Judging Java: Caffe Mona – Strip District

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

3 Globes

If you were to blindly fire a nerf gun in the Strip District, there’s a solid chance you’d hit a coffee shop. There’s so many options for coffee that I genuinely would be unable to name them all. There’s De Fer Coffee and Tea. There’s La Prima Espresso. There’s also a lot more that I don’t really feel like naming right now. My point: there’s a lot of coffee shops in the strip district, which in turn makes them harder to review. A mediocre cup of coffee in the middle of nowhere is a lot different than a mediocre cup of coffee on a street with seven coffee shops.

Caffe Mona does not originate in the Strip; their original location is in Bloomfield. They’re well known for their rainbow colored umbrellas, which cover the patio of their Bloomfield location. The Strip District location brought these umbrellas inside, and the entire one room restaurant is covered in them. They’re absolutely delightful to look at and give the restaurant its own unique atmosphere.

Overall, the atmosphere is where Caffe Mona excels. The walls are adorned with colorful, vibrant artwork, which compliments the rainbow umbrellas on the ceiling. Even the check holder has a drawing of a rainbow umbrella on it. That atmosphere doesn’t stop there, however, even the bathroom has its own unforgettable vibe. The wall is covered in graffiti art of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings holding a roll of toilet paper. Directly above him hangs a life size doll of Baby Yoda.

Short tangent: I understand that some people reading this are going to say “well, actually, his name is Grogu.” I’m well aware, I’ve seen the show. That being said, in the cultural lexicon he has been overwhelmingly referred to as Baby Yoda. I feel as though to accurately describe the decor and vibe of the bathroom I have no choice but to refer to him as Baby Yoda, even if it is inaccurate. That being said, I apologize to The Mandalorian showrunners Jon Favreau and (Pittsburgh native) Dave Filoni. I am truly sorry.

The coffee of Caffe Amor, unfortunately, does not live up to the atmosphere of the shop. That’s not to say that it’s a bad cup of coffee, it’s fine, it just doesn’t excel. It’s a weaker cup of java, and this may come down to a matter of personal preference, but I like my coffee stronger.

That being said, Caffe Amor is not a full on coffee shop, it’s more of a general breakfast spot, and it’s a dang great breakfast spot at that. While I would never go there for just the coffee, it’s certainly a comfortable spot to grab a breakfast sandwich and crepe with your girlfriend or to read a comic book while enjoying a coffee. Admittedly, I did both of those things, and for those wondering the comic was Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, which I’ve been re-reading since seeing “The Batman.”

The bottom line is that if you’re in the strip looking for a great cup of coffee, head somewhere else. But if you’re in the Strip looking for a great crepe and a cup of coffee to go with it, head to Caffe Mona.