A new concept in Seminole Heights combines an independent pharmacy and food lab.
On one side, patients can wait for prescriptions to be filled and ask the pharmacist questions in the comfort of a bungalow living room.
Right next door, diners can browse a menu featuring a raw bar, salads, pasta dishes and desserts created by chef Brett Wright.
"My wife and I have been pharmacists for over 10 years," said owner Ujwal Patel. "When we started looking, we didn't want to make our pharmacy like a typical pharmacy, so we decided to add a café to it. We started doing research and came across two cool pharmacies from back in the day — one in Atlanta was the first to serve Coca-Cola and one in New York which sold lunch, breakfast and dinner in the drugstore."
Inspired by the old-timey pharmacy traditions, Patel found two properties right next to each other and opened Mortar and Pestle at 6308 and 6310 N Florida Ave.
"Initially we were just going to have coffee and small bites," Patel said. "But now you can find healthier options, desserts and still have coffee or get a beer or wine if you wanted."
Patel conveyed the menu concept he had in mind to Wright. One that was outside the box and locally sourced.
"We put together a list of local farmers available to give us different produce and vegetables through different seasons then went off that to create the menu," Wright said. "We have a relationship with a local fishing company which is 50 miles off of St. Petersburg and we have a ranch in Ocala that's doing our beef."
Currently the cafe's main focus is dinner, but lunch service will begin in a week or so.
"We don't use flour bases to create our sauces, we stabilize them through molecular gastronomy so they don't run down the plate," Wright said. "We can paint on our plates."
Mortar and Pestle hosted a soft opening on Aug. 12 and will hold a grand opening at the beginning of Sept.
For more information, visit mortarandpestlefl.com.
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