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Mangia Gourmet Local Market & Deli Coming Soon

The much-loved Fresh Market vendor, Mangia Gourmet, is opening up a market/deli location on Beach Boulevard in Gulfport.

Stroll along Beach Boulevard during the weekly Tuesday Fresh Market in Gulfport and you'll notice a continuous line of new and old customers forming in front of Jill Johnson's spot, Mangia Gourmet.

Johnson and her mother Maria are often seen dishing out fresh meals to go like quinoa salad, garlic dill chicken salad and other top sellers such as their flavored hummus. They're known for delicious vegan and gluten free meals and baked goods as well.

"The stars are aligned," Johnson exclaimed during this past market.

After spending two years as a regular vendor at the market, Johnson says plans are moving full speed ahead to finally set up a "brick and mortar" location right here in Gulfport. This won't be Johnson's first experience running a local shop. She owned a restaurant years ago on Corey Avenue in St. Pete Beach. She closed that in 2008, worked as a general manager for Panera Bread for three years and then ended up starting her business again. 

Johnson just signed the lease on Friday and hopes to have Mangia Gourment open at 2930 Beach Blvd. in three weeks.

"We're very excited," she said.

The spot, formally known as Paco's Tacos, features a courtyard and outdoor seating. 

Johnson looked at that exact location a year ago but says it just wasn't possible — yet. Now, she has a new partner, Scott Linde, and a plan to bring her popular "to-go meals" to Gulfport full time. She also hopes to add a smoothie bar and possibly brew fresh local coffee. 

"It's fate. The time is right," she said.

What makes Mangia Gourmet stand out its "take and go" layout.

"There will be no indoor seating," Jill Johnson said.

Inside, customers will find the same delicious dishes they buy now at the market. With its close proximity to the beach, the new deli will be a perfect place for beachgoers to buy snacks and meals for their picnic baskets.

In the meantime, you can catch Jill and her mother Maria at the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market on June 4 and 11.

Kick Off Cocktail Party

Everyone is invited to a cocktail party on June 7 from 6-9 p.m. It will be held at the Park Room of Florencia Condos at 100 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL, 33701. Organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $35 per guest. There will be food, beer, wine and live music by the Urban Gypsies.

For more information and to RSVP email Jill Johnson at mangiagirls@yahoo.com.

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Daniel Hodge May 30, 2013 at 06:08 PM
They have the space downtown for free and it's a great place for a party. They don't have to have a party to get their business started. But they are opening up an avenue for supporters to have a great time with great food, beverages and great music, and make some money at the same time. Sounds like a great idea to me. Grass-roots funding from "everyday" people that support your idea is becoming more and more popular as a funding avenue. I don't have big pockets but I know Jill and want to see her succeed and I can afford $35 and look forward to being a small part of the engine that helps get them off the ground. If you'd prefer to wait until they are ready to open (the facility is not yet ready), then watch for their grand opening. They actually hope to open by the end of June if their modest amount of remodeling can be accomplished in this time. By the way, I would like to specify that I am speaking for myself as a friend of Jill's, and not on behalf of any organization(s).
Stephanie Ancona May 31, 2013 at 11:17 AM
The "start-up costs" cocktail party is a great entrepreneurial idea to support a small business. Community buy-in like this makes total sense to me. One can choose to participate or not. Mangia Gourmet will be filling an unmet need in Gulfport. This might be just the type of business to fit into this space. I wish them success and look forward to supporting them and enjoying more of their delicious food.
leta woloshuk June 01, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Ohhh I am sooo looking forward to having a "slow food " take away deli. It's the best of both worlds, slow food revolution ...healthy incredibly delicious sides, main dishes and snacks made with integrity and quality ingredients, ready to go when im in a hurry. Love it! The party it going to be a crazy fun time! !!!!
Jill Johnson June 05, 2013 at 11:09 PM
I want to thank everyone for their feedback and support. To clarify, I am hosting a Kick Off Party as a way to get the "buzz" of our new business started, to introduce people to our food, & yes to raise a little bit of money. The Gulfport community have been my biggest supporters, which is exactly why I want to open my store there. The cost of our event will include a full dinner, beer/wine, & music by The Urban Gypsies of Florida. Any money raised will be used toward the rennovation of our new courtyard! We want nothing more than to help add to the already beautiful, warm, & inviting feel Beach Blvd has created. We understand that not everyone is able to pay $35 to attend a party, and hope that instead you can join us at our Grand Opening in Gulfport. Our goal is to provide Fresh & Healthy Foods in a convenient fashion while keeping the prodcuts as local as possible and hopefully creating a comfortable place for the community to gather.
Daniel Hodge June 09, 2013 at 12:37 AM
The kickoff party was great! And of course the food was delicious and the Urban Gypsies were wonderful. Can't wait for the grand opening, and being able to get Mangia food any day of the week!

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