“Unraveling the local start-up hub: “Mennivaló”

Mennivaló is a Hungarian portmanteau for “going” and “something to eat”, which makes perfect sense when you find out that it’s the name of a sandwich bar. Gabriela Jandzis and Martyna Gazinska are two Polish girls, who both enjoy eating and making sandwiches. Coming to Budapest for studies, they took the bold decision to run their own business from scratch.

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What makes a sandwich so special? After our visit to Mennivaló we figured out that it’s not only the taste but also the whole process behind it. The caring and the joy of sharing something so small and simple yet also something so special. Let’s take a closer look:

Q: Why did you decide to come to Budapest for the first time?

A: We are from Poland and we studied Hungarian Language back in our country. We earned a scholarship and we came here. We loved the city so much that after we graduated, we decided to come back to Budapest.

Q: How did you decide to run a startup business?

A: We worked at an office (that’s where we met) and we didn’t like it that much, so we decided to open something for our own.

 Q: But why specifically sandwiches?

A: “The idea behind it was that I like cooking and eating as well, so it came to us naturally. It’s something based on my experiences, as baking bread back at home that my friends really liked it. At the beginning we thought doing something related to breakfast. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a proper place for that. So as we found our place we thought to stick with the sandwich idea and it was good because here are some hospitals and schools.”

Q: How did your friends and family react to your decision to leave Poland and come here?

A: They were surprised and afraid as well. Of course they didn’t show us their fear and were supportive. They helped us build the whole place here and when we started and they saw that the place was working well and we were doing fine, then they were relieved.

Q: How are you planning to continue your business?

A: Well, actually we are still experiencing with our shop, every day we learn something new and we are just thinking of making some small changes.

Q: Are you satisfied with your job here?

A: You know it’s really tiring but it’s really satisfying. People give us the strength to continue. We have regular customers, we meet new people, we talk to each other, and they smile to us. We have one regular, who comes every day at 7.20 in the morning and then we know that our day has just begun.

Q: What makes your shop unique?

A: We stand out by making our own bread, without yeast, using only sourdough and a mix of highly nutritious ingredients and grains. We bake a fresh batch every day. It’s the thing that people enjoy the most. They are asking if they can take one home but unfortunately we have to refuse. It’s just the two of us and we really can’t bake that much.

Q: Do you have any future plans?

A: Not yet because we are still new. When we stabilize things we will see if we can hire more people, maybe open new stores, but that’s for the future. It’s not that easy.

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Exploring Mennivaló, you can find some classics among their selection, like BLT, ham & cheese, but the two Polish girls are also constantly experimenting with new combinations. So one day you might find a sandwich of paste of sunflower seeds with grilled peppers or feta cheese, grilled beetroots and fresh thyme on the menu. Add fresh cake, good quality coffee, tea, fruit and yogurt, and this is the ideal breakfast or lunch spot.

 

Avagianou Maria

Kardos Bálint

Tsimourtou Pinelopi

Yeo Cherie

 

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