FD dining

The owners of F&D Kitchen (above) and F&D Cantina in Lake Mary are the new owners of the just-closed Peppino's Organic Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria on Curry Ford Road in Orlando. The space is currently under renovations and will reopen this summer as F&D Italian Wood-fired Kitchen.

According to Tim Barber, who owns the concept with Charly Robinson and Neil and Glorian Leach, they are "pretty much blowing up the inside" and redoing the outside seating areas, as well. He said they would be bringing in a better quality pizza oven and will specialize in Neapolitan pizzas.

Peppino's closed after being open less than six months because the owner was diagnosed with cancer and was forced to sell, according to Hourglass developer Giovanni Fernandez.

Fernandez said that both Foxtail Coffee and Leguminati Vegan Food will open in the district in July. It was also learned that the small storefront church on Curry Ford Road just east of Bumby Avenue would be moving. The church's proximity caused issues for Claddagh Cottage when it applied for its alcohol license and prevented Cilantro's, a taco restaurant on Bumby, from being able to offer beer and wine altogether.

Peppinos Interior

Updated with information from the developer

Peppino's Organic Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, one of the first new businesses to open in the newly (but still unofficially) designated Hourglass District, is closed. It opened fewer than six months ago, listing Nov. 29, 2017, as its starting date on its Facebook page.

Nothing on that page gives reference to the current status, but sources say that the original owner has sold the restaurant and the new owners are remodeling with plans to reopen in August. The phone number listed for Peppino's has been disconnected.

The restaurant was greeted with anticipation by residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. The building, at 2420 Curry Ford Road, has been home for numerous short-term restaurants over the years. It was hoped that a pizzeria would be the right concept.

But despite some remodeling and the addition of outdoor patio space, Peppino's struggled to find a loyal base, due in no small part to poor service. My own observations in my review of the restaurant noted a person who appeared to be the owner and his seemingly disaffected attitude toward his customers.

No word yet on who the new owners might be. The district also is home to a new taco restaurant, Cilantro's, and the long-awaited return of Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub, directly across the street.

It was when I was visiting Claddagh on a recent Saturday evening, shortly after 8 p.m., that I noted no cars in Peppino's lot, though the restaurant was still open at the time. That says something.

More when more is available.

Update: According to developer Giovanni Fernandez, the owner of Peppino's was forced to close after he was diagnosed with cancer. more information about the new owners here.

A roundup of the week's restaurant reviews and news from Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide. This week reviews of 1803 Pizza/Kitchen and Hong Kong Alley's Chinese Kitchen plus a preview of Wine Bar George.