Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Gas prices are outrageous!!!

And Merinos, your neighborhood deli at 6428 Florida Ave feels your pain.

We are now available to deliver your next deli sub, Hot Steak N Cheese, salad or even our hot daily special right to your door. No delivery charge, just a $10.00 minimum please. Our delivery hours are Mon. thru. Fri. 11 am to 7 pm and on Saturday 11 am till 4 pm.

Call us at 236-3354 or fax that order in at 232-3354.

Need to look over the menu? Go to


Gonzonia said...

Sadly, we just tried calling to place an order. We called 3 times and just got an answering machine.

Then we tried Stephannos and we just got busy signals and a fax machine.

This is why we love Cappys.

nataS said...

This is why these local businesses come and go. You have to pay attention to the details. If you say you offer delivery and take out, someone MUST be available to answer the phone. If you have an hours sign in your window, you MUST be open during those hours. I call and get an answering machine, chances are I just don't bother calling back again. I show up when you are supposed to be open and you are can bet I won't be back anytime soon.

These are things that businesses must focus on. Simply saying "Hey, we're local doesn't do it for me...give me service and I'll be a pretty consistent customer.

My experience with Merino's was waiting 7 minutes at the counter while someone blathered on and on to somebody about how great the place was. Then when I finally got my food, I was seriously disappointed. Not as described on the menu and definitely not worth the price. A restaurant is only as good as its food and service.

Mike Merino said...

A note to both comments made on this blog from Mike Merino:
Firstly to Gonzonia; I, on occasion, unfortunately have to close the deli in the later part of the afternoon. This is usually due to a catering order or personal business that I must attend to. Being a small business, I am not blessed with the financial ability to hire extra people. This by no means is any excuse but, in our tough economy I must do whatever needed to keep Merinos open and profitable. Please give us another opportunity to deliver.
Secondly a request to Natas; I cant defend your statements due to the fact that you didn't take the time to approach me personally. Instead, you chose to write negative comments on the blog. Its apparent that you have never had your own small business, for if you had, you would certainly understand the difficulty that exists operating one.
If you were displeased with anything at Merinos Deli I would take care of you immediately!
Merinos has been in the heights for over a year and I am personally there in excess of 80 hours a week.
Simple resolution....CALL ME AND I WILL MAKE IT RIGHT!
Thanks for listening
Mike Merino

nataS said...

Thanks, Mike. I'll do that if I make it in there again. Restaurants do get reviewed's the nature of the business. You know that. I'm relating an experience that I had at a business...not making a personal attack on you or your business.

Stamp your Feet said...

Seminole Heights Loses a great manager. I just found out that John Butler has left Stephannos. We have enjoyed the atmosphere he created and wish him all the best. We love the food , but John always made us feel so welcome!!!

EricHolsinger said...

I have been to Merino's many times and each time have found the owner and his staff to be extremely efficient and courteous to their customers. They take great pride in their work and go out of their way to make your visit an enjoyable one. You would be hard pressed to find a business owner more personable and accomodating than Mike. They generously served up a FREE delicious spaghetti dinner to all who attended a mixer this past year. Mike Merino and his family business are a very big part of what's right with this neighborhood. It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience but I would encourage you to give them another opportunity. They absolutely bust their hump for their customers. All you have to experience is seeing Mike dashing in and out (with a huge smile on his face and still taking a brief pause to thank you for your business) of your business with a delivery to conclude that he must have trained under Santa Claus.

SSHeights said...

Hey Mike,

Tell the person that's distributing your flyers to stop putting them on or in mailboxes- your breaking federal law.

Michelle said...

My, we have become a bitter neighborhood. Is it really effecting you that a local business put a flyer on (not in, I got one too) your mailbox so that you could see he was offering free delivery for your convenience?
Regardless of your opinon of the place, did it really inconvenience you so much to take the menu off your mailbox and either store it or dispose of it?
I bet you could nag paint off walls.

SSHeights said...


I could care less what your opinion is on this subject.

What I do care about is not having someone who looks like a homeless day laborer inside of my mail box. If it happens again I'll head right on over to the Post Office and file a complaint.

