East Side restaurant says it's business as usual despite escalated violence

Nonprofit SAGE partners with new, existing businesses on East Side

SAN ANTONIO – The East Side has seen its fair share of violent crimes this year with at least 10 murders and countless shootings since January.

There are more than 1,200 businesses in the area hoping the criminal activity won’t keep people away.

San Antonio man James Rivera said he and his wife are aware of the violence and use discretion when visiting the East Side.

"We know that there's crime here," Rivera said. "There are certain areas we don’t go, especially during certain times. But we go to the East Side quite often."

On Monday morning, Rivera and his wife were at Pancho & Gringos on Nolan Street, which has been open for three years.

Owner Sergio Calderon said despite the escalated violence in the area, his place tends to stay busy.

"It’s not affecting it at all," Calderon said. "I’m concerned, but I’m not too much."

Calderon seems to think it is business as usual at his restaurant, because he's located in the historical district of the East Side.

Rivera said he hopes more patrol in the area will cut down on the violence.

"I’m glad there's more of a police presence around here, which is certainly going to help," Rivera said.

He said he still won’t venture to the East Side night.

For now, that won’t affect Pancho and Gringos' bottom line, as they’re not open for dinner.

"From the beginning, just breakfast and lunch. And not because I’m scared; it's because I’m alone. I'm the only cook and chef in the kitchen," Calderon said.

The nonprofit organization San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, or SAGE, supports existing businesses and potential new businesses.

SAGE Executive Director Jackie Gorman said that with over 1,000 businesses in operation, the East Side is becoming a community of opportunity.

"There are 1,200 places where people might get a job. There's 1,200 places where people might do business. There's 1,200 opportunities for the earnings that are made on the East Side to be spent on the East Side," Gorman said.

SAGE operates as a development resource through partnerships and alliances with businesses.