Located at the landmark corner of Cevallos and Flores, just straddling southtown, sits the newly revived Wong’s Bodega with a mission to connect communities through sharing healthy living.
“If you made it here, we want to sell it here,” reads a call for artisans organized by the staff of the Bodega, “October at Wong’s is devoted to curating more of our wonderful San Antonio artisans, makers and creators.”
Entry displays hold the only native North American plant that contains caffeine, Youpon; fresh greens from Green Bexar Farms; hand-made sustainable dish scrubbers; a range of fresh fermented and pickled products from Happy Gut and a large selection of local beverages from kombuchas to juices and wild sodas and teas.
Practicing lawyer and owner of the historic grocery store, Raul Martinez-Salinas III didn’t expect San Antonio shoppers to flock towards local products as much as they have, with a large majority of products on the shelves hailing from within County lines.
“Each unique product is unique like people, everything has its own personality,” said Martinez-Salinas who advocates for small business owners. He hopes that Wong’s can be a platform for artisans to connect with more markets.
The idea for Wong’s has been marinating for over 20 years, said Martinez-Salinas who leapt at the opportunity of the building’s vacancy last fall and opened earlier this year at the peak of the Covid 19 era.
Normalizing a healthy lifestyle in a culture rich environment like SA has it’s challenges but the Bodega’s team is passionate about learning and sharing the art of integrating native plants and foods into daily meals through education based in produce care and preparation.
Many artisans and artists alike have found their place at the bodega, including local artist Alain Boris whose paintings adorn the walls of the grocery store. As the edible business expands so will the local products offered ranging from visual art and music to garden bouquets.
“I appreciate when people throw themselves out there and plant a seed that grows,” said Martinez-Salinas who hopes to share that harvest energy with local artisans at Wong’s Bodega.