Lisa Randles said...

Just curious-
Is it against the law to distribute flyers?
What about junk mail?
The rainforest is being cut down to deliver the junk mail that appears in my mailbox courtesy of the US Postal Service.
What are they going to do about flyers distributed by local merchants trying to stay in business?
I'd be curious to know if they are going to: Get Right On It Sir.
Knowing how people are, they will probably roll their eyes as soon as you leave.
Could try and see what happens.
I wouldn't bet the farm on speedy mailbox justice.
Seems like there's so many other things to worry about.......
At least in my world; I wish things like this were the things I had on the top of my list to worry about. Guess I'm just jealous!

SSHeights said...

Yes Lisa, it is illegal to distribute flyers when you place them inside a mailbox. It's theft of services, and invasion of privacy. The PO will give one warning, if it continues you risk being fined and or arrested.

Here's another one you may not know- you do not own your own mailbox, the Federal Government does.

But since you think the rain forest is being destroyed by junk mail, I'm sure there's lots you're not aware of.........

Mike said... my friend who is helping me get the word out about Free Delivery at Merinos Deli was hassled by the police. He was asked to take my flyers and leave the hood.
Did the police contact me? NO!
Has anyone that is in disaproval called me at the deli? NO!
Isnt that just neighborly Seminole Heights residents!!!!
The person doing this for me is being paid and is doing so in the 95 degree heat. He is very safe person and I have known him for many years. He is a Christian and needs a full time job. I am helping him while helping raise awareness of the deli.
All the other restaurants including Stephanos,Dominoes, etc. do this all the time.why should Merinos have a problem with this?
How about this for an idea????
I will hire young kids to go out and do probably one block of homes and then throw my menus in the trash and accomplish nothing but help Merinos go out of business.
If you agree with me or even if you dont, dont write it in the blog, CALL ME ON MY CELL PHONE AT 813-431-5730 ITS THE MATURE THING TO DO!
Mike Merino

Bungalowlady said...

We all want neighborhood friendly businesses and not big box chains. So, we have one in Merino's Deli. We support him up to a point and theminute anything happens that isnot exactly the way we want it, we scream to thepolice, code enforcement or whatever. Merino's has been more supportive of SH than any other business here. If we have a problem we should call Mike. If we get vboice mail we should leave a message. Mike is very responsive to any problems we have with his business. His man is working in the horrible heat trying to make a living. Mike hired him in order to increease his business so that we can keep exactly what we asked for - - a "Mom and Pop" neighborhood-friendly business.

Putting flyers "ON" mailboxes is not illegal. The city of Tampa does that with their flyers. Putting them "IN" mailboxes is. I didn't hear any complaints when Stephanos flyered the neighborhood. I don't get it. Let's support the business that support us. Merino's is one of those.

Urban Eater said...

How about this one:
I don't care about your opinons either. Nanny Nanny Boo Boo!!!!! Just fade away.

Keep it up Mike! Lisa and Bungalow Lady have made awesome points. I LOVE the fact that you have used a man who is need of employment instead of kids who will, as you have stated "just throw the flyers in the trash". I've learned that the hard way. I love your deli and respect you in so many ways and thank you for managing such an outstanding establishment.

SSHeights said...

bungalow lady-

Per the USPS-

no part of a mail receptacle may be
used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed
upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. Any
mailable matter not bearing postage and found as described above is subject to the
same postage as would be paid if it were carried by mail.

So no, you can not even attach them to the mailbox.

Lisa Randles said...

Hi Mike?
Have you ever thought of doorknobs or doorsteps?
Maybe people are less tweaked out about them.

Lisa Randles said...

Thank you for the finer points of US Postal Service law and the Rainforest awareness, it is always nice when someone who has a bottomless well of knowledge kindly teaches us about the things we don't know about. Some people have to pay for college, we just have to go to this blog!
I DO know I admire anyone who opens their own business in today's world, especially the restaurant business. I know I don't have the guts. Or, apparently the intelligence.
At least a lot of people think I'm nice!
Something tells me not everyone can say that.
Here's to Small business owners sucess in Seminole Heights!
There are some positive people hoping for your sucess. Take heart!

