Inside the Tulum-inspired yoga studio and restaurant bringing vacation vibes to San Antonio
Before opening restaurant and yoga studio 5 Points Local, San Antonio entrepreneur Lisa Asvestas had hit a rough patch. An “existential crisis” led her to Tulum, Mexico, where a regimen of yoga and cold-pressed juices worked its magic — and became inspiration for a new concept.
Not long after returning from the 2015 trip, Asvestas says she awoke in the middle of the night and knew she needed to bring what fed her in Tulum to Alamo City. “It was selfish,” she says. “I wanted to create that for myself back at home.”
It’s clear others in San Antonio were looking for much the same thing. Since opening in 2016, 5 Points Local has become a hot spot where lines form out the doorway, regardless if it's for Sunday brunch or a quiet Wednesday morning coffee.
Asvestas had already experienced success as a restauranteur with The Cove, a sort of one-stop shop that combines a live music venue, beer garden, car wash, laundromat, and locally sourced restaurant. In many ways, 5 Points Local is the yin to The Cove’s Yang. “The Cove was sort of my first evolution of bringing local, organic produce and grass fed beef to a San Antonio menu, of supporting local farmers,” Avestas says. “5 Points Local … is the next evolution.”
Exposed white brick walls greet customers in the 100-year-old building’s front dining room, and the decor features nods to a white sand beaches with Caribbean blue glass pendant lamps hanging above two long communal tables. Asvestas says those design elements were not intentionally chosen to evoke the setting of her 2015 retreat. "Now that you mention it, yes, it does remind me of Tulum,” she admits.
What Asvestas and her business partner and best friend, Abby Johnson, did intend to bring was some of the city's energy to San Antonio. Their unique concept has the feel of a resort with a yoga studio, community space, and full-service restaurant full of healthy choices.
The second-floor yoga studio has a treehouse vibe thanks to windows on three walls overlooking the 5 Points neighborhood below. Karma Yoga, or donation-based yoga, draws a crowd of beginner and advanced yogis every Friday night and Sunday morning. Other offerings include kids, prenatal, Iyengar yoga, flow, and ashtanga yoga — a “sound bath with gongs.” Asvestas teaches a Shamanic breathwork workshop once a month as well.
“People fill the yoga classes and then they stay and talk and eat,” Asvestas says. “You go to yoga studios and you’re feeling really great and open and relaxed and that’s an ideal place to have community. But then you leave. Here, you can stay for a meal and build community.”
There are plenty of options for the post-yoga crowd or those just opting for a noteworthy meal. All dishes are gluten-free and the menu also includes vegan and paleo items.
For breakfast, there’s the vegan Baked Bowl, consisting of warm grains, dried fruit, and cashew cream finished with a grilled caramelized banana. Or customers can opt for the Rise and Shine bowl, a pastured egg and veggie scramble with refried black beans, arugula salad, and avocado. The S.A. Stack of three pancakes topped with Texas pecans and maple syrup is popular, as are the daily specials.
For lunch and dinner, there’s the virtuous zucchini noodle-based Sun Bowl with kale pesto and an olive salad. For those wanting something a little more puro San Antonio, the barbacoa bowl fits the bill. “This is San Antonio — we put a lot of love flavor into our food," Asvestas explains. "We do barbacoa in a healthy way, with grass fed beef. Put that on sweet potatoes and spinach and you’re set.”
“Vinkies,” vegan Twinkies, are available in the pastry case near the open kitchen, as are fruit tarts, banana bread, cookies, and muffins, many of which are vegan. Pair one of those treats with an expert brewed, locally roasted coffee; golden milk latte; or butter coffee to help that post-yoga buzz last a bit longer. Treat yourself to a pint from local favorites Alamo Beer or Southerleigh, or a glass of wine from Texas’ Pedernales Winery, Becker Vineyards, or William Chris Winery for an entirely different type of buzz.
With two iconic spaces now thriving and bringing different energy to San Antonio, we couldn’t help but wonder what’s next for Asvestas. “I do have another idea for a concept bubbling up,” she says, “but I’ll keep it a secret for now.” Until then, we’re glad we can catch vacation vibes without ever leaving the city.