The historic Triangle Garage building could become a cozy café

A burnt-out Southtown landmark is set to become a cafe that would bring some Japanese coffee culture to San Antonio.

In early 2020, a fire engulfed the building, which had housed the offices of digital advertising agency Sweb Development, leaving little room except for its exterior brick walls. The building is known as the “Triangle Garage,” according to the city’s Office of Historic Preservation.

Renderings provided by Jasso show that the cafe, which he calls Oak & Saint, would be inside a new building surrounded by outdoor seating areas inside historic walls. He bought the property earlier this year through a shell company linked to his website and brand studio, allhands.design.

Jasso created the Oak & Saint brand about three years ago and has been searching for the right place to put it ever since, he said. He hopes to attract business partners.

The cafe will serve coffee in a calm, service-oriented way, much like cafes he visited on trips to Japan, he said.

“I’ve never been to a cafe in Japan where they wouldn’t come out and serve you the coffee,” he said. “It’s a very high experience in that regard, but it’s also very quiet inside.”

The Texaco gas station on Nogalitos Street, seen in an undated photo. In the records of the city’s Office of Historic Preservation, the local historic landmark is now known as the Triangle Garage.

Oak & Saint will roast coffee beans from around the world – a menu on offer features beers from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Colombia and El Salvador.

“We want to try a lot of unique coffees,” Jasso said. “There’s a pretty big coffee cult in San Antonio. I’m friends with a lot of baristas here.

The cafe’s planned industrial-style design, with bare concrete walls amidst lush vegetation, is inspired by Mexican architecture, he said, while its interior design will give a nod Nordic style minimalism. Black Rabbit, an Austin architecture studio, came up with the current design.

Jasso said he doesn’t have a timeline for the cafe’s opening, but he expects it to take a year or two. He imagines it transforming into a sake and wine bar in the evening, like other businesses such as the Little Death wine shop in Tobin Hill, which operates as Eclipse Coffee in the mornings and early afternoons.

Jasso grew up in the Live Oak area before moving to San Francisco, where he worked for a few tech startups, he said. He then worked in Austin and Berlin before returning to San Antonio near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Antonio produces a lot of entrepreneurs, “but few of them come back and help rebuild San Antonio,” he said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Daniel C. Williams