Seminole Heights said...

I do not see why placing flyers on mailboxes would be a big deal. Yes it is against postal regulations. Okay so what. Often I have seen many civic associations/HOA deliver newsletters/flyers by placing them on the mailboxes. I have not heard of the post office going after anyone for doing that

Just don't place them in the box.

SSHeights said...

I do not see why placing flyers on mailboxes would be a big deal. Yes it is against postal regulations. Okay so what.

Is this the only federal law you disregard?

I myself don't like flyers placed on, or in my mailbox and since the law is on my side I will file a complaint each and every time it happens. I'm kind of funny about people effing around with my mailbox, especially if their cause isn't worth the price of a stamp.

Anyone who has anything important come in the mail should feel the same way.

Lisa Randles said...

People apparently tire of cyber bullies.
Guess the question will remain unanswered and we will have to live without the knowledge of whether or not Mike has DISREGUARDED ANY OTHER FEDERAL LAWS.
Looking forward to more positive blog use for the neighborhood and less cruel ego feeding commentary.
Am I alone in this wish?

nataS said...

First off: I stopped in Merino's and grabbed a sandwich the other day. Delicious. Friendly service. Every business has bad days and maybe that was unfortunately my first impression of the place. In any case, I'll be adding them to the list of locally owned and operated businesses that I support regularly.

As for this mailbox thing...I've been accused of being petty for complaining about a neighbor who left his dog out ALL NIGHT barking...but this is just petty and ridiculous. These are the people who belong in those horrid deed restricted communities. Also, if the USPS owns my mailbox, who do I talk to about having them install one of those sweet, gigantic manatee mailboxes installed?

Lisa Randles said...

Thank God,
A person with a sense of humor.
Merino's Deli offered free service and I thought maybe he was going to be burned in the town square for putting flyers in people's mailboxes to offer them a free service. Reminds me of the old sayings: "No good deed goes unpunished" and "Nice guys finish last". He'll probably think long and hard before he offers us anything free again.
I appreciated it!
I will be calling within the next week for my delivery.
If he still offers it after all this negative feedback.
Here's a lonely voice in the crowd:
"Thank You for the offer!"

ranbar said...


Actually, you were not being petty about the dogs barking all night. That was a legitimate problem (although unintentional on my part). I was just upset that we couldn't have worked it out as neighbors instead of airing it publicly on the blog. However, since then I have made a concerted effort to make sure that if my dogs have to do their business late at night that they immediately come back in if they begin to bark. This is in consideration not only of you, but of all my neighbors. Now, I can't help you with the pit bull next door, or the dog in the garage appartment, or the ones across the street on Ola, or the two across Comanche (you know the ones I mean). But if they get out of hand, you may just want to talk to the owners about it, as I will if it gets excessive. You'd be surprised how accomodating and apologetic people can be.

As for mailboxes, I can understand how people might be nervous about people in their mailbox with the dramatic increase identity theft. However, I am sure that it was not Mike's intent to break federal law and get sent to Levenworth. More likely it was just a misunderstanding on the part of his helper and a simple conversation with Mike by whoever was concerned could have solved the problem. Mike is one of the hardest working, and neighborhood friendly, business owners in the area. He will bend over backwards to fix any problem and make sure that people, customers or not, are happy and fully satisfied with how his business is run. Mike has always tried to play by the rules, especially when he was first opening. He pulled every permit and complied with every request of the city, unlike others who sometimes ask for forgiveness rather than permission. (Although, it is understandable why that happens given the hoops the city makes you jump through to open a business, especially with an adaptive reuse of a building.)

I am glad you gave Merino's a second chance. Everyone and every business can have a bad day. I've had a bad steak at Burns and a bad pizza at Cappy' happens. But the businesses that are worthy of our repeat business are the ones who try to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again. Merino's is one of those businesses, as is Cappy's. I hope the neighborhood continues to support them and the other businesses that are trying hard to survive while we transform our commercial corridors from industrial uses to more neighborhood friendly uses.

As for the mailboxes, we are trying to get ones shaped like little Starbucks for Seminole Heights. Just kidding.


nataS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.