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Mazzaro’s Italian Market

by Meghann on February 10, 2013

Derek and I had two special visitors this weekend, my parents drove to Tampa on Saturday to celebrate my 28th birthday weekend with us. They arrived just in time for lunch and I knew just the place I wanted to take them.

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When I first moved to Tampa two years ago, my friend Callie told me there was an Italian market in St. Petersburg that I had to check out sometime. It was a place that was always in the back of my mind, but nothing that I made a priority to go see. When my dad told me he wanted to try somewhere fun and different for lunch, the Italian market was the first thing I thought of. After a quick google search we discovered the Italian market was called Mazzaro’s and based off of their 12,000+ likes on Facebook and multiple 5 star ratings on Yelp, we knew this was going to be good.

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As soon as we pulled up, we knew this place was going to be good. From the jam packed parking lot, to the crazy collection of Italian themed decor on the outside, Mazzaro’s definitely had character.

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Inside Mazzaro’s is huge. It reminded me a lot of Eataly in New York, only a little older (say 20-30 years older), heck of a lot cheap, and with a lot more character. The market is divided into a variety of sections (wine, cheese, meat, seafood, coffee, etc.) and each one was packed to the gills. Apparently Mazzaro’s is THE place to be on Saturday afternoon.

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I think the cheese room was my favorite.

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We picked up three different cheeses, a couple of smoked sweet sausages, and a loaf of french bread for dinner last night. It was one epic meal.

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I need to come back and try the coffee bar or, at the very least, buy some coffee beans. The coffee beans are all roasted fresh on site and is one of things the market is famous for.

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The dessert case! Don’t worry we walked out with some goodies.

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There’s also a dry grocery section full of just about every hard to find Italian dry ingredient you can think of. The variety of jarred capers alone took up its own shelf.

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Of course, we were there for the deli.

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And we were not alone.

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That’s a lot of people waiting on sandwiches!

Luckily Mazzaro’s had a good system with moving numbers along. They basically gave you a rough three second window once they call your number to let them know your order. We saw so many people get passed by for not paying attention and missing their window. Number 35 was having their order taken when number 30 finally realized his number had been called and was speaking up. They do not mess around here.

I think we waited about 15 minutes to give our order, then another 15 or so for our sandwiches. Let’s call it an even 30 minutes for four sandwiches at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. I can’t even imagine what they’re weekday lunch crowd is like. Insanity.

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Dad was ready to eat!

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We took the sandwiches outside and dined in the gorgeous Florida sunshine.

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Can you tell Derek was excited about his sandwich? He couldn’t wait to dig in.

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I ordered the muffalata, which was humongous! I couldn’t even finish one half and had to save the other half for lunch the next day. Can you believe this gigantic two-meal sandwich was ONLY $5?! I’ll take this bad boy over a $5 footlong from Subway any day of the week.

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My dad wanted to show off his meatball sub. The meatball sub is one of the specialities that Mazzaro is famous for. I had a bite and can see why, the meatballs were packed full of flavor with just the right amount of sauce and cheese to complement the sandwich.

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We can’t forget about those pastries I mentioned earlier.

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My mom and dad had the eclairs, while Derek and I are more cannoli fans. There really are no words needed here. It’s really hard to go wrong with a cannoli. πŸ˜‰

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Mazzaro’s Italian Market was an incredible experience. I can’t wait to go back and explore it a little more (maybe earlier in the day before the lunch rush hits?). They have a wide selection of reasonably priced meats, cheeses, and seafood that were all calling my name. Well, that and the rest of the dessert case and sandwich options!

We left stuffed and happy and decided walk off some of that incredible food by exploring downtown St. Petersburg.

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It really could not have been a more picture perfect day. The high was in the mid seventies and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Days like that in the middle of February are exactly why I live in Florida.

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We ended the day at Derek’s parents house with our bounty of meats and cheeses.

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(yep. epic meal.)

