ST. PETERSBURG -- The store manager of Mazzaro's Italian Market was impressed when celebrity chef and Food Network star Tyler Florence came in this week to shop for meats and cheeses.
But even more so after Florence explained why he was in town -- to cook at a private fundraiser for President Barack Obama. The president will be attending a fundraiser at the Tampa home of Donn Miggs and Lisa DeBartolo. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder is also among the guests expected, in addition to chef Florence.
"Pretty amazed," manager Ben DeNavarra said, describing his reaction. He got Florence to sign a Mazzaro's T-shirt, which will be framed and hung on the wall of the widely known St. Petersburg market and deli at 2909 22nd Avenue N.
DeNavarra said Florence was "very, very nice, very polite, very outgoing" during his visit on Wednesday, in preparation for today'sfundraiser. He added that "it's always exciting when somebody famous comes into the store ... a lot of the employees and customers here are big foodies."