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…

The Front Porch: Not Your Mama's Porch

Seminole Heights has a lot of cool eateries. This one is my favorite.

 The Front Porch, 2017

Opening on June 14, 2002, co-owners (and husband and wife duo) Patrick and Cristi Purpura opened The Front Porch, located in a house off of Florida Ave that was built back in 1898 by a blind carpenter. The house was kept in the family's name until 1993, when it was sold to become a tea room. Purpura bought the property in 2002 and began creating a restaurant that mimicked Pepe's Cafe in Key West. It has gone on to become one of Seminole Heights' oldest restaurants. The Purpuras have defined their style of food as "New Florida Cuisine." The house, being as old as it is, is also supposedly haunted. Good luck trying to get them to take you up to that second floor, though.

Brisket & Cheddar, 2017

It's hard to say why Stormy and I went to The Front Porch in the first place. I remember really wanting to check it out, and one day Stormy and I did... And I fell in love instantly. Craft beer, good food, historic house. You can't get better than that. Stormy and I have been back many times, usually bringing others with us. The food is my favorite in the Seminole Heights neighborhood and the prices are reasonable. It's also a good place to socialize with friends, or to make new friends. On this particular night, the crew was Chris, Stormy, and myself. We had just come back to town from a brewery opening in St. Pete and went to check out Trip's Diner across from Angry Chair. Unfortunately for us, they decided that 9:00 pm on a Saturday was the perfect time to close. Fortunately for us, The Front Porch was open! Our waitress during this visit was Alandria, and she was somehow able to put up with the three of us and did so with a smile. Yes, I'm surprised too!

Baja Fish Tacos, 2017

I usually enjoy the meatloaf, but when I tell people to give it a try, they sneer at me. So, I decided to go for something else for a review. I asked Alandria what she would say perfectly defines The Front Porch, and she suggested the Baja Fish Tacos. I will say right off the bat, I was not a fan. To be fair, I've never gone out of my way to order fish tacos, and these were no better than any other fish tacos I've had. The rice and beans it came with (without cilantro! Which is a huge plus.) were the highlight of my meal. Stormy, on the other hand, got a steak medium well. Here entails another issue with The Front Porch... Their food is good, but they do have a lot of trouble with steak temperature. Her steak came out medium rare at best, but I thought the flavor was spot on. She was able to eat it, so I can't fault them too much. Chris sprang for the brisket and cheese. He didn't tell me how it was, but he was finished with his meal before either of us. I'll take that as a good thing. We also partook in some of their awesome macaroni & cheese (easily the best in Tampa. Easily.) before our meal, and that was gone in seconds (with a lot of fork fencing). 

Steak & Potatoes, 2017

Things you should know before you go:
- The seating is very limited. Expect a wait if you're going on a busy night.
- The building is old, and used to be somebody's house.
- The kitchen is small, and food may take a while.
- The staff is incredibly friendly, and even during a busy period, you wont be neglected.
- They do karaoke on Saturdays around 10:00. We found out the hard way. It becomes hard to talk then.
- This is my favorite reasonably priced restaurant in Tampa.

What is your favorite meal at The Front Porch? Do you prefer to sit inside or outside? 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 (we have new designs!). 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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