And a variety of Gigi’s cupcakes for dessert.

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My mother-in-law rocks! She bought NINE different cupcakes for us to try! Derek and I are still working our way through them, but so far our favorites are the snicker doodle (mmm… cinnamon) and the turtle (fresh pecans in the cupcake = amazing).

How was your weekend? Did you explore anywhere new?

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steph February 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Have you tried Gigi’s Wedding Cake cupcake? That is my absolute fav, hands down! That market looks amazing! TBLB future meetup destination??? lol
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2 Meghann February 11, 2013 at 10:31 am

I have not, but I’ll have to try it soon! And, yes!, I agree that it would make an excellent TBLB meetup destination!

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3 Annette @FitnessPerks February 10, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Mmmmm cheese & bread! Best meal evver!

That snickerdoodle cupcake sounds deeeeelicious–I LOVE cinnamon too πŸ™‚
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4 Anne @ eatcleaneatreal February 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm

My weekend was amazing….made several new recipes and lots of time with friends and the pug!

Im jealous of all the good food you got to eat, though!
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5 Meghann February 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

Sounds like a great weekend to me!

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6 Caroline February 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm

What a fun way to celebrate your birthday! Mazzaro’s sounds AMAZING. I’ve been to St. Pete’s a number of times but have never even heard of that place. I need to check it out:) Also- cute sweater. I love it:) Happy birthday (again).
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7 Becky @ runfundone February 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Wow! That place looks so fun! Happy birthday!
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8 Elisabeth February 11, 2013 at 12:08 am

Oh man do I need to try that place next time I’m in Florida! Cannoli is my favorite dessert. The best I’ve had so far are from Ferrara Caffe in New York City & Mike’s Pastry in Boston. πŸ™‚

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9 Meghann February 11, 2013 at 10:29 am

I’ve had Mike’s Pastry before and agree that it’s pretty incredible. πŸ™‚

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10 Elizabeth @ Positive Change February 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

That sounds like an amazing weekend! We have a market similar to this in Columbus, and it is sooo much fun!
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11 Kim February 11, 2013 at 8:28 am

Mazzaro’s is the shiz! They have super cheap truffle oils and the hot meals from the deli are really good too (the spaghetti pie is my favorite). I wish we had a spot like that in Orlando!

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12 Meghann February 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

I really want to go back when it isn’t so crowded and really explore the place. I feel like I only scraped the surface of what Mazzaro’s had to offer!

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13 Stefania February 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

Ughhh! I’m from St. Pete originally but live up in the Northeast these days. I miss Mazzaro’s so much! You would think that Boston would have something comparable, but I haven’t been able to find anything that lives up to it. Thanks for the all the pictures. I’m feeling so nostalgic now!

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14 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats February 11, 2013 at 9:48 am

You have just described my perfect day. I could spend all day in an Italian market like that! And of course anyway with cupcakes is a good day in my book πŸ™‚
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15 Rachel @ RachelRuns29.11 February 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

M- I’ve wanted to try Mazzaro’s for so long, you put up a great review and it looks amazing!

I’ve spent all morning going through the Healthy Living Summit posts and it looks so fun, can’t wait to hear more about this year’s event!
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16 beka @ rebecca roams February 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm

OH WOW! I never knew about Mazzaro’s and now I nust must must go there. I miss so many Italian things from home. Awesome share πŸ™‚
I’ve never been to a Gigi’s either. I’m so behind on foodie times, huh?
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17 Beth February 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm

So happy you made it to Mazzaro’s. I first made it there a year or two ago and have been raving about it ever since. I’m in love with that place. Too bad it’s not close enough for a girls breakfast/coffee date. Lol!
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18 Angela February 13, 2013 at 1:47 am

What a great birthday filled with amazing food!
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19 Erin February 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Hahah! Mazzaro’s was the one place my dad and his wife couldn’t wait to take me when I visited Tampa in December. That place is totally awesome!
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