The cold rain that fell yesterday afternoon made a bowl of hot soup sound like a good idea. So I ordered the "Gumbo Ya-Ya" at The Heights General Store. The chicken and sausage gumbo was spicy, the roux was perfect, and the bowl was loaded with meat. But the gumbo was oddly devoid of rice. There weren't any mashed potatoes, potato salad, sweet potatoes, or other gumbo starches in there, either. I tore off chunks of the big round roll the soup was served with and tossed them in the bowl, but they melted before I could eat them. Maybe I should have bought a sleeve of saltines from the nearby grocery shelves.

The Heights General Store
350 W. 19th St.
713-360-6204

The new business is part grocery, part health food outlet, and part restaurant. The grocery sells fresh, natural, local, and organic food, including Slow Dough breads and meats from nearby ranches. The restaurant has fairly extensive breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus and features Lowcountry favorites like she crab soup and Beaufort Stew at brunch and dinner.

The Heights General Store is located in the space that was once home to Harold's, a clothing store owned by Harold and Milton Wiesenthal. The memory of the old store is preserved in menu items like "Harold's Hot Dog." Founder Alli Jarrett grew up in Kingstree, a small town in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where her family ran a wholesale food business that was founded by her grandparents. The store is a memory trip for Jarrett—an old sign from her family's Jarret's Specialty Company can be seen on the wall of the dining room.

But the whole place is very small compared to the typical grocery store—it's a place to grab a few special items, not your weekly grocery list.

 

 

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