Loco for Local
My name is Donna Tuttle, and I have a confession to make.
I was once a mall rat, circa 1983.
Location of crime: Lincoln Mall in Woonsocket, R.I., where V-neck velour-sweatered adolescent boys could check their hair in the nearly blinding reflection of the Maybelline Roll-On Kissing Potion-slathered lips of teenaged girls.
Nowadays, I’d rather poke my eyes out with large knitting needles than go to the mall, or even the grocery store. With every passing year, I find a growing appreciation for the small shops and vendors, who offer quality local products and genuine, personal service.
This year, I’ve found some new San Antonio favorites to share along with some old standbys. This isn’t a commercial endorsement, but a list of some of the Alamo City faces and places that make me smile instead of reach for my supersize bottle of Ibuprofen.
* Get Nailed on Broadway: I’ve been going here for more than 10 years, but I couldn’t start a list like this without a special nod to my hairdresser, Johna. She’s a sole proprietor of her own hair business out of a little nail salon, located in a funky yellow house on Broadway. She is an awesome highlight artist, reasonably priced, makes my appointments months in advance, never makes me wait and, more importantly, isn’t a big yakker.
* Brown Coffee Co. on W. Kings Highway: Owner Aaron Blanco is kind of like Bill Nye the Science Guy for coffee lovers. He buys his beans seasonally from around the world and roasts them in his little facility tucked away in the Deco District of San Antonio. He teaches customers about the art of coffee, whips up poetic espressos, and has taken my taste buds to new heights. I order two pounds of the Kenya online, he emails me when it’s ready and I drop by to pick up the coffee, sealed in sleek silver bags.
* Kings Court Frankfurter Express: You don’t have to worry about crazy, multilevel menus. Kings Court only offers one food genre — hotdogs. So on a nice day, I can walk to this little neighborhood gem and pick up a Chicago-style hotdog, with neon-green relish, a pickle and tomatoes. I take along my newspapers and magazines and eat at the outside counter built into the front porch and watch the neighbors walk by.
* Bric Brac N Brass: Wedding? Shower? Retirement? I almost always head to this tiny shop located near the Quarry Market. The selection is manageable, not overwhelming, the items are beautiful and the gift wrapping is gorgeous. No waiting in line. No parking lot gymnastics.
* Bolner’s Meat Market: My friend Tanji Patton turned me on to this nearly 100-year-old family meat market in San Antonio. The best filet mignons and diablos ever. And the butchers there really help when you’re stumped. They will season and vacuum-pack your purchases. Hint: Buy a little cup of homemade banana pudding while you shop.
The Filling Station: You can smell this sandwich shop before you see it in Southtown because the owners bake their own sandwich rolls, which are warm and fluffy, and awesome pies. The shop is located, in — you guessed it — an old gas station, giving the place lots of character.
Let’s go local. Tell me some of your favorite spaces and places…..