Restaurant Spotlight: Bodega 1205 - Downtown Market - Conquistador


This article was first published in the September issue of Chattahoochee Valley Living. Pick up your copy now at your local Zelmo’s Zip in Convenience Store!

Salute to Cesar Bautista and his wife Jossy on opening the new Downtown Market in Columbus and his newest restaurant Conquistador in Auburn.

Getting a few minutes with Cesar is hard to do, but I got a chance to sit and talk about his vision and passion for what he is doing in downtown Columbus and now in Auburn. We spent several hours and honestly, I could have spent the whole day with him.

Bodega 1206

In the heart of downtown Columbus, where community, culture, and flavor converge harmoniously, you’ll find the vibrant Downtown Market. Its very name, “Bodega,” encapsulates its essence—a place where residents gather to nourish their bodies and celebrate their cultural heritage. More than a market, it’s a testament to the soul of community, well-being, and culinary delight, all under one roof.

Owner and entrepreneur Cesar Bautista, the visionary behind this culinary oasis, has a profound commitment to both his community and the traditions that inspire him. His passion shines through as he shares his vision for the Downtown Market, a project born from the success of Bodega 1205 and the innovative Conquistador restaurant in Auburn.

Bodega 1205 stands as a beacon of family, culture, and community. It’s a place where people from all walks of life come to savor the rich tapestry of Latin American flavors, from their renowned coffee to signature Healthy Fit meals. But for Cesar, it’s about more than just culinary excellence. It’s a labor of love and a commitment to fostering belonging and unity in Columbus.

Cesar’s fondness for Columbus is evident, describing it as an inclusive and comfortable place where businesses uplift one another. It’s a community where mentorship, advice, and camaraderie among business owners prevail, even extending to shared celebrations at Bodega 1205.

Downtown Market

The dream of Downtown Market has deep roots, tracing back to when Bodega 1205 was initially envisioned as a downtown market. The word “bodega,” meaning store or market in Spanish, perfectly encapsulates their aspiration. Now, within the historic Empire Building, Downtown Market breathes life into a cherished landmark, providing a dynamic culinary hub for downtown Columbus.

What sets Downtown Market apart is its unwavering dedication to the community. It offers a diverse range of options, from Grab & Go healthy choices to essential groceries tailored for small families and local residents. Yet, this is more than just commerce—it’s a mission to nurture the community. Cesar actively seeks input from customers to shape the market according to their desires, making it a reflection of the aspirations and flavors unique to Columbus.

With a commitment to sourcing fresh ingredients from local farmers’ markets, the restaurant ensures an unwavering dedication to quality. The owners’ motto, “Cuando estás aquí, eres familia” (When you’re here, you’re family), epitomizes the warm and inclusive atmosphere they aim to create. This vibrant culinary haven, born of passion and dedication, is set to become a community-centric destination where the spirit of Columbus thrives.

Conquistador in Auburn

Now, let’s journey to Conquistador—a restaurant where culinary artistry meets warmth and hospitality, where every dish is a celebration of Latin American heritage. Owner Cesar Bautista invites diners to embark on a gastronomic adventure that honors the bold spirit of Spanish American cuisine. The menu, a fusion of time-honored recipes and contemporary innovation, is a symphony of flavors designed to connect guests to the stories, traditions, and passions that inspire each dish.

Conquistador is a place where visitors become explorers, savoring the depth and complexity of Spanish American cuisine. It’s a tribute to adventure, inclusivity, and excellence, promising unforgettable meals in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

And now, step into the enchanting world of Spain at Conquistador. The restaurant transports guests to the lively streets of Spain, where the tantalizing aroma of paella and sizzling tapas fills the air. With rustic decor reminiscent of Spanish taverns, attentive staff, and live flamenco guitar performances, Conquistador offers an immersive experience that celebrates the vibrant tapestry of Spanish cuisine. It’s an invitation to embrace the bold, the diverse, and the extraordinary, savoring the essence of Spain with every bite and sip.

In this culinary journey through Bodega 1205, to the Downtown Market and Conquistador, each dish tells a story, and every visit is a celebration of community, culture, and the flavors that make these destinations special. Come and experience the essence of these remarkable establishments, where passion, unity, and authenticity reign supreme.

Congratulations to Cesar and his wife Jossy!

Conquistador is located at 2514 S. College St., Auburn

(334) 734-1007