We had the good fortune of connecting with Joseph & Gina Stayshich and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joseph & Gina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a husband and wife team (who each had a career background in creative fields), we always planned to one day open a business together. Joseph has been a chef for over 20 years, and Gina grew up in the Houston arts community, making art for the first few decades of her life, and then moving on to arts administration. Our vision has evolved over the last decade. We initially planned to open up a small mom & pop place, where Joseph would offer a simple, but delicious menu. Several years ago we also began to drink what is loosely termed as “natural wine”, and wanted to incorporate a great wine program into our business plan. We made all kinds of plans for our future business, and our timeline for doing so revolved greatly around our children graduating from high school. Our son graduated with the onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020, and our daughter followed by graduating in spring 2021. As it did with most everyone out there, life had become chaotic and stressful in many ways during the new reality of living during a pandemic. Of course Joe and I had never imagined a life-changing scenario such as COVID-19 to factor into our dreams of opening a business together. We thought long and hard about still pursuing this goal of ours, and made some changes to our concept. We made the leap, and opened Bodega Bellaire on November 22, 2021.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Joseph has a background in culinary arts as a chef. Gina grew up making & selling art since she was a teenager, and worked at the Glassell School of Art in the administration for 14 years.

We each bring our creativity to our concept, Bodega Bellaire. Primarily, we are a bottle shop of small production, low intervention wines, which we are both passionate about. Our shop is well-stocked with food items, such as gourmet meats and cheeses, pasta, sauces and local honey. We also have a small selection of home goods and crafts, many made by local artisans and makers. We also have an art wall where we hang small exhibitions from local artists. We call our shop a “curated” Bodega, with carefully selected items that we want to make available to the residents of the surrounding area.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So many places to go! The Museum District to visit ALL of the museums there. Houston has an amazing museum district, Plus we’d have to include The Menil Collection & the Rothko Chapel down the street. Discovery Green would be on the list, and if HSPVA happened to have a free event open to the public, we would go there to see a fantastic performance or take in some artwork in the art gallery. Gina graduated from this school, and our kids went there too. We’d stop by Lankford Grocery for a great burger. Plus…

Chinatown to eat dumplings
Light Years for funky wine and music
Airline Blvd for Farmers Market, El Bolillo Bakery, Houston Dairymaids, and Tacos
Hillcroft for Indian Food and Groceries
Eleanor Tinsley Park for the views and people watching.
Kaboom Books for the bookworms
Vinal Edge for the tunes

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Absolutely! BIG shout out to our dear friend, and fellow bottle shop owner, James Havens of Heights Grocer. A few years ago, Joseph and I were well into our love of natural wine. It wasn’t so easy to come across when we began drinking wines of this kind about a decade ago, and when we moved to the Heights in 2017, besides finding a few good bottles at the local Kroger, there wasn’t a great wine shop close by. Before James even opened his doors, we saw that he was going to carry many wines that we love, and we were so excited that his shop was less than a 5 minute drive from our house! We practically lived at Heights Grocer from the start. James has always been the best to us over the last few years, and his shop gave us easy access to the wines we love and a vast playground in his small shop to explore and expand on our love of small production, low intervention wine. We also need to give a big shout out to John at Heights Grocer, who pretty much knows it all, and always directed us to the most interesting juice on their shelves.

Website: www.bodegabellaire.com

Instagram: @bodegabellaire

Facebook: Bodega Bellaire

Other: Email contact…info@bodegabellaire.com

Image Credits
Images 1, 2, 3, & 5 –photos by Tanya Kostetsky Image 7…photo by Octavio Orozco

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.