The brainchild of Benny and Sandy Fontana, Olives Italian Market evokes an Old World corner market with dishes hewn from simple family recipes and hard-to-find Italian imported edibles. Panini makers layer imported Italian meats and cheeses atop fresh, rustic breads baked in-house to forge sandwiches, and creamy house-made gelato cools tongues steamy from java brewed from house-roasted coffee beans. The family-run shop also stocks a market of Italian ingredients, including extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegars, capers, pasta, and anchovies that patrons can use to create mouthwatering meals that inspire jealousy in cans of Chef Boyardee.:m]]
The wine experts at Water 2 Wine ferment their own varietals onsite and please oenophiles' palates with more than 100 wines from 13 countries. Visitors may sample their diverse offerings by the glass or bottle or learn about winemaking in edifying classes. Water 2 Wine also assists wine aficionados in creating their own custom-labeled batches of wine onsite.
Peering out onto Main Plaza between the window panes of their 1925 shopfront, New Braunfels Coffee's baristas tempt passing noses with fragrant Lavazza espresso and baked-from-scratch French pastries. Seven types of salads nest toppings of grilled chicken, feta cheese, and cranberries, and hot deli sandwiches couple with cups of daily soup on tabletops scattered across the café's sunny tiled floor. While the building houses historic charms, the amenities are decidedly modern—free WiFi allows midsip customers to monitor global goings-on or challenge former PE instructors to games of online poker.
Beverly Crock and her daughters, Lauren and Shannon, are the family behind For Goodness Sake Natural Food Store. They stock familiar items such as bacon, as well as lesser-known products such as bioflavonoids—plant compounds believed to improve the skin's appearance. But if visitors aren't familiar with such items, it's not a problem. “We educate people,” Shannon explained to The NB Scene. “That comes naturally to me because I grew up this way and it is my lifestyle as well.”
Although the store's representatives happily guide patrons through their inventory, many of the store's products need no introduction. Rainbow-hued carrots and crisp sugar-snap peas beckon from their perches, and organic eggs come from Vital Farms, where chickens roam in pastures and take European vacations whenever they want. Additionally, at the juice bar patrons sip on nectars squeezed from the store’s organic produce.
With its corrugated sheet-metal siding and rough-hewn wood pillars, the façade of Pookie Jane’s Boutique hearkens back to a frontier saloon. But the rustic exterior belies the boutique’s sleek collection of designer apparel and accessories by Desigual, Solitaire, and Elan. In addition to bold-patterned threads, the store brims with hand-wrought home accents from local artisans, including Jane’s own hand-poured soy candles, whose warm glow and sweet scents prove a romantic alternative to a flaming rose bouquet.