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.Mangia Mornings Jumpstarts the Day With Italian Pastries

music in the park san jose

After Nick Miller’s alarm wakes him up around 3 o’clock in the morning, he drives to Saratoga to start baking at Mangia Mornings. Italy is reflected in the name of his new cafe and in the pastries he makes.

On any given morning, Miller, a former chemist, will bake batches of cannoli, bombolini, maritozzi or sfogliatella. His grandfather is Sicilian and so is his father-in-law.

“We had some family recipes, with our pasta sauces and some of the sweets we serve, like our cannolis,” Miller says. “And then the sourdough bread [recipe] we bake is from my uncle-in-law.”

Miller’s original idea was to open an Italian dinner restaurant somewhere in Silicon Valley. But when the location in Saratoga presented itself, the city he was raised in, he decided to move in. “The village is pretty saturated for dinner so the idea shifted to match the locale as an Italian American-style breakfast-brunch-lunch place,” he says.

Miller bakes all of the pastries and the bread, along with expediting orders and keeping an eye on quality control. “I do have a chef on staff,” he explains. “He and I worked on the recipes to get the dishes to where we wanted them to be.” Breakfast items include eggs, French toast, benedicts, omelettes and pancakes.

Before Miller opened Mangia Mornings, the space used to be a boba shop. “I checked it out when it was on the market and it had a fully built-out kitchen despite really only serving drinks,” he says. Having that kitchen provided him with an opportunity to start a business without burdensome startup costs. It was a bonus that he was already familiar with the community in Saratoga.

When Miller left his career, he went to culinary school. Subsequently, he worked at the Cheesecake Factory and he did a stage at Manresa Bread for a few weeks. Those experiences, especially his interactions with chefs, gave him a clear picture of what it takes to run a restaurant. “The head chefs weren’t really on the line that often,” he recalled. “They were doing all the management, making sure everybody was running things correctly.”

He realized he had developed a stronger interest in the daily operations of running a restaurant more than in the cooking itself. His Manresa stage was helpful because it showed him how a larger company operates.

“I learned that they have a central location where they bake everything, so not at their cafes,” Miller says. “They have to make deliveries every day to all of their locations.”

Miller commutes to Saratoga from San Jose and he’s usually baking by 4am. “Luckily, some of the recipes that I have can cold ferment overnight,” he explained. “During slow times, I can get the dough in the prover, get the first batch done and pop them into the fridge. In the morning, I just wake them up again for another light proof and then bake them.”

Mangia Mornings opens at 6 a.m. and also serves espresso. “We decided to partner with another small local business—the Coffee Dudes. He roasts out of Atwater, close to where I went to college,” Miller says. “His father-in-law works at the same company as my mom and they were both like, ‘Let’s see if they can work something out.’”

Mangia Mornings, open Wed to Sun 6am-3pm, 14554 Big Basin Way, Saratoga. 408.740.8002.


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