If you haven’t been to the Old Southeast Market yet, you need to check it out NOW. The part deli, part food + drink mart has recently added a “make your own” Poke bar. Yep, that’s right! Foodies and health nuts alike can rejoice.
If you don’t know what Poke is, it’s basically like creating your own sushi roll sans the roll. I have to admit I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect upon my first visit. I had seen and heard about Poke bowls but never actually had one. I decided to just go with a few of my favorite items and the results were d e l i s h.
I will break it down for you:
- Pick a Protein. I opted for Ahi Tuna because that’s what comes to mind when I think of a Poke bowl. Good decision – it was super fresh. (Note: Pictured is the small Poke bowl. You can get a larger one and pick two or even three Proteins).
- Pick three Sides. I chose to be (somewhat) adventurous and went with squid salad, seaweed salad and edamame. The squid was tender and the seaweed salad added the perfect crunch. The edamame was yummy and filling, plus who doesn’t want to pack in a little extra protein.
- Pick the Toppings: You get to pick as many as your heart desires. Scallions and cilantro are always a go in my book so that was a no brainer but the onion crunch and masago (tiny fish eggs you see on Sushi) were also great additions.
- Pick a Sauce. I’m not going to lie I don’t remember what we picked but it was a little sweet, a little spicy and very delicious. Just ask because it was a staff recommendation.
And voila. Magic in a bowl created by ME (sorta).
And what better to wash it all down with than a Happy Hermit from Green Bench Brewing. And speaking of beer, Old Southeast market carries lots. There are multiple fridges filled with craft beers, many of them from the local craft breweries located just a short distance away.
While on the topic of beverages, you can also get Buddy Brew there. If you are a coffee lover, you probably know there is not many places in Tampa Bay that carry it. They also have a few racks of wine to peruse. It’s safe to say they’ve got you covered when it comes to good drinks.
You realize immediately from the storefront that this isn’t just your ordinary neighborhood grab and go market. It’s surrounded by the cutest white picket fence with beautiful landscaping along the front of the store. It has a rustic feel to it with barn door decor and clean white walls accented with wood. To sum it up: It’s charming.
As you enter and glance to the right, it may look like a convenience store but as you look closer, you realize it’s the local St. Pete vendors like Urban Canning Company that fill the shelves. My kind of place (obviously).
At the deli, they serve more than just your typical deli sandwiches. The Veggie Banh Mi quickly became my go to sandwich because at the time it opened I was a pescatarian (seafood only). Then they began having pop ups on the weekends where guest chefs would come in and whip up gourmet breakfast sandwiches for brunch. Yum.
We were lucky enough to be there for the first Thrill Hill Market. It is named after the hill you go over just before getting to Old Southeast. Once you go over it, you’ll understand where the name “Thrill Hill” comes from.
It was a small market with only about 10 or so vendors which was nice because some of the other markets can be overwhelming. We found these beautiful concrete planters made by Southern Reclaim Co. that I had to have. There were also makeup organizers and some seriously inexpensive succulents (some were $1 each!). One of the Old Southeast owners, Jim, said they are going to try and make Thrill Hill a monthly event. Fingers crossed.
Old Southeast Market:
Classic MENU (excludes Poke)
Location: 1700 3rd St. S, St. Pete, FL 33701 Map
Hours: Open 7 days a week 7am – 9pm