HYDE PARK — "You know the saying, 'Walking in high cotton,' " asks Andrew Smith? "It's a Southern expression, meaning 'life is good.' "
The Tampa native, partnering with his parents, retired South Tampa school teachers Arden and David Smith, aims to please Southern sensibilities when High Cotton Living opens Saturday in Hyde Park Village.
"Men's and women's casual clothing, home goods and custom furniture — with the majority of items made in the U.S." said Andrew, 31, a University of Tampa alum with a retail sales background.
"Its been a real treat sourcing the store," he said, especially with works of local and regional artists.
Dropping names, he mentions, "cutting boards by Kurt Raschke, handcrafted baskets from Regan Musgrove and paintings by Rick Reeves."
"Upcycled" items include wine-scented candles in holders made from old bottles; door knobs turned into wine stoppers; and Mason jar martini and wine glasses made by adults with disabilities in Alabama.
High Cotton Living, 1619 W Snow Circle, will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit highcottonliving.com or call (813) 644-9551.
New market for Lee's Grocery
The name can be confusing — Lee's Grocery — but craft beer and pizza lovers quickly figured out the historic building has become a lively Tampa Heights restaurant and bar.
"Lee's was a little bodega-type convenience store for over 100 years," said owner Jennifer Hatchcock. "Built in 1894.
"We thought it was appropriate to keep the name, even though who hangs out, drinks beer and eats wings in a grocery store?"
Fans of the "hidden treasure" waited more than a year for zoning issues to be resolved, said Hatchcock, 38, who previously worked at the Independent bar in Seminole Heights.
"It was licensed only for beer package sales," she said. Now, since Tampa's City Council approved, she serves six beers on draft and more than 120 brands in bottles.
"Only American craft and import micro-beer," she said. "No big-name, domestic macro brews." One exception: Pabst Blue Ribbon, sponsor of their monthly PBR Bike Ride.
Wine will be on the menu next month. "We're researching labels now to decide what to offer."
Choose from three sizes of stone-baked pizzas made with fresh herbs and 20 toppings. Six pizzas bear names of '80s songs. The Hanging Garden (the Cure) is vegetarian Hatchcock's favorite.
"Dead Man's Party (Oingo Boingo) with sausage, pepperoni and meatballs, that's my nightmare," she says.
Chicken wings, 10 for $8.99, are baked, not fried, tossed in a seasoning and served mild, hot or barbecue. A speciality salad is offered daily.
Music — Johnny Cash to Ultramagnetic MC's — flows indoors and out to the beer garden. Look for earlier weekend hours to start soon.
Lee's Grocery, 2210 N Central Ave., is open 3 to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; (813) 374-0179.
Sprout settles in new space
Sprout owner Amy Martin has popped up in the back of Earl's Garden Shop, where she rents space to sell ferns and succulents, and to design container gardens.
"Drop off a container, or if it is too big, bring me a picture," said Martin who previously worked out of Relic home and garden shop on Manhattan Avenue. Prices for her custom work start at $18. "With the right exposure, anybody can grow with success."
Her mother, Kim Martin, offers a selection of her hand-fused glass mushroom accents for small gardens. Find Sprout on Facebook to see examples of the women's designs.
Sprout is at 3627 S West Shore Blvd; (813) 731-7632.
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