What do a boutique, a Mexican food truck, and a night bazaar have in common? Answer: Jessica White Rosas and Rodrigo Rosas, partners and the driving forces behind these three dynamic new ventures in Indian River.
The duo came to Indian River after losing their jobs in New York City during the pandemic. They brought ideas for food and fashion, creating trendy treasures in both arenas.
Originally from Detroit, Jessica’s parents had moved to Petoskey, so it only made sense that they moved to the area during the pandemic.
Jessica White Rosas studied fine art, photography, and graphic design at a community college. Then self-taught entrepreneurial and business skills, fashion, and screen printing. Rodrigo Rosas started as a dishwasher in New York City restaurants and worked his way up to Executive Chef. As a chef at the Michelin recommended, now defunct Black Swan in New York City, his recipe for Lobster Macaroni & Cheese was awarded the Best in Brooklyn. Now, they take what they’ve learned in the Big Apple and create phenomenal food and fun fashion in Indian River.
Market Mercado’s original concept was an outdoor market that turned into a boutique featuring over 30 artists with a goal of sustainability. You’ll find a mixture of handmade home goods, fashion, body care wellness, jewelry, and green living.
When asked to describe Market Mercado, Jessica says, “It’s Bohemian meets a modern esthetic. Gallery meets boutique.” Market Mercado is a multi-sensory experience, from touching various textures and textiles to smelling multiple body care products and listening to records playing in the background.
According to Maggie Wilp, a returning customer, “It’s the trendiest shop in Indian River.”
Sustainability isn’t just a trending buzzword here; you’ll see it in action. You’ll see a collection of plants that they’ve propagated and planted in secondhand glassware and ceramics.
Their clothes are primarily for women, and the store features Jessica’s fashion label, J White Originals, which she started in New York City. In addition, Market Mercado features a small collection of 15 handmade overalls in original designs. She uses secondhand fabrics found from shopping around northern Michigan.
The rest of their clothes are handmade and upcycled, secondhand items. So, for example, you’ll find upcycled denim jackets, hoodies, scarves, ponchos, and infinity scarves. To upscale them, Jessica adds her original screen print designs, incorporates pockets, or authentically reimagines items. She then displays them with a vintage feel.
The store also supports other makers, from local to global. So, you’ll find hand-painted canvas tote bags from local artists to artisan works like hand-embroidered clothing and terra cotta ceramics the Rosas brought back from their trips to Mexico. She also showcases headbands, handmade artisan leather bracelets, and jewelry. For example, one artist creates handmade clay earrings.
Market Mercado also offers classes for those who want to try their hand at making DIY art projects, such as macrame classes or Christmas ornaments. These classes are great for learning to make handmade Christmas gifts.
The shop is open Memorial Day weekend through Christmas. Market Mercado then closes until spring, when the Rosas will spend part of that time in Rodrigo’s hometown in Puebla, Mexico, buying and creating more products, creating new dishes, and visiting family.
In addition to the hours from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, you can make an appointment with Jessica through email.
La Casa de Rosas Food Truck
Rodrigo Rosa’s mission is to make people happy by feeding them. And he does just that from his food truck La Casa de Rosas Food Truck, located in Northland Brewing’s parking lot. The restaurant had a soft opening on Cinco de Mayo 2022 and opened in June.
His simple yet flavorful menu comes from his mom’s and sister’s recipes that he’s made his own by adding the Rodrigo twist. The food is Mexican soul food from Mexico’s southcentral region of Puebla, featuring Mexican Street Food. Fresh and made from scratch, he has a set menu and adds lots of seasonal specials, like street corn.
Try the fajita bowl as one of several vegetarian or vegan options. For example, the menu recently featured vegan blue oyster mushrooms in a taco or fajita bowl.
For meat lovers, Rosas offers four options: pollo, chicken; carne asada, beef; el pastor, marinated pork with pineapple; and carnitas, slow-cooked pork. First, he combines the proteins into various dishes to suit your tastes, like tacos or bowls. Then, order them with the works, which include onions, cilantro, housemade salsa, and sour cream. Radish and cucumber slices accompany the dishes to cool down the spice.
You have three choices of salsa when ordering at La Casa de Rosas. The first is a salsa verde, a spicy green salsa. Second is the roasted red, a milder red salsa, and finally, the salsa loca, AKA the crazy sauce, a more intensely spicy red sauce. But no matter which you choose, mild to crazy hot, you’ll find layers of flavor. That’s the whole point of the salsas, adding flavor.
As fall is in full swing, you’ll find more soups and stews on the menu. Comfort foods like a beef birria stew or a brothy soup called esquitas that features corn are some of the specials on the menu.
And be sure and order dessert. A recent special was the cinnamon chocolate bread pudding with a chili glaze. In my opinion, this needs to be on the menu every day. It was just that good!
After ordering and picking up your food at the window, you can either eat at one of the picnic tables or take it inside the Northland Brewery and select one of their craft brews to pair perfectly with the Mexican flavors. Alternatively, you can take it to go.
Jessica created the intricate bird logo for La Casa de Rosas, where roses represent the family name in the bird’s tail feathers.
Check out their specials on Instagram and Facebook @LaCasadeRosas. In addition, they take their truck on the road if you’re having an event.
The Night Bazaar
The Rosas created the Indian River Night Bazaar with the Northland Brewery owner Matt Whitner and Jessica’s sister Amy White. It combines local artists and craftspeople selling their work, live music, craft beer, and food trucks. Everyone works together to create a fun, lively atmosphere to enjoy a night out in Indian River.
The Night Bazaar is open the first and third Fridays of the month from June through Labor Day, then the fall schedule kicks in, and they hold the bazaar on certain Saturday nights.
If you’re an artist and want to participate in the Night Bazaar, spaces are $25 for vendors, and you’ll find the application with a form online.
You’ll find them as The Market Sisters on Instagram and Facebook.