On Saturday, June 26, Otaku Coffee shop, San Antonio’s central anime nerd destination and Japanese-inspired arcade, reopened its doorways after shuttering in March of 2020 — this time around in a bigger and much more ambitious location. The brand new space off Bandera Road particularly eclipses the charms from the former, with nearly double the amount sq footage and 25 new games in the catalog. While similar storefronts exist out and about, Otaku may be the largest, and the only person that provides a lounge-like atmosphere. For that uninitiated, an Otaku, descriptive of the shut-in, is one thing of the derogatory remark in Japan, but based on Otaku Coffee shop co-owner Ron Polendo, here it’s arrived at connote an affable mega-nerd, having a particular interest in anime and need to “have some fun and participate the city.”
Now co-proprietors of Otaku Coffee shop, Ron Polendo and Richard Giron met newcomer year, while students at Central Catholic senior high school. Otakus themselves, they continued to be close, and started frequenting anime conventions during business school at UTSA.
It had been at these occasions the gears started turning. For ten years before opening their first physical, the happy couple increased followers as expert vendors at conventions across Texas. In 2015 they grown roots in their old location, these types of demand, authored intends to expand in 2019. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, everything joined self storage units.
Easily, moving had been within the works. To another year of wading through approvals and resettling, the brand new Otaku Coffee shop reopened to much fanfare.
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“I can’t stress just how much the city joined together simply to get us to spread out support, and due to the grand opening was a millionaire,” Polendo informs MySA.
“I didn’t expect a type of individuals to be waiting in the future in to the store, so we were very humbled with that, to determine the romance the city continues to have for all of us, and they didn’t forget us.”
In the opening, the shop was packed, plus they held a raffle event with artwork from local artists, store merchandise and gift certificates from Cane’s.
However, throughout a typical mid-day at Otaku coffee shop, one might see the colorful merchandise while eating Japanese snacks like takoyaki, also known as octopus balls, then play a round of “Dance Dance Revolution” or “Mai Mai”, a rhythm game featuring two giant washer images as well as an archive of popular anime and J-Pop songs.
Tournament nights, a convention in the old location, are slated to resume over a couple of days. On Thursdays and Fridays, you may join other gamers for any competitive “Super Smash Siblings” match. On Wednesday nights, you will find community in eliminating games through a “Street Fighter” session.
The recognition of Polendo and Giron’s niche institution proves that the long lasting friendship, a proper business sense along with a profound passion for anime can ultimately be considered a recipe for achievement. It takes only a review of any contemporary streaming service homepage to notice the growing recognition of Japanese anime within the American mainstream. The development of Otaku Coffee shop, refuge to die-hard fanatics and possibly a curiosity towards the casual consumer, appears to become further manifestation of this.
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“There are heard about us, provide us with an opportunity. Everybody has their very own opinions of all things, however if you simply such as the anime culture and therefore are searching for any place simply to be genuine and meet other like-minded people, then provide us with a go, come spend time,” states Polendo, closing out our discussion.
“Hopefully we are able to meet your expectations.”
Visit Otaku Coffee shop at 7022 Bandera Road.