If you are from Georgia, it’s pronounced 'Hi-Poe-Lee-Ta'. But locals know it as 'Hy-pol-ita'. But whichever way toy say it, if you know it, you love it. We are talking about Hypolita Street in the heart of ild town St Augustine Florida. It’s an itty-bitty little street where pedestrians are almost clipped by trolleys every day. But it has out-side dinning, and music, and shops...
So you will be happy to hear there is a long over-due Street Improvement Project underway. The City is in the process of tearing-up the old and worn and tired streets and sidewalks (what little ones are there). They are doing this to make room for the new fresh and improved ones and upgraded infrastructure too; but at what cost to surrounding businesses? These independent businesses along the crooked little street are very close to their breaking point.
Hypolita is a through-back to the founding of the city and to Saint Augustine himself. After all he was the Bishop of Hippo (in north Africa) so the residents wanted to remind the devoted Catholics of their patron saint’s simple beginnings. And if you have ever seen this street, it surely is simple, but it has some of the best restaurants, and shops in the city.
To the West-side of Hypolita Street there is what many of the locals will tell you is the best restaurant in town, Collage. On the other side of town is Casa Maya, and Catch 27. Both locally owned & run. And standing strong at St George Street (Between the two sides) is Columbia, the Florida hallmark for Spanish cuisine.
But there in more; there are also a many shops as well (you can see a list of the business on Hypolita Street here) so you can imagine the impact of these independent businesses during the fog and mess of construction. They fenced the street in hopes to route folks around the improvement project work, but it’s still a Hot Mess.
We hope that if you have some time; come visit your favorite little place in St Augustine and hurry. It might be up to you to keep your favorite place afloat. After all the improvements who knows what businesses will still be there?