This article has been modified to clarify previous ownership of Luma and Prato.
Park Lights Hospitality Group will open Luke’s Kitchen and Bar in Maitland later this year in the space that was briefly occupied by BlackFin seafood restaurant.
You may not have heard of Park Lights Hospitality Group but you already know two of its restaurants: Luma on Park and Prato, both on Park Avenue in Winter Park. The principals of Park Lights include the chef and manager of those restaurants, Brandon McGlamery and Tim Noelke, and Austin Tate. Luma and Prato had previously been under the umbrella of associated with Concentrics Restaurants out of Atlanta, though they've been independently owned since 2010. Brian France of NASCAR, who has been involved with the Winter Park restaurants from the beginning, remains associated with them and with Luke’s, but, according to a publicist, is in more of a silent partner role.
Luke’s, according to a release, will offer “classic American cuisine,” with a menu of soups and sandwiches and a raw bar with oysters and ceviche (that all-American dish). Pork belly and deviled eggs, prime rib and roast chicken are also part of the menu.
There’s no word on who Luke is.
The restaurant’s space is being redesigned by the Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry, which also did Prato and Slate on Orlando’s Restaurant Row. (Slate is another Concentrics brand and apparently will remain so.) The restaurant was originally a Steak and Ale and was home to SoNapa before BlackFin.
According to the spokeswoman, the group is aiming for a late fall, early winter opening for Luke’s, which doesn’t leave them much time.
It will be interesting to see how a third restaurant stretches the talent resources from the other two restaurants. Prato has consistently produced high-quality food and solid service in a casually comfortable atmosphere. But ever since it opened, the more upscale Luma has flagged a bit. My last two dining experiences there have made me question whether I should still recommend it.