Seminole Heights will continue to build on its hip and unique style when a pharmacy soda shop opens in November.
Mortar & Pestle
is under construction at 6308 and 6310 N. Florida Ave. One part of the property is new construction and the other part is renovation of an existing historic bungalow. When it's done, the 3,920-square-foot space will house an independent pharmacy and café.
Visitors will be able to have prescriptions filled and enjoy locally made sodas, espresso drinks, Florida craft beers, wines, desserts and small plates.
Mortar & Pestle is a family business, jointly owned by married couple Ujwal and Jessica Patel, and Ujwal's cousin, Badal Patel.
“We are very excited to bring this old-time pharmacy tradition to life in Seminole Heights,” Jessica Patel says. “We hope this will change the way people gather in the community.”
The owners were inspired by America's historic mom-and-pop drugstores. Patel says they hope to revive the quaint traditions of ice cream and soda jerks with a modern twist, and create a social hub.
According to the company, corner pharmacies were prevalent between the 1870s and 1950s, and their popularity peaked in the 1920s during Prohibition when many people traded alcohol for soda.
Seminole Heights hasn't had an independent drugstore since 2007 when Pharmacist Rose Ferlita
closed Rose Drugs to focus on her role as a Hillsborough County Commissioner. She served on the Commission from 2006 to 2010.
Mortar & Pestle has received positive responses about its concept from the community on social media. Facebook user Kathleen Turner wrote, "What a welcome addition to the burgeoning business community in Seminole Heights! Cannot wait to spend some time there." And Facebook user Sally Finney commented, "Thank you so much for this! We r so excited you are coming!"
The business is hiring for a sous-chef, dessert chef, coffee roaster, baristas, servers, and beer and wine bartenders. Those interested can email [email protected]
for more details.