Struggling dual-culture restaurant looks to community for support

Photos by Elyse Askari
Chamangos, a local smoothie and Danish food spot, seeks community support for its growing business.

■ By Elyse Askari / Reporter

Doing what you love is what most people dream of calling their occupational description, and for Tony Iversen from the two-in-one restaurant Chamangos/Iversen’s Danish Food, it’s what he’s setting out to do. Iversen, 60, has always had a knack for making things. As a high schooler he bought vending machines and planted them in various locations around his city, worked at In-n-Out, Knott’s Berry Farm, and even dabbled in the candy bar and chocolate business, but after 20 years in manufacturing, it was time to trade in his day job to chase after his dream.

Local vandal hits Chamangos and Iverson is having trouble affording the replacement.

Chamangos had already been open for quite some time on South State Street in San Jacinto, and when Iversen took it over he decided to keep up the theme and menu and incorporate his own Danish twist on the predominantly Mexican cuisine. Hence Iversen’s Danish Food became the second member of the restaurant duo, and officially opened its doors on November 5, 2016.
On the Chamangos side is an array of beverages: fruit smoothies, fruit salads, shaved ice and berry and fruit infused waters, while the Danish food side boasts the Danske Pandekager, whose description reads “Danish Pancake,” and the Æbleskiver, which in Danish is a round, pancake-like ball. Iversen has also expanded and created a sandwich menu, which includes classics like grilled cheese, tuna melts and the like. He also proudly confessed that he churns his own freshly-made ice cream, and makes his own lingonberry, vanilla, and chocolate flavors using real, fresh ingredients on a daily basis. “You can taste the difference,” he joyously interjected, “I’m bringing back a lost art.”

Beautiful sunset view from Chamangos’ dining area.

Iversen’s restaurant is homey and quaint with a simple interior and windows for walls which overlook the bustling street outside. The reality, however, is that it’s not such an easy task to keep the place running. One window has been boarded up with thick pieces of plywood due to the rash actions of a young delinquent earlier in the year, and several near-death heart complications have meant closed doors on several different occasions for the restaurant.
Today, the citizens of the valley are encouraged to support growing businesses by staying local. Don’t go out of town on the weekend, support your city! Many businesses in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley are struggling to stay afloat and get the boost that they need to truly maximize their industries and operate smoothly and successfully. Staying local helps small businesses like Chamangos to grow, which encourages economic improvement throughout the valley, and will eventually help make the Hemet/San Jacinto area a better, more diverse place to call home.

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