TAMPA - Yvette Gonzalez had a pretty good idea the men walking through the doors of her father's Columbus Drive restaurant around 2 p.m. Sunday weren't regular customers. "I saw a guy wearing an earpiece," Gonzalez said. "I said, 'Dad, that's someone important." Moments later Gov. Rick Scott walked through the doors of Arco Iris. He was in town - and hungry - on his way back to Tallahassee. Someone suggested Arco-Iris Café. "I travel the state almost every day; it seems like and I just try and stop different places, meet people, have lunch, have dinner, have breakfast around the state," Scott said. "It's a big state, so it's work to get around all of it."
During the hour or so he spent inside the restaurant, Scott sat in a back room - the walls painted to depict Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean, palms trees at sunset and Morro Castle - with a small number of diners, including Mireya Linsky and her twin sons, Max and Gordon. Linsky, an accountant with the Hillsborough County School District, said she asked about education and thanked the governor for working to get raises for teachers. She said Scott talked to her kids about the importance of hard work. "He cleaned cars, he cleaned bathrooms. He did everything that nobody wanted to do,'' Linsky said. "It wasn't always easy for him." Restaurant owner Jorge Gonzalez, a native of Havana, Cuba, was excited to have the governor in his restaurant. "I'm trying to make him feel as comfortable as possible, so I'm trying to act as normal as possible," Gonzalez said as his daughter, Yvette, interpreted. Scott is the latest politician to sate their appetite inside one of Jorge Gonzalez's restaurants. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Vice President Al Gore stopped in at the old Jorge's Café, which has since closed. Former Gov. Bob Graham and U.S. Sen. Joel Lieberman have also sampled Gonzalez's menu. Before leaving, Scott posed with members of the restaurant's wait staff and then headed into the kitchen to thank those in the back preparing food. "You have to acknowledge everybody,'' Linsky said, "from the bottom to the top and from the top to the bottom and I think he does well with that." email@example.com (813) 371-1860 Twitter: @EDanielsTBO