The Corner Store – Plant City, FL
This might lead to an argument, but it has to be said. My child is not a great eater.
When he was baby, he would eat anything you put in front of him. I remember quite vividly the first time we brought him to have Korean food, he gobbled up all the kimchi at the table. It was kind of ridiculous, since it’s hard for most overgrown adults to fathom eating one bite of kimchi let alone a whole bowl. I knew at that moment, he was my blood (not that there was any doubt).
Sadly though, the tides have changed in the past few years. Gone were the days when he would eat anything we shoved in his face. It has become a much more picky landscape in his food world. The bright, colorful and delicious worlds of banchan and bulgogi have replaced with the brown, repetitive slums inhabited by chicken fingers and french fries (not that there’s anything wrong with those items, just not for every meal).
Then things changed again…
Although he still won’t eat just any old thing you serve him, (sometimes he puts up a fine fight) he began enjoying more of the foods his mother enjoys. They’re both experts on all things rice. They both like their fruit and veg in the form of smoothies, as do I.
If you asked him his three favorite places to get a bite to eat, it would be:
3. Whole foods (specifically for yellow rice. Not the one will the black dots in it. The other kind.)
2. Mega Mercado (two chicken tacos and of course rice. I told you he was a rice fiend.)
1. The Corner Store (By far his most requested restaurant.)
photo: Pietri Photography
The Corner Store has recently become the go to place when attempting to keep harmony in my household. Never before, and probably never again, will all three of us agree on one single dining establishment.
It started one Saturday morning. Like most Saturday mornings do, I was loitering at the Poor Porker, eating beignets and such. I was asked if I had ever been to The Corner Store in Plant City. I think my reply went something like this which now leaves me with deep shame, “Yeah right, like I’m going to eat anywhere in Plant City.”
I understand now how flawed my thinking was. You can’t judge a restaurant based on your preconceived notions of its location. Bad form on my part, sorry about that. I was ridiculed for the better part of the day until I promised I would venture out to land of strawberries for a meal. I was also promised that the owners were fantastic people and that we would get along really well.
It was an amazing sensation, the first time I found myself walking into The Corner Store. It was as if this place was built for the sole purpose of satisfying the needs of my family exactly. Just about everything sold in the grocery area is organic or natural. The dining area has a little “kiddie kingdom” play area so your spawn can expend some energy while you relax with a nice Cigar City Ale and some grub. It’s so great to have this feature, I can’t think of any other place that has a set-up like this. I swear this could be a franchise. I can just imagine how great it would be to bring a little piece of this brilliant concept to my town! To think that someone told the owners that this would be bad for business. It sure has taken the stress out of dinner time when we go out.
photos: Pietri Photography
The menu consists of dips, salads, sandwiches and wraps, with specials that change with the seasons. You’ll find something on the menu to love, and I wouldn’t be shocked if you never wanted to stray from that one thing. That’s how perfect the food is. I beg you, even though it might be hard, please try to navigate your way through the entire menu. You will find little wonders, sometimes by accident, throughout the menu. One time I ordered hummus but they ran out so they brought spinach artichoke dip for me to sample. I would never order such a thing on purpose. However after that one taste I was sold. I’m also completely in love with the muffletta wrap that they have as a special. It comes with a spicy garlic olive tapenade that could solve the nations debt crisis.
Another great choice would be The Gobbler sandwich. It’s reminiscent of Turkey Day U.S.A. with a great combination of sweet/tangy cranberry sauce and smokey provolone, and since America is our hometown, it’s no wonder why everyone loves this thing so much.
photo: Pietri Photography
The single most important reason The Corner Store is so great, is the owners. I’ve had the privilege of becoming friends with them through our network of food lovers. It’s been great picking my friend Cynthia’s brain about cooking technique and sustenance in general. Her philosophy is eat well or die. Her mission is to embrace local farmers by showcasing their goods in her store. Not to mention sharing a cleaner way of living and eating to our community. She does all of this while providing some of the most delicious food you can imagine. If that doesn’t make you want to join her movement then you’re reading the wrong blog.
My wife has a place where she can enjoy a BIG salad and a glass of sangria. My boy has an awesome playground inside the shop where he can freely roam and drink his nutrient and flavor packed smoothies, and I have a place where I can swig on great local beers and eat many thought-provoking sandwiches without feeling like a plate of hot garbage later. And then we can do it all again tomorrow.
The Corner Store has accomplished the incredible task of uniting my family at meal time. We have a special place we all can agree on, which is a first. If you think I’ve mentioned family way too much, you might be right, but then again you might be a heartless Joique (sic).