savage goods

Open concept cafe
View Gallery 6 Photos
Open concept cafe
veggie dream sandwich
savage goods owners photo
The Ploughman’s Lunch
delicious pastries and coffee
Hummus, pesto and bread

food and family find a home in Sunset Heights

by Cassie McClure
photographs by Nohemy Gonzalez

When local stores and restaurants open, owners hope to give the best of themselves and their service to the community that has taken them in. For Savage Goods, a familiar name from the El Paso Downtown Artist and Farmers Market, their new location on Oregon Street aims to do just that—building upon the love they’ve encountered in their new hometown.

For Tyler and Michelle Savage, and Tyler’s sister Mariah Savage, the energy in El Paso was almost tangible in its potential. Newly married, Michelle and Tyler wanted to grow roots in a new location together, and “Mariah told us that El Paso felt like it was on the brink of something incredible,” remembers Michelle. Mariah, who had come to El Paso for work, invited them for a visit.

“El Paso is a place where you want to stay put and keep investing in, where you feel you can belong, and that what you have to give fits what the community may need,” says Michelle. “When we first moved here, we had no jobs, no friends, no apartment, but El Paso felt like our chosen home. It adopted us from day one.”

The Savages began their joint business venture selling a variety of baked goods at the farmers market, where they were well known and loved for their sea salt chocolate chip cookies and donuts. Those goodies are all sold now at the brick-and-mortar cafe, but Savage Goods has since branched out to offer coffee, breakfast, lunch, appetizers, and a chance to interact with the happy hour crowd by offering beer and wine.

It took two years for the trio to find a location that spoke to their vision—near the bustle of Downtown El Paso, but slightly tucked away with room for parking and a patio. Their location was a recognized old convenience store, and they made sure to get community buy-in before they went to work.

Tyler explains that this outreach on their end is part of what took time to find the right location. “We needed to know how it works in El Paso, what’s important,” he remembers. “When we asked, everyone wanted to tell us what El Paso meant to them and what makes the place tick.”

During the renovation, they pried bars off the windows, dramatically enhancing the flow of natural light in the space and giving the early bird crowd a chance to enjoy spectacular sunrises over the skyline. A bar in the middle of the dining area is for patrons to work on laptops during the day, and for those who want the experience of social connection that is so often missing these days. “We want to know your name and your favorite drink, and for you to know you belong here,” says Michelle.

Mariah, who heads the kitchen, says she feeds off the energy in the café, which is different in the morning and the evening.

“When it’s five o’clock and a lot of people are hanging out, it’s such an energy boost,” she muses. “Or when you’ve been working on donuts for hours and you see people grabbing them to go, it completely changes the feel of the kitchen. You’re now a part of what’s happening.”

Savage Goods