Walk in through the antique doors and you are greeted by the comforting smell of roasting coffee and the familiar whirl of an espresso machine. Putumayo International music strums softly from the speakers above while today’s game plays on the television.
Every wall is painted with a different vibrant color and showcases exceptional artwork. After you have your steaming cup of coffee or tantalizing pastry, you take it outside to enjoy while sitting on a breezy patio. This is only the beginning of the unique and enriching experience that awaits customers at Madexalli Cultural Coffee Bar.
In fall 2011, Mary Jane Morales-Salgado opened Madexalli in The Alley on Bitters, 555 W. Bitters Road, a place she refers to as “San Antonio’s best kept secret.” The name for the coffee bar is derived from the names of her three beloved grandchildren: Madilyn, Dexter and Allisyn.
Salgado is no stranger to the coffee business. She opened her first coffee house and bar, SouthBound Texas Coffee House and Saloon, in the border city of Eagle Pass.
“Even before I opened my first coffee shop, I was very involved in the community,” Salgado says, adding that she did economic development for the Kickapoo Tribe and served as a city councilwoman in Eagle Pass.
After some unexpected changes in her life, Salgado left her eldest son, Sergio, to care for the coffee bar in Eagle Pass and came to San Antonio last year with newfound inspiration and plans to open a second coffee bar.
She also had a specific theme in mind for her new store.
“I wanted to do a cultural theme with a little Latin pop,” Salgado says. “My inspiration came from all our moms and our abuelitas. They fed us and nourished us. Then I had my babies and they’ve grown so fast, and I just wanted to have something for my grandchildren to see.”
By the looks of her store, she executed her theme perfectly. She also lined the walls with some of her own artwork as well as pieces from featured local artists. Salgado reupholstered some retro furniture and had the focal point of the store – the bar – built to look rustic.
“I wanted my kitchen to be like a hacienda,” she says. “When customers come in, I want them to feel like they’re sitting in my kitchen – a nice, warm Latin kitchen.”
Madexalli offers organic, fair-trade coffee and houses an enormous espresso machine that can whip up any customized drink order. “I make sure that all of my coffee is fair trade because all of the money goes back to the communities that make it,” Salgado says.
Apart from coffee, Madexalli also offers smoothies, teas and floats. Customers looking to relax with a glass of wine or a cold beer will love what Madexalli has to offer. Imported beers from Germany, Mexico and Japan as well as domestic beers are available. There is also a large selection of wines from Spain and other Latin countries that Salgado personally pairs with different cheeses.
Various baked goods are prepared fresh, in-house each morning using recipes that Salgado or her employees create. The most popular menu item at Madexalli is their baked sandwiches. One is a butter croissant turkey sandwich with provolone and pesto spread and spinach. The other is a ham and cheddar with jalapeno spread and spinach and tomatoes.
Madexalli also offers kolaches, chicken salad and soups. Customers with a sweet tooth can get muffins, scones, Mexican sweet bread and other pastries that are also made fresh in the store.
After customers are full and rested, they can browse the retail items and accessories that are sold at Madexalli. “We have a lot of rustic, Mexican pieces and, of course, a lot of wine.” The Latin pop and café music that is played in the store is also available for purchase.
Karaoke Night is held every Friday night. Also, bring your study group or business meeting to Madexalli for a welcome change of scenery. “Our hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week but if we have customers who let us know ahead of time that they’re bringing a big group, we would love to stay late and accommodate,” she says.
Madexalli is truly a one-of-a-kind experience where customers can find delicious food and rich culture in one location. “I want customers to feel like they’re in the middle of the world,” Salgado says.
She has taken this vision and turned it into a tangible place where customers can hear, taste, smell and experience the Latin culture in the comfort of a small coffee shop.