Family business offers Mediterranean twist


Terri-Lynn Frasher

Minoo Alvandi and her husband Mehrdad Alvandi, onwers of their family business, The M&M Bistro located at 407 Main street on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

A family owned restaurant in downtown Joplin offers one of only a few Mediterranean menus in the city. Owner Mehrdad Alvandi, who prefers to be called Jef for those who have trouble pronouncing his name, opened M&M Bistro April 26, 2013, where his friend Arde Khaleghi’s eatery, Arde’s Bistro, had been.

“He just retired and he offered me this place, so I came in 2012,” said Alvandi, “and I bought this place.”

Alvandi, his wife Minoo and son Siya, originally from Iran, moved to Joplin from Malaysia in January of 2013 and began readying the restaurant for its opening in April. Alvandi said they were busy from the start, thanks to a story about their grand opening on KOAM-TV the day before.

Alvandi said the addition of a Mediterranean eatery was a change for Joplin.

“Our concept of food, it’s unique,” he said.

Menu items range from gyro platters and wraps to a variety of sandwiches, salads, appetizers, chicken entrees, vegetarian cuisine and desserts, all with a Mediterranean twist. Lunch servings are smaller and cheaper, and the dinner menu has everything the lunch menu does, with the addition of seafood and steak options, larger portions and slightly higher prices. M&M also offers daily specials and a soup of the day.

M&M Bistro began opening for breakfast a month ago, a change that Alvandi said hasn’t quite caught on just yet. For breakfast, they offer omelets, pancakes, eggs, bacon, ham, and Mediterranean breakfast burritos and platters.

M&M also has a banquet area separate from the bistro where customers may rent a space which seats up to 120 people for meetings, receptions, parties and events.

Alvandi’s wife is the restaurant’s chef, and his son works the register and waits tables along with three other servers. Alvandi believes working with his family is what has kept the business going.

“The only thing I can tell you, why we didn’t bankrupt so far, is because [it’s a] family business,” said Alvandi. “We work together because we are family … we have a unity.”