Text Size


Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2014 JoomlaWorks Ltd.


McKnights pork chopSoul food returns to downtown Orlando with the opening of McKnight’s, which took over the space vacated in 2010 by Johnson’s Diner.

Not the original Johnson’s Diner space, of course. That was a little bit of a shack on a corner of Washington Street in the shadow of the old arena. (Actually, it had been there before there was an arena to cast a shadow.)

It moved, of course, to an area of redevelopment on West Church Street that also would eventually be in the shadow of the new arena. It was a much bigger space, and Johnson’s Diner continued to draw hungry lovers of southern cooking, professional athletes and influential politicians among them. But following the death of the business’s matriarch, and with the increased expenses of the new space (not to mention a possible lack of business acumen), the children who had tried to keep the restaurant opened were forced to close it.

Now McKnight’s has moved in, and good southern soul food is once again available to downtowners.

I visited McKnight’s last month during one of the colder days (remember those?) but was greeted warmly as I waited by the front door. The dining room was almost empty, so I pretty much had my choice of tables. 

The menu is not really extensive, but it has enough temptables to keep anyone coming back. I decided on smothered pork chop and was not disappointed. The meat was tender, yet had the distinct flavor of a grilled chop with its mouth-filling juices. It was covered -- smothered, if you will -- by a rich brown gravy and was accompanied by a big mound of fluffy rice and my choices of side dishes: collard greens and black-eyed peas. (The macaroni and cheese was my first choice but it wasn’t ready yet.)

It was a lot of good, filling food, and a bargain at $9.50.

McKnights interiorMcKnight’s decor features a large suit of armor near the front door and two massive fish tanks in the center of the room. The ceiling tiles alternate black and wood-tone (almost a UCF Knights black and gold), and walls are covered with textured wallpaper. I don’t recall Johnson’s looking this nice.

My server was very nice and welcoming. Owner William McKnight was in the dining room, but seemed to stop only at tables of people he already knew.

Too bad, I was looking forward to thanking him for a fine meal.

McKnight’s is at 595 W. Church St., Orlando. It is open for breakfast Monday through Friday and for lunch and dinner daily (though it closes early; 8 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday). Here’s a link to soulfoodatitsbest.com. The phone number is 407-245-1155.

Related Articles/Posts
Artisan's Table, Created by Scott JosephArtisan's Table...
I visited Artisan’s Table three times and dined there twice. The first visit did not go well. Artisan’s Table is the newest occupant of 22 E. Pine St. in do...
STP - Sloppy Taco Palace, Created by Scott JosephSTP - Sloppy Taco Palace...
You might expect one thing from a place that refers to itself as STP. You’d definitely expect another once you knew that the initials stand for Sloppy Taco Pa...
Chubby's Family Restaurant, Created by Scott JosephChubby's Family Restaurant...
I’ve always wondered why someone would want to call a restaurant Chubby’s. Not sure calling attention to the results of an eating disorder is good for an eate...
Last Chance to Save on Reading Between the Wines Tickets, Created by Scott JosephLast Chance to Save on Reading Between the Wines Tickets...
Today is the last day to get the advance-purchase “early bird” rates for this year’s Reading Between the Wines event. Click this link to go to the RBTW websit...
Santiago's Bodega Revisited, Created by Scott JosephSantiago's Bodega Revisited...
I stopped back in to revisit Santiago’s Bodega recently and had a much more enjoyable experience than when I first reviewed it shortly after it opened last su...


0 #5 Mike 2013-04-08 09:47
Victoria and Alberts does call the day of the reservation to confirm. They also go over any allergies, dietary restrictions or special requests that you might have so that the evening will go perfectly for you.
If you don't show you are charged $25 per person in the party.
0 #4 Karilyn Rust 2013-04-05 17:39
My comment is posted on the wrong page. This website has so many bugs it's unbelievable. It's taken me 20 minutes to get this message to post and why did it end up on this WRONG page? Not where I was writing it. Oh, well, love the reviews, Scott, not so crazy about the website snafus.
0 #3 Karilyn Rust 2013-04-05 17:35
I always make a reservation when reservations are accepted. And I absolutely always cancel on the rare occasions when we can't make it, such as for illness. However, restaurants are not totally blameless here. More than once, I've had the experience of making a reservation well in advance and then ding up waiting for a table, sometimes for an excessive amount of time (or being seated by the noisy kitchen or bathrooms, ouch!) As for Victoria and Albert charging your credit card if you don't show, hmmmm, I wonder how much they charge? How could they possibly know what might have been spent?? And I wonder how hard it would be to fight this charge. I seriously doubt that any credit card company would find in favor of the restaurant. Perhaps a better policy is for the restaurant to call and confirm that day. No confirmatiion from the diners, then reservation cancelled. Some restaurants do this and it's such an easy, more friendly solution.
0 #2 Scott Joseph 2013-04-03 14:12
You're right, Ricky. I guess I was just trying to wipe that experience from my memory. (It can't be that I'm just getting forgetful.) Where was I? Oh yes, Fish 'n' Loaves. It was pretty disappointing. Here a link to that review: http://www.scottjosephorlando.com/index.php/reviews/recent-reviews/51-american/1420-fish-n-loaves
0 #1 Ricky 2013-04-03 14:06
I believe there was a Fish and Loaves in the same space after Johnson's ? not sure how long they lasted...

Add comment

Security code

Wednesday, 16th April 2014

What is a Flog?

A flog is a food blog with news and reviews of restaurants. Here you'll find all things edible, lots of things to drink, including expert wine advice, and lots of other stuff.

Follow Scott ...

Scott's Newsletter

Please register to the site before you can sign for a list.
No account yet? Register

Flog Advertisement

Featured Links:
Shargaa illustrations
The Best Graphic Design Firm in the Business! (And designer of the Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide logo.)
Cucciaioni Photography
Cucciaioni Photography by Eric Cucciaioni, Official Photographer of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide.