A Bodega for All

In Eat, May 2022 by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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A new one-stop shop is opening in Raleigh’s Mordecai neighborhood from a local restaurant owner.

There are a lot of different meanings of the word “bodega.” For a New Yorker, it means a convenience store on the corner filled with everything from snacks and beverages to toilet paper and laundry detergent—plus notoriously good breakfast sandwiches prepared by the cashier (BEC, please!). For the Latina community, instead of breakfast sandwiches there’s juicy birria tacos. And for Spaniards, a bodega (which translates to “wine shop”) is a spot where you can enjoy a glass of vino and some tapas.

At the new Brookside Bodega in the Shoppes at Brookside, all three of these meanings collide. A project by Irregardless Cafe owner Lee Robinson and his partners Michelle Robinson, Darrell Brown and Jacob Paramo (fun fact: This is Brown and Paramo’s first experience with ownership!), Brookside Bodega will replace the Falafel & Co. location, which also once housed the popular Brookside Market & Pizza. 

“[My partners and I] all come from these very different spots, but we all had these same kinds of markets in our neighborhoods,” says Robinson. “The term bodega is fluid.”

Robinson adds that the Brookside Bodega menu will lean more toward New York-style bodega food—think affordable fare like chopped cheese, birria tacos, and finger foods like buffalo cauliflower and avocado toast—plus a rotating cast of entrees. And, of course, a breakfast sandwich will be available all day. Like at Irregardless, a majority of the menu will also be vegetarian-friendly. 

“The goal is to be an affordable spot that everyone in that neighborhood—from the $1.5 million homes to the project four blocks away—everyone’s gonna wanna come and hang out,” says Robinson. It’s also his hope that folks will “come in for one but walk out with three,” meaning if you stop in for a beer and/or lunch, you’ll leave with a bottle of wine or a homemade takeout meal to enjoy for dinner later. 

On the market side, Brookside Bodega will carry “the 50 most common things you’d expect a convenience store to have”—aka eggs, dairy, toilet paper… plus lots of candy and ice cream for the kiddos at the elementary school down the street. Toilet paper, breakfast sandwiches and wine all under one roof? What more could you want (?!). @brooksidebodega

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