Coffee shop, art gallery coming to downtown's medical district

by Ben OlivoOctober 16, 2019
Laura and Rudy Lopez are opening Kapej, a coffee shop/art gallery, at 415 Camden St. Photos by Ben Olivo | Heron

A combination coffee shop and art gallery is opening next week in downtown's medical district.

Kapej, 415 Camden St., is the brainchild of Rudy and Laura Lopez, who will open the spot in a former medical office on Monday.

The couple envisioned a place where people could order coffee, which will be provided by Shotgun House Coffee Roasters, or breakfast or lunch, get on the internet and chill while being surrounded by art.

The breakfast options at Kapej include both klobasniks (aka, pigs in a blanket stuffed with ham or sausage and cheese) and kolaches (the more traditional Czech dessert stuffed with jam, for example). For lunch, they'll serve pizzas, flatbreads and salads from a small commercial kitchen.

The Lopez' expected to attract the hospital workers from nearby Baptist Medical Center, and the medical offices nearby.

"It's not a full-blown restaurant, but just a few items we can do best," said Rudy Lopez, who hails from Guatemala.

But the small space also acts as a gallery, with artwork adorning the front, and a separate gallery in the back.

"Art galleries are really struggling so you have to combine it with something else in order to make it live," said Laura Lopez, who grew up in Ukraine.

Kapej plans to host art receptions every third Friday of the month. The inaugural gathering is this Friday, 6-9 p.m., with paintings by local artist Vera Smith.

"I also wanted to do a gallery that will be very comfortable," Laura Lopez said. "When I go to an art gallery, they always have a very stiff atmosphere and you have the sales person sizing you up. I wanted to make an art gallery accessible to everybody."

Hours will be 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, with the kitchen closing at 2:30 p.m. The couple is still working on its weekend hours, when the space will host Mexican kitchen pop-ups.

Contact Ben Olivo at 210-421-3932 | | @rbolivo on Twitter

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