Looking for a quick and delicious breakfast?
Need something sweet and cold to chill out the heat of the Caribbean afternoon?
Anyone who answered yes should make a beeline to the recently-opened Mosquito Bites on the second floor of the Cocoloba shopping complex.
Serving breakfast from 6 to 11 a.m. and ice cream and desserts from 12 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, owner and chef Chris “Casper” Mandile is filling an early-morning and afternoon niche in Coral Bay.
From traditional eggs benedict, complete with made-from-scratch hollandaise sauce, and Casper’s friendly toast served with rum glazed bananas, to marinated flank steak and eggs, breakfast sandwiches and omelettes, Mosquito Bites offers something for everyone.
Affordable on Any Budget
And with prices from $5 to $7, just about anyone can afford to splurge on a decadent breakfast treat. While he keeps the prices down, Casper doesn’t skimp on quality or freshness.
For carnivores, Casper serves up applewood smoked bacon and real Italian sausage. With its espresso maker, coffee lovers are covered at Mosquito Bites and fresh fruit cups are available for those seeking lighter fare.
And don’t miss the variety of baked-fresh-daily muffins, which were blueberry and champagne flavored on a recent visit.
There is even Baileys Irish Cream to smooth out the coffee and mimosas and home-made Bloody Marys with which to get the day started right.
While the space at Mosquito Bites is not large, there is plenty of seating on both levels of Coccoloba for after you place your order at the counter and Casper is dedicated to fast service.
Served Up Quickly
“You shouldn’t have to wait a long time for breakfast,” said Casper. “No one waits longer than five or 10 minutes for anything. I had a line out the door for two hours the other day and no one waited longer than 10 minutes.”
Since Keep Me Posted is now opening at 8 a.m., customers can take their breakfasts downstairs and surf the web while enjoying their eggs and bacon.
Although Casper serves from 6 a.m., he can usually be found at the eatery baking and preparing the day’s specials as early as 3:30 a.m.
“I don’t mind getting up early,” said the Boston-native who has lived on Love City for the past four years. “Mornings are the best time of the day. It’s so peaceful and beautiful in the mornings, it’s great.”
“I watch the sunrise every morning and it’s the best part of my day,” Casper added.
Labor of Love
Although he’s usually asleep by 9 p.m. — which his girlfriend doesn’t find very exciting — and puts in 16-hour days, it’s a labor of love, Casper explained.
“In order to keep everything fresh, you have to work hard — that’s why I’m here at 3:30 in the morning,” he said. “I won’t let anyone cook for me, it just wouldn’t be the same. I’m very consistent with my seasonings, so I’m always behind the line.”
“Besides, I like to see my customers,” the chef/owner added.
Casper has worked both the front and back of the house at a variety of restaurants across St. John and served up Sunday brunch at Aqua Bistro where he first conceived the idea of opening his own breakfast joint.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own restaurant someday,” Casper said. “Johnny B and I served brunch on Sundays last year at Aqua Bistro and we’d be really busy. We’d do about 100 brunches a week, and be finished, drinking beer and watching football, by the afternoon.”
When Opportunity Knocks
Then the space where Bliss was located became available and Casper couldn’t let the opportunity get away, he explained.
“This incredible opportunity just came up and when that happens you have to jump on it,” Casper said.
Offering bagged lunches consisting of either a turkey, ham, pastrami or BLT sandwich, small bag of chips and bottle of water for only $6, Mosquito Bites is also the place to stop before heading off to the beach.
After the breakfast rush, the eatery offers delectable dessert treats including house-made chocolate chip cookies and brownies, which are often featured in brownie hot fudge sundays and ice cream cookie sandwiches.
House-made Sweet Treats
There are usually a variety of eight ice cream flavors to choose from and don’t forget to ask about the milk shakes. Casper also serves treats by Lori Dudkin of Just Desserts, including carrot cake, pecan pie and snickers bar cheese cake.
Casper will be open on Christmas day, Monday, December 25, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving a Christmas breakfast.
“I’ll have my normal menu, but I’ll also have a marinated flank steak benedict with chipotle hollandaise sauce,” the chef/owner said.
Santa Is Coming
The entire Coccoloba complex is throwing a holiday bash on Friday, December 22, when Santa Claus is scheduled to make an appearance. Casper will be serving $2 ice creams all day and parents can enjoy a free drink at Aqua Bistro.
Casper will turn 28 on Friday, December 15, so swing by Mosquito Bites, enjoy a top-notch breakfast or ice cream specialty and wish him a happy birthday!