Colorful Coffee Shops in San Marcos, TX.

Two Local Businesses’ Double as Art Galleries for Local Artist

By Rachael Shah

Hidden in the hill country of South Texas, San Marcos is home to nearly 54,000 individuals who enjoy the unique culture of the city. Wake The Dead and Jo’s Cafe are among the diverse coffee shops that have made a home for themselves in the San Marcos community.

Founded in 2008, Wake The Dead is a funky coffee house that has a variety of over 55 imported and domestic beer, wine, coffee, specialty drinks and full meals. Julie Balkman, owner of Wake The Dead, said she had a “vision” for the shop.

“I wanted to make Wake The Dead a community space and destination,” said Balkman.

Wake the Dead provides a calming atmosphere for students studying, business meetings, or just a place to relax.

Besides food and drink, Wake The Dead is a safe-haven for local artist to project their artwork for customers to admire, as well as potentially buy. Since the opening is 2008, the shop has become a hidden gathering place for students, artists and locals.

“I actually didn’t even know Wake The Dead existed until my sophomore year,” said Texas State University Junior, Kathryn Carroll. “I feel like it’s one of those things you hear about the longer you stay at Texas State. I go there once a week with my friends now.”

On the weekends, Wake The Dead hosts live music, poetry and improve sessions. The unique activities and concept make Wake The Dead a thriving place for the San Marcos community. Located just off of Old Ranch Road 12, the fun coffee house is close to campus.

“I live right next to Jo’s, so I always pop in for a quick study session or a snack,” said Texas State sophomore, Madison Sobol.

Another small coffee shop that has made a big name for itself in the Texas State Community is Jo’s Cafe. An assortment of coffee, breakfast tacos and sandwiches are among the most popular dishes that Jo’s offers.

Jo’s is only a year old and is within walking distance from campus. The quaint shop is painted a vibrant blue and is located at 310 Mary St. Although small, Jo’s urban vibe draws students to the venue.

“I live right next to Jo’s, so I always pop in for a quick study session and snack,” said Texas State University Sophomore, Madison Sobol. “There’s an outdoor area I really enjoy. Its peaceful and I’d recommend the moon mocha with white mocha. Its awesome!”

Similar to Wake The Dead, the walls of Jo’s Café are decorated with local artwork that customers are encouraged to buy. Once sold, the profit is given directly to the artist. At the beginning of each month, Jo’s switches out the art that hasn’t been sold. The remaining art is returned to its creator.

“If I need a break from studying I’ll just get up and look at the art,” said Samantha Shultz. ”It’s really calm and I think it’s awesome that they show local art. You don’t see that at Starbucks.”

With an ever-changing environment, Jo’s Café keeps their customers intrigued.

“It’s just a really nice place,” Shultz said.” I study there and I see a lot of my friends there too. It’s better than Alkek because the environment is more upbeat. I don’t dread going there to get work done.”

Photos by Madeleine Page


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