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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Foster chooses Shirley's Soul Food Diner to host first public breakfast

23

February

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ST. PETERSBURG —  Mayor Bill Foster will host his first public breakfast at a local Southern diner Wednesday, the first of his planned “Breakfast with the Mayor” discussions.

The breakfast will start at 7 a.m. at Shirley’s Soul Food Diner, 1789 34th St. S. Foster plans to have the breakfasts at different locations on the fourth Wednesday of each month and listen to residents’ and business owners' concerns about local government.

Expect bacon, eggs, grits and sausage among the options at Shirley’s. Be warned: Foster won’t be picking up the tab. He asks that attendees support the business and buy a plate.

That will cost you about $5.50, said Shirley Tigg, the 70-year-old owner. Tigg, a supporter during Foster’s campaign, says Foster is a frequent customer. The breakfast couldn’t come at a better time, she said.

Tigg (above, left, watching President Obama'sinauguration speech)  has served up “all the Southern stuff” — entrees such as chitlins, chicken wings and beef stew — since 1986. But business in her 50-seat restaurant has slowed since April, probably because of the economy.

Foster recently asked her why she wasn’t getting as many customers, she said. “He knows my business has always been booming."

She told him things were so bad that she was thinking about closing.

“He said, ‘Maybe a breakfast with the mayor would help out a little bit,’” Tigg said. “I thought that would be very nice, you know?”

City spokeswoman Beth Herendeen said they're not sure how many people to expect Wednesday. She's hoping for a few dozen.

"We'll see how tomorrow goes," she said.

—  Katie Sanders, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:26pm]

    

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