Nowhere between the south of Haines City or north of Sebring Florida have we found and enjoyed shopping more at a food market, than we did at Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Petersburg. “Mi piace veramente tanto” which – I hope – means that I really like it a lot.
If you are in St. Petersburg regularly, or maybe visiting their famous Sunken Gardens, then you want to pop into Mazzaro’s for a look see. It’s something! If you are going to the Sunken Gardens anyway, Mazzaro’s is only 10 minutes or so from there. If you need or want lunch too, go for sure!
A word of caution. One of the reasons we went there was to have one of their well reputed – and deservedly so – gourmet sandwiches from their deli. Getting there well after one o’clock on purpose to “miss the crowds” only meant that it was not quite elbow-to-elbow with patrons during our visit, but it was close. Buggies clashed with buggies, “pardon me’s” rang out as people tried to reach the counter to place their new order or when it was ready. It was busy! It was a bit of mayhem! But it was all good.
Maybe by mid-afternoon customer traffic at Mazzaro’s would be less? Don’t know. We’ll check that out next time we visit.
Mazzaro’s is an amazing place with a warren of rooms. There are some fairly narrow “choke point” passageways between some of the rooms and between the close-together well-stocked aisle shelving. If walking is a bit of a challenge (there’s a shift in floor levels too) be warned and a bit careful when walking about.
I waited a bit before I took the photo below in an effort to try and capture more of the the store and less of the crowds. Some success at that, but still lots of folks.
Behind me in the photo is the entrance to Mazzaro’s. As you enter, there are multiple checkouts to the right and a full length counter to the left. You might be able to see that there is a line up from the next room into this one; folks waiting to check out. Every cash register was backed up with folks waiting to spend their money and I suspect this made the owner(s) of Mazzaro’s very happy!
What’s at Mazzaro’s?
Folks, if it’s Italian and food related, they probably have it somewhere in this vast building. As you excuse yourself past the congestion at the front door and actually squirt your body between folks into the store, it can be a bit overwhelming at first.
Tip: Every counter where “something” can be ordered will have a ticket dispenser and number board. Grab a number. You won’t get served without one. EACH counter has their own ticket set up. Smile and squirm to the counter and grab a number. You’ll see on the number board where you are in line. When your number comes up, they’ll let you know. Boy do they sing out when a new number comes up! You won’t miss your number being called.
- there’s a full length dessert section with fresh, Italian baked delights of all kinds.
- they have a room full of canned and bottled goods from the “old country”.
- the meats on display in the full length cooler and meat section are guaranteed to make you drool if you are a carnivore as I most certainly am!
- coolers full of drinks of all kinds including cold beers.
- eventually you’ll circle around and arrive at the deli-sandwich station with a gaggle of assorted server-folks hurrying hither and yon behind the counter, singing the numbers out as loud as Italian church bells as sandwiches (fresh made) are ready to pcik up, or when the next order is to be taken.
Wonderful breads at Mazzaro’s
At the left of this deli and bread counter was the other reason I wanted to visit Mazzaro’s. A FB friend said they have wonderful European style fresh baked breads and rolls. Oh my, yes they sure do!
We acquired our fresh baked loaf, they bagged it in paper along with a plastic bread bag. Bread shouldn’t be wrapped in plastic until it has cooled. They slap a price sticker on it, and it, along with any other purchases (including deli sandwiches, deli-meats etc.) are paid for at the check outs on the way out of the store.
Lunch time at Mazzaro’s
We struggled our way over to the deli-sandwich section. There were at least thirty persons in that one aisle facing the cooler counter, either waiting to order, or waiting for their order to be ready. The sight of the huge assortment of sandwiches, fresh or already made started our mouths to water. We didn’t care how long the wait was. We were hungy!
Not to worry. Though there were lots of folks in line waiting, we took a number, and very soon our number was called. We ordered a couple of sandwiches. It wasn’t more than five minutes until our order number came up and our sandwiches were ready! The server confirmed that what was in the packages was what we had ordered. Our sandwiches came in a take out container, tagged with the price on top. The folks behind the Mazzaro’s counter and in the kitchen are fast!
After queueing at the cash and paying, we took advantage of the outdoor patio areas that Mazzaros’ provides, some of the seating which can be seen below. Some tables are in the hot sun, some in the shade. We couldn’t wait any longer for sustenance, grabbed the closest table, and dug in.
Note: there are no paper napkins or condiments or forks in the container or bag which would have been good to know up front. Since the sandwiches are big, delicious and often drippy, bring napkins and utensils. You may need to, depending on what was ordered.
Wait… there’s more at Mazzaro’s
There’s another whole building chock-a-block with kitchen doo-dads, gifts and neat stuff of all kinds.
Not only can you get groceries at Mazzaro’s, but you can fill your gift list if you want too!
The additional building has the same Italian-themed decor, inside and out.
And no, I don’t work for them, nor did they pay me for this page. I just think that this market is very, very good!
Why not tell us about your experience at Mazzaro’s in a comment below? Cheers.