As construction continues on the Seminole Heights indie pharmacy and café's location at 6308-6310 N. Florida Ave., which was announced in September and originally scheduled to launch in November, local eaters can feast on "old-time traditions with a distinctly modern twist" thanks to the Mortar & Pestle food truck.
With influences from the American South, the menu is a combination of elevated yet home-style classics priced between $7 and $12. Dishes such as quail and waffles, smoked brisket-stuffed baked potatoes and crab-stuffed avocado salad are featured — and made with local ingredients whenever possible.
Chef Mike Badgett has honed his craft in both the fine-dining and food truck scene, traveling from the Middle East to Austin, Texas, where he worked with championship barbecue cook-off teams, including Aaron Franklin, who owns celebrated Austin destination Franklin Barbecue. Mortar & Pestle's use of a giant in-house smoker speaks to the familiarity Badgett has with smoked meats in items like beer butt chicken and sopapillas with lime-pepper skirt steak.
The new mobile food lab plans to set up at Tampa breweries, outdoor markets and other locations throughout the month. Follow Mortar & Pestle on social media for updated schedules.