Black-and-white vintage photos of the Tampa Fire Department and Gasparilla ships adorn the bright orange walls while two ceiling fans circulate over patrons' heads. A flat-screen TV blares in the background. Two American flags sit above the kitchen door.
At Shorti's Deli, one of Carrollwood's newest sandwich shops at 14453 N. Dale Mabry Highway in the Grand Plaza shopping center, the homespun atmosphere is designed to welcome customers, said husband-and-wife and co-owners Joe and Melissa De La Vina.
"I think it's a family-oriented place," said Melissa. "We bring a sense of that historic Tampa feeling."
Joe, who spent 15 years in the U.S. Navy, had no experience running a deli before Shorti's opened in June. But Melissa - a 5-foot-tall former dental assistant whose nickname inspired the deli's name - spent years working at her family's business, Fletcher Deli.
After finding a broker who suggested the location for a deli, the Lutz couple decided to dive into the sandwich business.
"You've got office buildings around, and the community has welcomed us with open arms," said Joe.
Local businesses in Grand Plaza stop by for lunch, and a few Carrollwood apartment complexes have sent mailers to new and existing tenants about the deli.
Menu items include Cuban sandwiches, wraps, a kid's menu and salads. The duo are planning to install a second TV and Wi-fi, Joe said.
With a number of eateries available for Carrollwood residents, Joe said Shorti's Deli differs from other restaurants because it offers fresh ingredients bought from local stores.
"It's just me and my wife; no other employees," he said. "We are the ones greeting you and making a sandwich, and we want to get to know your family and your kids."
For more information on Shorti's Deli, call 813-960-4666. The deli is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.