Lukes Logo copyThis 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.

Jack in the Park logo

The 10th annual Jack in the Park fundraiser for Special Olympics Florida is Saturday, Oct. 15, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center, 1050 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park.

The event features food and wine from local restaurants in a walkabout setting with live music. In addition, there is a silent auction and a blackjack tournament (that’s the Jack in the name).

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased at this link. Type in MPACT for a discount.

I was pleased to be the honorary chair of the event last year, and I can heartily recommend that you attend. The money goes to a great cause, and the food and drinks are worth the price alone.

Among the restaurants that will be attending are flog favorites The Whiskey, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Baoery, Soco, The Tap Room at Dubsdread, Taverna Opa, and Tapa Toro.

Homecoming interior

If it had been a regular night, I might have dinged the staff at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming for sloppy service. The bar, for example, was strewn with the plates and glasses of previous diners, and we had to ask for a bar rag so we could wipe down the counter in front of us ourselves.

But it wasn’t a regular night. It was Friday, after Hurricane Matthew had blown through and left the area. Its impact was less than we had feared, but most restaurants had made the decision — a wise one, I thought — to suspend service until Saturday. That’s an expensive choice to make. Any time a restaurant is closed it’s not making money. But restaurants run on people, and entreating their staffs to stay home and out of harms way was the right thing to do.

I also thought it was the right thing that some restaurants scrambled to open for dinner Friday.

Homecoming Kitchen was one that did. But because the staff had originally been told not to report to work until at least Saturday — who knew if even then there would be power, supplies, a building left standing? — those who came to work did so on a voluntary basis. And because many of the businesses at Disney Springs remained shuttered, those that were open were slammed. The wait for a two-top, I was told at the host stand, would be three and a half to four hours.

Party16 wide

Party for the Senses, the Saturday night fiestas that take place during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, has added some themed nights this year. This past weekend the Party focused on Walt Disney World Resort’s newest collection of restaurants: the dining venues of Disney Springs. I was invited to attend the event.

Using the Springs’ collection of restaurant was a brilliant idea. The people who planned Disney Springs had already gone to great lengths to select a diverse collection of cuisines and food styles. And that’s just the sort of variety you want for an event like this.

And the Parties, while always fun and interesting, had started to become a little predictable over the past few years. So it was nice to see some changes.

One notable difference from the last several years was the featured entertainment. The performers of La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil show, had been a mainstay for a while. This year there was La ne Nouba pas. Instead, the performers from Raglan Road and other venues took to the stage with their pulse-racing dancing, fiddling and singing. (The change, I was told, was to use entertainment that went with the evening’s theme of Disney Springs venues, never mind that La Nouba is also at Disney Springs.)

Something else was missing at this year’s Party on Saturday: a logo on the napkins. For many years, Vanity Fair has been a major sponsor of the entire festival, providing millions of napkins and plates throughout the dozens of marketplaces as well as at the Party for the Senses.

Party16 morimoto

This year, each station at PftS had plain, white, unlogo’d napkins. Most also had real, non-paper plates and actual metalware utensils, which was nice, especially considering that most attendees had paid upwards of $169 per person (plus park admission) to attend. I’m not sure why Vanity Fair was absent — or that another sponsor hadn’t been secured — but given that Vanity Fair is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, maybe it’s just one more sponsorship the company’s owners decided to drop this year.

One other observation: Although several of the Disney Springs restaurants have celebrity chefs attached to them, only one — Art Smith — was on hand. In one respect, that wasn’t surprising. Most of the celebrity chefs have licensed their names and brands and are not frequently at the restaurants that bear their names. Still, Party for the Senses has traditionally featured star chefs who had participated in events during the previous week, so it was a bit startling. (Perhaps some had been there earlier in the week but bailed in advance of Hurricane Matthew?)

Tony AdamsTony Adams, who was an early participant of Central Florida's burgeoning food truck scene, will be loading a moving truck and heading to Sausalito, Calif. Adams announced on his Facebook page that he has accepted the position of head chef of the cooking school at Cavallo Point, a resort next to the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. The resort's cooking school was rated the top hotel cooking school by He said in his post that he will be setting curriculum and teaching cooking techniques to hotel guests.

Adams was the owner of Big Wheel Mobile Food Truck and Big Wheel Provisions. His approach to presenting high-quality dishes in a food truck setting helped demonstrate to a dining public still unfamiliar with the food truck movement that it was about more than hot dogs and fast food.

After plans to open a brick and mortar restaurant fell through several years ago, Adams left the area for other chef jobs. He will be moving to California from Nantucket, Mass.