draft list is one to be reckoned with. Selections rotate, but Kroha puts emphasis on acquiring beers that are rare and unique, and often hard to come by anywhere except the brewery from which they came. Kroha even has a takeaway license, so patrons can take a bottle for the road. Though Mega Bodega is still brand new, it’s already well on it’s way to being a onestop shop.
“We’re always here,” Kroha says. “Whether you need coffee on the way to work or to brush off a hangover from the night before, or if you just want a nice place to come and stay.”
Written by Rayna Jensen
Photographed by AK Cespedes