I was heartbroken when Cafe Mondo, the restaurant formerly on the corner of 33rd Avenue and Tejon Street, closed in 2007—I lived in the Highlands at the time and often frequented the sleek neighborhood spot.

Every so often I’d drive by the building, hoping that either Mondo had miraculously reopened or that maybe the IKEA-like space was no longer sitting vacant. Finally, a month ago, Johhny Ballen threw open the doors to the Squeaky Bean.

Named for the sound that fresh green beans make when you bite into them, the restaurant (under chef Max Mackissock) specializes in a small, eclectic menu. Among the half-dozen lunch sandwiches, there’s an open-face tuna with pine nuts and capers, a roast pork with rhubarb mustard and shaved cabbage, and an artichoke-and-pasilla-pepper grilled cheese. Even salads like the Cobb are re-imagined with wild boar bacon and Cambazola cheese.

“The Bean” also serves breakfast and weekend brunch, and plans to open for dinner starting this week.

One of my favorite details thus far is their homemade jam. I picked up a jar of strawberry a week ago, and I’ve been enjoying the gooey treat on toast, pancakes, and PB&Js ever since.

3301 Tejon St., 303-284-0053

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.