Culture News

Bodega 420 to Open Thursday on Roosevelt Row

The enclave of arty businesses near Fifth and Roosevelt streets includes a little bit of everything, including boutiques, a bookstore, and a beer joint. Starting tomorrow, you can add Bodega 420 to that alliterative list.

The neighborhood store, which is co-owned by Jobot's John Sagasta and local immigration attorney Adrian Fontes, will make its debut on Thursday. And according to the pair, Bodega 420 will -- fittingly enough -- offer "a little bit of everything."

While its shelves are stocked with an odds-and-sods collection mostly of condiments and snack foods (read: ramen, candy, and cookies), the store will offer more groceries, dry goods, and supplies in the weeks ahead, Sagasta says. Eventually, he says, that will include canvases and paints for artists, tire repair kits for cyclists, and cigarettes.

He adds that it will be a more convenient spot for denizens of the downtown art scene versus having to travel to the nearby Circle K, Safeway, or other specialty stores.

"We're eventually going to add all kinds of stuff, just whatever people within walking distance can utilize . . . basic music supplies, art supplies, dental floss, hardware, piñatas," Sagasta says. "It's a bodega, man, so whatever you think the community might need, we're going to try to carry."

Like drumsticks and guitar strings, for instance, in case any of the musicians performing at the Lost Leaf or at First Friday are in sudden need of supplies.

"It's not going to be anything you might find down at Haymarket [Guitars] or other specialty stores. Just basic stuff. There's been so many times where I've been at the Lost Leaf where someone needs some drumsticks or a drum head and had to go home for it," Sagasta says.

And the 420 doesn't necessarily signify just the bodega's address, as Sagasta says it will also carry some bongs and other glassware.

And if you've got the munchies, the bodega will be filled with locally grown produce and other food items. Sagasta says they're planning on partnering with Valley farms for fruits and vegetables.

"It's like an old-style mercantile or general store, which is something we've joked about," Sagasta says. Albeit, one that also sells water pipes.

At the moment, however, the bodega (which is located at 420 East Roosevelt Street, across from MADE) is relatively empty and only half-completed, says Fontes. Ready or not, he says, they open Thursday.

"It's not going to be anywhere near what the finished project we envisioned for another couple weeks," he says "I don't think that it's going to be done until the end of the summer."

Walking through the former residence that houses Bodega 420, which was built in the 1930s and was the childhood home of local philanthropist Thomas J. Pappas, Fontes and Sagasta point out where they're planning to stock as they continue to prep the store.

"We'll going to have refrigerated cases along that wall filled with soda, juices, waters and drinks," Fontes says. "Over there we'll have containers of bulk foods like lentils and couscous. In the kitchen, we'll stock Windex and other cleaning supplies in the place where you usually store cleaning supplies."

Fontes, who has converted half of the eight-room building into office space for his law practice, says they will also install a large chalkboard where people can jot down what they'd like the store to carry. If 10 other patrons vote for it, he says, they'll stock the item.

"What we will carry will be driven by the community," Fontes says.

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