Local café at the heart of El Paso
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
At the heart of Five Points in Central El Paso resides Joe, Vinny & Bronson, a coffee house built with a different perspective— it sells coffee, wine and beer.
Joe Vinny & Bronson takes its approach from big city coffee houses that accommodate for the urban patron looking for a little bit of everything wherever they go, said owner Christina Muñoz-Estrada.
As a native and current local of Central El Paso, Estrada, said she always dreamed of doing something for her community that would be welcomed by people that are known for their tradition and part of El Paso history.
“We think that Five Points is really a treasure that has a lot of potential. It used to be a focus, a center of town that had a lot of great people, I don’t know if at one time there used to be wealth here,” Estrada said. “I know that people have a lot of memories (here), there’s a lot of rooted families here in town (and) I think it’s just been neglected. I think that it has the potential of being something new. It’s a mid-point of the city which nobody’s really given thought to.”
The coffee house takes its name from a play on words. Joe refers to a Cup o’ Joe, Vinny as in vino and Bronson can be linked to brewdog’s, a term for beer in the U.K. after the BrewDogs brewery that specializes in craft beer.
Graduate student Rachel Zobeck, guidance and counseling/MED, meets with friends at the coffee shop and already plans on using the place throughout the semester as a quiet place of study.
“I love it, I feel like it’s kind of a hidden place that gets overlooked, but there’s a lot here that makes you want to sit and talk to someone or sit and think about something important or just write or study,” Zobeck said. “I like that it’s down to earth but still artsy in its own way. It feels less corporate, less manufactured and more creative.”
The coffee house is built on the idea that it’s offering a more homegrown feel with some of its coffee selections, said Estrada, who started her bachelor’s in Marketing at UTEP and finished it at the University of North Texas.
“We serve coffee, wine and beer. I think our signature, to our coffee shop at least, is our ‘Café de Olla’ and ‘Café con Leche’ and the reason for that is because of the mixed demographic here,” Estrada said. “The beer, initially we thought it would be an introduction to central as far as craft is concerned but it was just the opposite, you know we dove into it after we realized that people were totally on it, so we’re wanting to build and build on that menu selection to bring the best of what we can for the craft.”
Senior organization and corporation communication major Athena Matyear is a local of Central El Paso that appreciates Joe, Vinny & Bronson’s not only as a coffee house but as a venue for local talents and its support for the community. Martyear said she has seen that support firsthand after having organized a screening of short films by UTEP students from the digital media department at the coffee shop.
“It’s open for everybody for the fact that it’s a café and it’s got that comfortable environment so if you need to do homework you’d be sitting down all the time. You’re not going to get uncomfortable or if you’re sitting around with friends, it’s got that environment too,” Matyear said.
According to Matyear, the venue plays good music, and the fact that they even serve alcohol, makes it better. Additionally, she said the atmosphere makes a good hangout place for those who drink and those that don’t as well.
“It’s not like going to a bar where there’s only drinking,” Matyear said. “The location, there’s nothing like it in central.”
The coffee shop has a good set up for the student-oriented patrons who are looking for a different location to study or do homework. Estrada said she has foreseen certain aspects to ensure the proper accommodations to the student crowd.
“We have free Wi-Fi first of all, that targets the student group a lot. It’s a very inviting atmosphere it’s comfortable it’s not crazy it’s very lounge-like. We cater to that kind of group that wants to study, doing work,” Estrada said. “As far as students go, we’d like to work with that especially during finals. Our hours are open till late, but we would totally be open to open a 24 hours thing as another option to the library.”
Joe, Vinny & Bronson’s Bohemian Cafe is located at 824 N. Piedras. For more information, call 564-1899.
Mario Simental may be reached at email@example.com.