Candy Kitchen has a wide variety of old favorite candies - those you haven't seen in ages but remember from your childhood. They also make delicious fudge and other candies - perfect for the sugar rush you need after a lethargic day at the beach. Located on busy Gulf Blvd., it has a small parking lot. Lots of its trade arrives on foot from all of the nearby motels. In an area where businesses come and go, Candy Kitchen has been providing goodies for years and years - for good reason. The service and selection are great.
Located toward the NW end of the Disston Plaza shopping center. Lots of available parking. It's Custard Mon offers great tasting custard and has a drive thru as well! It's easier to go inside and view the available flavors - sometimes the look will grab you where the name won't. A few little tables inside for sit down. I can't recommend a lot of flavors, I'm all for basic chocolate myself, but judging from the other orders being placed, all of the flavors are good. The prices are a bit on the high side, but that reflects the quality ingredients - it isn't a tastee freeze type store!
Located on the downtown Venice "strip". Street parking or side street lots available. Mrs. Candlewick's offers a great assortment of candles and holders in a multitude of scents. Also lots of gift items such as body lotions, decorative items, etc. If you go around the holidays, the shop is a wonder with the holiday decorations and scents. The help is just that, helpful but unobtrusive, browsing is encouraged. The items offered are high quality, not inexpensive, but still a very good value for the money as the candles are quality as are the other items offered. If you need to ship to another area, they will do that as well. It's difficult to leave empty-handed.
Not the place to grab the lastest novel, Lighthouse only carries antiquarian books - and a wide selection at that. Located in house, it's rooms are made for browsing old favorites or areas of interest. They will seek out and order a book for you if it is not in stock. The personalized service is what makes Lighthouse stand out among other booksellers. There is on-street parking in front, and it's never crowded. It is the perfect place to find a gift for a lover of old books, or an to locate an out of print old favorite.
Mmmm - walking into Mazzaro brings the smells of a different world. Sausages, cheeses, breads - offerings with old world flavors and taste. Hearty wood fired breads are worlds away from white bread from the local grocery. They are perfect for adding interesting items to your next wine and cheese party or get together. A recent remodeling has added extra parking and easier access which is a welcome plus. They've also added sandwiches for the luncheon crowd which is very handy if you're in the area - there is a dearth of restaurants in this primarily industrial or big box store area.
PROS: Italian delicacies - easy to access
Actually located on Madiera Beach at the back/side of the shopping center, Sign of the Dolphin is NOT your average beach gift shop. Their items are a cut above those usually found in a tourist area and include fine art and high end items. The prices reflect the quality of the items. They are happy to wrap (and ship if needed). Obviously, many items are beach themed, dolphins (of course), manatees, shells, pelicans, etc. The displays are gorgeous, and it's a happy place to visit. It's not for those seeking gaudy tee shirts or napkin holders made of shells, but if you have a beach themed home, collect sea life objects such as manatees, or just like to browse in a most attractive and beautiful store, make sure to visit Sign of the Dolphin. Lots of parking available.
PROS: Fabulous unique gifts, lots of parking
Jene's has a wide range of fruit trees, primarily citrus, suitable for the area. The help is knowledgeable and willing to assist - and don't make you feel dumb if it's your first foray into citrus growing! The offer multi grafted trees as well as single species. They also offer many varieties of palms and other plants suitable for your landscaping needs. Best of all, they usually have an annual "citrus fair" with fruits available for tasting which really helps in making a decision for a new variety to plant. Although the parking lot is not gigantic, there is parking on nearby side streets available. A great place to wander or buy!
PROS: Lots of variety, look for the "Citrus Fair"
Little parking is the only drawback to this combo mini mart/deli. The neighborhood isn't great, but if you are in the area at lunchtime, you won't find a better sandwich! There are one or two sandwich specials per day at amazingly low prices - and the sandwiches are good sized, the fillings substantial, and the ingredients fresh. My office used to be in this area - and the Whizz made lunch a treat! The help is helpful and this little store packs a big punch in a small space. The store carries regular mini mart type products, nothing special there - but the deli is a standout!
PROS: Great little deli, cheap sandwiches
CONS: Unattractive neighborhood, little parking
Located in a shopping center with a ton of parking, Paperback Palace has a deceiving name - hardbacks are also carried. The store has a nice mix of new and used books, everything from books for a dime in the "back room" to "3 for $ specials" to new releases. It's even possible to trade your older books in for credit. The staff is helpful but unobtrusive - and browsing is encouraged - they are content to let you putter along without asking if you need help every few minutes. It's a great place to look for older releases you might have missed at less than new prices.
PROS: Lots of parking, wide selection
CONS: prices for used books a bit higher than some
Ruta Polish (not Porish!) Bakery is a great place for "old-world" taste. You may have a bit of difficulty communicating - but the look and point trick works great! An admitted pastry fan, I've never had an item from Ruta that I didn't care for. These pastries, both common and unusual are really made from old, passed on recipes. This is your basic, small, family owned bakery - with a lot of hard work being poured into making pastries that are absolutely gorgeous...and with real flavor as well. No funky aftertaste, light pastry, mmm! Breads available, too! Parking is easy as it's located in a small strip center - and in the early a.m., everyone's at Ruta!