When Charles Gonzalez and his family moved back to San Antonio from Minneapolis seven years ago, he and his wife began to think about starting up something of their own. “When we found this space, located across from The Luxury and just down the street from lots of apartments, we thought we could do more than just coffee, to differentiate ourselves from other shops,” said the KSAT weekend anchor. “We decided to add food, beer and wine to attract more of a night crowd.”
Rosella Coffee Co. (203 E Jones, (210) 277-8574) opened mid-March this year in a bright, airy building that opens up to a courtyard shared with Overland Partners. The Dado Group, that same design/build firm behind The Monterey and The Granary, designed and renovated the space, which, in a previous life, served as a plumbing supply warehouse. Gonzalez decided to retain the two exposed brick walls, with the Dado Group converting the others into functional floor-to-ceiling chalkboards and adding a lofted second floor. Flooded with natural light, this year’s cool spring season has served Rosella well—pleasant temperatures have kept doors to the shady courtyard open almost every day.
Gonzalez envisioned a space attractive to both morning coffee-and-breakfast customers and an evening crowd—hence the beer, wine and snack offerings. With almost exclusively Texas beers on tap and a Lone Star-heavy vino list, the menu works for most any time of day.
Collaboration rules at Rosella. Tim McDiarmid of Special Projects Social and Tim the Girl catering conceptualized the menu, which revolves around uncomplicated flavors and high-quality ingredients. Pastries and sandwich bread hail from Bakery Lorraine, and a rotating roster of other locally-sourced snacks includes fresh cold-pressed juices via Crave, gluten-free goods from Powerhouse Bakery, Zhi Tea out of Austin and sweets via Buono Dolce Signature Desserts.
Though developed by McDiarmid, menu items are all prepared in-house daily. Bites such as the avocado toast ($3.50) typify Rosella’s offerings: simple enough that while you could make it at home, Rosella’s ingredients—Bakery L bread; high quality sea salt, olive oil, cumin—and ambiance, not to mention totally reasonable prices, sucker you in. Sandwiches ($7), Granny Smith apple and Vermont cheese toast ($3) and peanut butter and banana toast ($3) follow suit, while the oatmeal ($4), milky and sweet with dried cherries and almond slices, is decidedly better than any you’ll make at home.
Breakfast options are expanding, as evidenced by the recent addition of baked eggs ($6.50) and a foray into Sunday morning mimosas ($4) with fresh-squeezed OJ. The snack and dinner menu features a more even spread of simple—cured olives ($4), Marcona almonds ($4)—and complex—tuna conserves ($12), charcuterie ($14), baked feta ($10).
But the heart of this shop is the java. Partnered up with Mike McKim and Cuvée Coffee since day one, Lorenzo Perkins trained the young Rosella staff on the art and science of lattes ($3.75), pour over ($3) and cold brew coffee ($3) and more. “Cuvée’s customer service has been beyond amazing. I keep telling their owner that if we can deliver the same service that we receive from them, we’re set,” said Gonzalez.
On weekdays, Rosella opens at 6:30 a.m. and keeps it going all day, closing at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Fridays. Saturday sees customers between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and Sunday hours run 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.