Lee’s Grocery brings stone baked pizza to historic Tampa Heights building

Photo via Lee's Grocery

When you hear “Lee’s Grocery” you may not immediately think of pizza. But this gem, as recommended by That’s So Tampa readers, serves up some of the best pizza in the city of Tampa — and it’s tucked inside a century’s old building in the middle of a Tampa Heights neighborhood. The storied “Lee’s Grocery” has been part of the very fiber of Tampa for 132 years. While “Grocery” is in the name, it’s not what this culinary gem is all about. The title pays homage to the location’s history, rather than describing current options for diners.

The Lee’s Grocery building, now owned and operated by Jennifer Hatchcock, was built in 1884. The original Lee’s Grocery was built to provide household goods and grocery items to the local community of migrant workers, according to the current owners. 

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Jennifer Hatchcock graduated from USF Tampa back in `99. She bought Lee’s Grocery Store in the historic Tampa Heights neighborhood shortly after graduating from university, and officially took over the business in October 2011.

Lee’s Grocery celebrates more than a century in Tampa

Several years ago, when Lee’s Grocery was converted from the local grocery store to a community Pizza and Craft Beer Restaurant, the owners felt it wasn’t right to change the name. After all those years, it would always be referred to as Lee’s Grocery by the community it serves. 

Lee’s current signature pizza menu is a savory journey for your taste buds. My top recommendation: Hanging Garden. This veggie-centric stone baked pizza features green peppers, red onions, artichokes, mushrooms, black olives, and tomatoes. It’s a garden of culinary delights; however, if you’re anything like me your journey in this garden will be over in a flash.

Stone baked pizza in Tampa Heights

Are you a diehard pizza connoisseur with an insatiable appetite? Sink your teeth into the stone baked “Bring the Noise” pizza. The pizza is topped with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, meatballs, black olives, green peppers, red onions, mushrooms, fresh basil, tomatoes, and extra cheese.

For those curious about what stone baked pizza actually means, we have your answer. A pizza stone holds heat more evenly, and the porous surface draws water out of particularly wet areas of the dough as it cooks. Plus, when you preheat the stone, it gives the dough a strong burst of initial heat, puffing up the crust.

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This is the easygoing, casual craft beer gem you’ve been waiting for. The pizzas are phenomenal and the variety of available craft beers is astonishing.

You can visit Lee’s Grocery at 2210 N Central Avenue.

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