BRANDON — If you haven't heard of Smitty's Chop House yet, that's okay with owner Alan Smith.
He knows the quality of the food will eventually draw customers.
"I kinda wanted to keep it quiet at first, until we get all the kinks worked out in the kitchen," Smith said.
Smitty's opened June 24 at 140 N Parsons Ave., just north of Brandon Boulevard, in the former home of La Septima Café.
So far, thing are going as planned. Business has been slow but getting better every day as local residents discover Smitty's barbecue, burgers, salads and sandwiches. One specialty is the Bar-B-Cuban, which is pulled pork on pressed Cuban bread.
Smitty's offers a different lunch special every week, two-for-one fajitas on Wednesdays, a fish fry on Fridays and smoked prime rib on Saturdays.
A grand opening celebration is in the works for the first weekend in October.
Smitty's is open from 11 a.m. until midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Call (813) 689-5100 or go to the Smitty's Chop House Facebook page.
Independent pharmacy finds niche
Chain pharmacies and pharmacy departments in supermarkets attract customers with low prices, even offering some prescription medications for free.
Independent pharmacies emphasize service, but their prices are typically higher.
Rx Oasis, which opened in April at Boyette Executive Center in Riverview, aims to offer the best of both the chains and the independents.
Pharmacist Kam Patel said he maintains a database of prices offered by chains, and he meets them all, including the free antibiotics offered by Publix pharmacies, and the $4 price of many medications at Walmart.
Patel said he understands that a lot of people need to get the best price they can on their prescriptions, but added that shopping around is not the ideal way to handle health care. It's best to have a single pharmacist who's a partner in the care of the customer and knows all the medications prescribed for the patient.
"I can look at all their medications and keep an eye on interactions," he said.
Besides that, he said, doctors often don't know the price of the medications they're prescribing, and they may not be aware of other products that do the same thing better. Patel has often called doctors to suggest better or less expensive alternatives, or to advise the doctor about other medications that the patient is taking.
Rx Oasis has a wide range of medicines in stock, and can fill most prescriptions within 15 minutes, Patel said. Anything that isn't in stock can be ordered and delivered to the pharmacy the next day.
As another service to customers, Rx Oasis offers coffee and free Wi-Fi. In just the few months it's been open, it already become a has gathering place for a growing group of regulars.
Rx Oasis is located at 11902 Boyette Road. It's open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. Call (813) 677-6000. A website at rx-oasis.com should be up soon. Meanwhile, Rx Oasis has a Facebook page that's frequently updated with health information.
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