Published on March 10, 2021
Turn on the TV. Doom Scroll the feed. Story after story is about how COVID-19 has made everything harder.
Even though they are out there, maybe we don’t want to hear good stories right now. Or maybe we subconsciously feel people don’t deserve to thrive during a pandemic.
If you feel that way, then sorry, but the story of Mojo Market isn’t that story. Mojo Market is about how a pandemic can be an opportunity, how optimism can trump doom and gloom.
For co-owners of the new cafe, Joseph and Kyle Orlando, COVID offered a welcome reprieve and a chance to smash the reset button. The couple had been co-owners of the Organic 3 (O3) Cafe in Snyder, having bought the cafe and taken it over from the original owners. It was their first venture into restaurant ownership.
“I kind of thought going in that it was going to be a piece of cake, but I learned quickly that there’s a lot of ins and outs to owning a place that maybe I wasn’t anticipating prior to it,’ Joseph Orlando told us in a recent phone interview. “A lot of it is, in addition to managing perishable food, you’re also managing the personalities of your employees and your customers. It’s not as easy as you’d think.”
While the O3 cafe was successful, it wasn’t a fully-realized vision. COVID hit and the pandemic actually gave the Orlandos a chance to make a big change.
“There were things that we wanted to change (at O3) but didn’t feel comfortable changing because we had such a regular customer base,” Orlando said. “So, getting shutdown because of COVID allowed us an opportunity that we probably wouldn’t have had otherwise, because it’s hard to stop the machine from turning, financially and practically.”
Clearly, Mojo Market has more heart and soul in it. The menu emphasizes clean, locally-sourced ingredients. Everything is made from scratch, including sourdough, rye and all of the other breads. You can smell and taste that passion in the cafe’s technicolor juices, farm fresh salads and hot-off-the-press paninis. There are also wraps, sandwiches, soups, grain bowls and veggie burgers. Current beverage options include coffee, espresso drinks, smoothies, soft drinks, beer and wine. Currently, the cafe is takeout only, but an opening date is set for early April.
All in all, the cafe’s menu is perfectly suited to brunch, and Orlando said that’s no accident. He hopes to cultivate an alcohol-optional brunch vibe seven days a week.
“We want to be thought of as a place where you can go get brunch any day of the week,” he mused, “whereas most places are doing just Sunday brunch.”
In our recent takeout order, the spinach beet salad was the perfect workday lunch, while the Immune Builder juice blend of apple, beet, carrot and celery was refreshingly vegetal, with a slight earthy sweetness.
Located in a fully refurbished building, Mojo Market is a welcome addition to the mushrooming food scene along Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. Orlando said his neighbors have already rolled out the welcome mat and he’s happy to be a part of what’s happening in the village.
“I think Kenmore still needs a little bit of love, but it’s definitely on its way to being a destination, for sure,” he said.
3030 Delaware Ave., Kenmore 14217
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.