Mortar & Pestle: Coffee, Food, Alcohol? Sounds Like a Good Time!

There are a lot of opinions about this restaurant. Lets see what the Exploring Tampa crew thinks!
Mortar & Pestle, 2019
Coming from the ashes of a popular food truck, Mortar & Pestle is a concept that thrives to bring back the old timey pharmacies. You know the ones... You go to get a soda from the fountain, you wander the aisles, make your way to the lunch counter, then leave with your prescriptions. Located on the same block as local favorites Angry Chair Brewing and Trip's Diner, there's no lack of business to be had. This is also one of the few places in Seminole Heights with a real parking lot. Had you never read a review of this place and had you not heard about their filing for bankruptcy, you'd be impressed. The inside of the building is a hipster's paradise, with the industrial looking tables and chairs, the high ceiling, the steampunk-esque inspired decor. The inside of this building is cool. Next door is also a fully functional pharmacy that I wasn…

Stone Soup Company: Not Kicking Rocks

Soup, you say? No, thanks. I'm going for the sandwiches.

New location just before the move, 2017

Started by the brainchild/industrial engineer Ilya Goldberg in 2010, the Stone Soup Company came to Ybor to make a name in the soup game. Starting as a food cart, it quickly grew to a full fledged restaurant within a couple of months. After a week in it's first brick & mortar location, Ilya realized he wanted to do more than just make soup. We're glad he did. Taking huge inspiration from Ybor's rich Cuban heritage, Stone Soup Co offers up a strong Cuban sandwich, yellow rice and black beans, black bean soup, among others. While many of the other restaurants in the area are trying to appeal to the masses, it's nice to have one that sticks to the basics. 

Hungry yet?, 2017

I don't even remember how Stormy and I first heard about the Stone Soup Company. I just remember that I really wanted to try it and we spent quite a bit of time circling it trying to find it. That was back before the move when they shared an entry way with a cigar shop next door. We were seated in an incredibly cramped restaurant in one of about seven booths. Once again, this was before the move, they've gotten much more spacious since. We were hungry and uncomfortable and very, very skeptical of the Cuban. Luckily, once the food came out, Stone Soup Company was able to prove that they were worth looking for.

Experts at work, 2017

Before I even get into the food, it's important to tell you what Stone Soup Company is all about. First, Ilya believes that portion sizes in most restaurants are out of control. As a man with a little extra on his bones, I agree. The portion sizes are smaller than other restaurants, but not so small that you're going to leave hungry. I can assure you, I have never left hungry. Add to that, most restaurants tend to throw away a significant amount of their produce. Ilya never wanted Stone Soup Company to be one of those restaurants. For every cup of soup order, the produce that would typically go in the trash is put to the side and turned into a vegetable soup at the end of the night and donated to a local homeless shelter. To those of you who are trying to get more involved in your community, listen up! Eat soup at the Stone Soup Company and you are single-handedly helping to feed the homeless. With the number of homeless in and around Ybor and Downtown Tampa, it's nice to see someone who cares enough to help try to do something about it. Eat here and feel good about it.

Cuban sandwich, 2017

Now, lets talk about the food. I will state that the Stone Soup Company has my second favorite Cuban sandwich in the entire Tampa Bay Area. For a restaurant that doesn't date back as far as, say, the Columbia, it speaks volumes that their sandwich can go toe-to-toe with some of Tampa's heaviest hitters. Let me also state that black beans and yellow rice is the way to my heart. Pairing a Cuban sandwich with black beans and yellow rice is the best combo meal you will ever get. Period. During their grand re-opening, Stormy and I were treated to some of their other culinary fares that we wouldn't typically order (seeing as the Cuban is a favorite of ours). I can and will also state that their chili is excellent and definitely worth checking out as well. Also note that there is a full liquor bar complete with excellent wines and, my personal favorite, craft beer. And the best part! It's cheap. You can eat here with a friend, a significant other, or a parent for about $20. 

 King of the liquor, 2017

Opening at 10:00 am daily, it's important to note that the Stone Soup Company is a killer spot for an awesome lunch. The portion sizes are also perfect for lunch. That said, Stone Soup Company is also a popular spot for dinners. I will state that I, personally, love to go to Stone Soup during events. Back before the move, I got the opportunity to eat a Cuban sandwich while watching individuals race beds with wheels on them down 7th Ave. Gotta love Halloween, right? This is also the perfect place to come, sit outside, and people watch down the ever popular 7th Ave. Lunch and a show? 

New layout, 2017

Things to know before you go:
- This place provides affordable eats. If you like supporting local, but you're on a budget, you're in luck.
- Every cup of soup you buy goes directly to helping to feed the homeless.
- Lunch is the best time to come as this is when the crowds are the smallest.
- Full liquor bar, if that's your thing.
- Craft beer!!!
- Second best Cuban sandwich in Tampa. Mark my words on that.
- One of the best Ybor restaurants.

What is your favorite Cuban Sandwich in Tampa? Have you been to the new location? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt. Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

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