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Barnie's CoffeeKitchen Opens Cafes Inside DPAC

If you're headed to the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center for tonight's premiere of The Nutcracker, you'll be the first to see first of two new Barnie's CoffeeKitchen cafes that will be part of the complex. The first to open will be on the second level; a first floor cafe will open in the spring. You'll be able to buy espressos and specialty coffees, hot chocolate, Irish coffee, and Santa's White Christmas Eggnog, with or without Bailey's Irish Cream. (I recommend with; I've seen many, many productions of The Nutcracker. In fact, make it a double.)

You'll also find some sweets, including BCK macarons, biscotti and blondies (but no sugar plums).

It's nice to see our hometown Barnie's CoffeeKitchen become part of the DPAC concessions. 

Hey, Firebirds! Something Wrong with Orlando?

WP Firebirds

My friend Matt Broffman over at Bungalower shared an email he received from a publicist for Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, which opened this year at the Market at Mills Park. That's the complex at the corner of Mills Avenue and Virginia Drive. In Orlando. Definitely Orlando. The address is 1562 N. Mills Ave. We all know that Mills Avenue, counter-intuitively, I'll grant you, becomes Orlando Avenue when it crosses the city line into Winter Park.

So why did the press release that Matt got from the pr folks repeatedly refer to the Winter Park Firebirds? Does claiming a Winter Park address impart more cachet? Is there something wrong with Orlando?

It reminded me of the "Longwood" Pebbles that was actually in Altamonte Springs all those years. Longwood, apparently, is considered tonier than Altamonte Springs. (You know, where that mall is.) But at least Pebbles was essentially right next to the city line -- you could actually see Longwood from there. Not so with Firebirds.

To its credit, Firebirds clearly states on its website that the local restaurants -- indeed the only one if Florida so far -- is firmly in Orlando.

My guess is that it was the public relations agency hired by the folks at Firebirds that made the call to pick the restaurant up and move it. To which I say, "Hey, pr flack: Orlando doesn't suck.

By the way, apparently based on my review of Firebirds in August, the young lady did not think I would be interested in learning about the new menu items. I did not receive the mailing.

Chef's Table at the Edgewater, Enzo's on the Lake Named to OpenTable's Top 100 Restaurants in America

tartarsKevin and Laurie Tarter, owners of Chef's Table at the Edgewater.The ever popular Chef's Table at the Edgewater in Winter Garden and the venerable Enzo's on the Lake in Longwood have been named to OpenTable's list of the best restaurants in the country. The online reservation company's annual Top 100 Restaurants in America is culled from an analysis of over five million reviews from OpenTable diners of more than 20,000 restaurants. The honorees, according to the OpenTable website, "represent the establishments where creativity, consistency and hospitality meet every meal, every day."

Congratulations to both restaurants, and especially to the Chef's Table at the Edgewater, a longtime SJO advertiser.




Del Frisco's Double Eagle to Open on I-Drive in Fall

Del Friscos DE logoDel Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House will open one of its premium steakhouses on International Drive in Fall of 2015. The restaurant is being constructed on a site that once held a Sizzler steakhouse, so there are bound to be comparisons. Not.

More likely the comparisons -- and the competition for meat-loving conventioneers -- will be between Del and The Capital Grille, which is essentially across the street at Pointe Orlando. Del's new address will be 9142 International Drive.

The Del Frisco's name isn't new to Orlando, but the Double Eagle brand is. The restaurant now known as Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster on Lee Road began as Del Frisco's Prime Steak & Lobster. That was in 1993 when Russ Christner convinced his friend Dale Wamstad, owner of the original Del Frisco's in Dallas (by way of New Orleans) to allow him to open a Del Frisco's in Orlando. The agreement included a 20 year license. During that time, Wamstad sold the business to the company that would create the Double Eagle chain brand. When the 20 years were up, in 2013, the license was not renewed, and the restaurant changed its name to Christner's. As part of the parting terms, Del Frisco's Double Eagle was excluded from entering the Central Florida market for the period of one year.

That was up in June, so it's surprising that it will be another year -- plus -- before the Double Eagle restaurant opens up.

And I was surprised that it will be a Double Eagle and not the Del Frisco's Grille, a more casual concept. One of those opened in the past year in the Tampa area. Let's take that as a positive indication that companies are betting that people are willing to spend expense account dollars at fine restaurants again.

Have you been to a Del Frisco's Double Eagle steakhouse? Are you excited about the one to open on International Drive?

Saturday, 20th December 2014

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