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Mi Tierra goes from restaurant to temporary market to keep community fed

The Cortez Family opened a pop-up grocery market in the restaurant's parking lot to help the community.

SAN ANTONIO — It's not uncommon to see a line when you visit Mi Tierra in downtown San Antonio. But the line doesn't usually form outside. Late Thursday morning, however, that's exactly what happened. 

A day after the city ordered that restaurants suspend dine-in services, the Cortez Family, which owns and operates Mi Tierra as well as other area restaurants, decided to offer more than just food orders to-go.

Fitting the tradition of Historic Market Square, they opened a pop-up grocery market in the Mi Tierra parking lot.

"We have product, we have a great supply chain," said Pete Cortez, who was in charge on the pop-up's first day.

Customers had a variety of options to buy from, including milk, eggs, bottled water, rice, bread and fresh vegetables. 

Credit: Mat Gaskins
People line up to buy groceries in the Mi Tierra parking lot
Credit: Mat Gaskins
Fresh vegetables sold in the Mi Tierra parking lot

Most unusual was the toilet paper being sold. It came in jumbo-sized rolls.

Credit: Mat Gaskins

Cortez said that they want to serve their community, even if the way they're serving looks a little different than it did a few days ago. He said they wanted to provide an accessible grocery option for people who live downtown. 

It's also unclear how long this grocery market will stay open.

"Last week, we were taking it week by week. By the weekend, we were taking it day by day. Then we were taking it hour by hour earlier this week. Now we're taking it minute by minute," Cortez said.

Whatever the future holds, it's clear that now is a rare opportunity for some to be able to make the claim that they bought toilet paper at Mi Tierra.

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