Juan Mon's is unassuming. Driving down Taft Street, you could easily miss it, and probably have already: From that vantage point, the view of the restaurant is mostly that of an alcove evidently once intended as a drive-thru, where a food truck which has clearly fallen out of use resides, and weeds have sprouted in the cracks in the driveway. From that view, it'd be easy to mistake the location as a restaurant that closed long ago.
That's a shame, because that view conceals a restaurant that boasts one of the biggest and best sandwich menus in town-- and all of them an affordable $6, a refreshing change from the trend of delis and cafés offering sandwiches that cost twice as much but don't merit it.
At the corner of Taft and Webster, Juan Mon's International Sandwiches seems nearly invisible from the vantage point described above. From Webster, though, the entrance and outdoor patio can be clearly seen, and inside is a small but festively-decorated restaurant with several televisions and a full bar in addition to the sandwich menu.
Juan Mon's serves 20 kinds of sandwiches (not including custom-made ones) meant to represent parts from all over the globe. Your mileage may vary on the cultural accuracy of that point, but they undeniably have a great variety, including some oddities one might not have expected to see on a sandwich. (The Venice, which is primarily spaghetti and salami on a baguette, probably takes the cake for strangest concept.)
I write today mostly to speak of my favorite menu item. As someone whose writing here has primarily focused on the "drink" of "food and drink," it's probably no surprise to you that the occasional excess enjoyment of my topic can leave me looking for an appropriate hangover cure. Multiple philosophies exist on the best approach for hangover relief: On the food side of things, the two most common approaches are healthy food to restore nutrients and re-hydrate, along with exercise, or to have a a big breakfast full of protein, fat, and starch, perhaps with some coffee for headache relief. I'm a bit lazy and tend to the "I'll exercise after I feel better" side of the ledger, so I usually choose to start with an appropriately greasy, satisfying meal.
Juan Mon's Ibiza, #9 on their menu, fits my bill. The sandwich hits my two key requirements in a hangover meal: greasy, fatty protein (scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese) and a solid starch (potatoes are my preference, and in addition to the wheat bun, the Ibiza comes with fried red potatoes). As a bonus, the sandwich is topped with green salsa, a nice spicy kick to get the endorphins going for a little more relief. It's not the only sandwich I like-- the San Diego and Cuernavaca are also personal favorites-- but whether you had too much to drink last night or you're a little more responsible in your life choices than I am, the Ibiza is one of the best quick and cheap breakfast options in Montrose.
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The service is friendly and understanding, too: In a rush a couple of weeks ago, I took the wrong sandwich from a group lunch order because it was mislabeled and I didn't have time to check to see if it was the right one. I couldn't meet back up to exchange sandwiches, so I called Juan Mon's and explained what happened. They graciously offered to make me the sandwich I preferred, no charge. Perhaps it helped that I'd been in there frequently of late, but even if the restaurant mostly just appreciates its regulars, that's still the kind of loyalty from a local business that will inspire mine in return.
Oddly, despite having a full bar, Juan Mon's closes at 8 p.m. most nights. I'd think, from a business standpoint, they'd miss out on a lot of liquor sales that way. More to the point, their sandwiches' value as hangover food would certainly cross over to late-night drunk food. Granted, I mostly want this for my own selfish reasons, but I think Juan Mon's would do well to consider staying open late.
Well, that and making the Taft-facing side of the premises a little more inviting.