Getting to know Tampa Bay restuarant owner Michael Stewart with this week's 10 questions

TAMPA - Are you ever curious about the real lives of politicians, celebrities, local newsmakers and athletes? Who are their mentors and who would they really like to meet?

Each Tuesday, ABC Action News asks 10 questions of a Bay area leader or celebrity. They're fun questions that let you get to know the person.

This week we are thrilled to hear from restaurant owner Michael Stewart.

Born and raised in the Tampa, Michael headed to Florida State University after high school. He moved to Los Angeles after that and spent time in the entertainment industry and real estate.

But in 2004. Michael returned to be near his family and to join his  father with their family business. That included 717 South a popular restaurant on South Howard Avenue.

When giving directions, he jokes, that it is the restaurant next to the ever popular Starbucks. Many celebrities including Alex Rodriguez, Cameron Diaz and Derek Jeter have been spotted there.

Plenty celebrities frequent his place of business as well. In fact, Michael goes beyond running a business. He's made it his mission to give back to the community.

On Friday nights he invites celebrity bartenders who offer their tips to the charity of their choice.

Our own Brendan McLaughlin has participated, former Bucs coach Raheem Morris mixed drinks behind the bar, and countless other athletes, famous actors and other newsmakers have taken part.

Rays manager Joe Maddon used Michael's kitchen for his annual Thanksmas dinner. Maddon provides a hot home-cooked meal to hundreds of needy in the bay area. And he can often be seen sampling the cuisine at 717.

Michael and his wife Lindsay have also entertained the likes of Martha Stewart and Tom Berenger.

Some of the Tampa Bay charities that have benefited include, The Tampa Bay Rays Foundation, American Cancer Society, Heartbeat International, Big Cat Rescue, Humane Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Warriors for Autism, Sydney's School of Autism, UCP, Larry King Cardiac Foundation, Voices for Children, and Gasparilla Film Festival to local families in need.

Michael has accomplished a great deal but he shares his biggest and most treasured accomplishment is marrying his wife Lindsay and having their two beautiful children, Ava and Landon.

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1. What is your all-time favorite movie or song?   
Movie: "Something about Mary", "Anchorman", or "The Sting",….Sorry… I can't choose.  Song: Ties between Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly", any version ,  Ace Hood's "Hustle Hard" , and "The Dance" by Garth Brooks ( oh and yes, my first slow song  at summer camp, " Three Times a Lady" by the Commodores. (Thank you Jennifer Pickering…for asking me to dance)

2. Do you have a Smartphone? If so, what's your favorite app?  
Yes, app is called "Relax and Rest", a daily meditation program.

3. Who do you count as your mentor(s)?
My Parents.

4. What was your very first job?
While on a double date, we didn't have enough money to pay for our pizza, so the manager asked us to fold over 300 pizza boxes in lieu of payment. I was in the 5th grade.  I learned more that afternoon, than the sum of all my years in grade school

5. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?  
To not worry about the future.

6. What do you consider your greatest success?  
My family. ( a teaching of love, value, character, humility, sharing, forgiveness, dependence, faith, integrity, and loyalty. )

7. Tell us something about you most people don't know?  
I write songs and play the piano since I was 12 years old.

8. If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?
Walt Disney,  a seat at "The Last Supper", and The Dalai Lama because I don't know anything about him other than he is calm, which I would like to be more of.   
Runner up: "The Beatles "

9. What is in your fridge right now?  
Milk, OJ, Turkey, left overs, yogurt, and 99 bottles of condiments, I rarely use.  Though I can't live without my jar of "horseradish dijon mustard and sweet honey flavored mayonnaise".

10. If you could have a different career, other then what you're doing now, what would it
Rock Star.  ( oh yea baby!!! )

The people I profile each week are based on your suggestions. Please let me know who you would like to hear from!

You can e-mail me at or "like" me on Facebook. To do that just head to ... and find me under the favorites tab and click the "like" button.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Sarina Fazan
News Anchor/Multimedia Journalist

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