Hunger Street sign

There’s brisket at 2103 W. Fairbanks Ave. again.

That Winter Park address, you’ll recall, was the site of the first 4 Rivers Smokehouse, before it outgrew the space and moved and multiplied.

In January of 2013, B&B Junction, a burger concept, moved in, and while it had its share of loyal fans, they apparently weren’t enough to sustain it. B&B closed late last year. Now it’s the home of Hunger Street Tacos.

Speaking of loyal fans, something else has returned to the corner of Fairbanks and Formosa Avenues: parking problems and teed off neighbors. As was the case when 4 Rivers had lines out the door, Hunger Street Tacos, too, is causing taco fanatics to cruise the surrounding blocks in search of parking, much to the consternation of the neighbors. (Printed signs on telephone poles and the windows of the restaurant admonish customers to not park in the surrounding streets, but what else are they to do?)

BalluffBryce Balluff, a local chef and one of the early leaders of the food truck scene, died February 21. He was 35. 

Balluff was the original owner of Fork in the Road food truck, and the food that he was serving helped those who couldn’t quite grasp what the food truck craze was all about to “get it.” Going beyond burgers and street food, he served more upscale items like foie gras and pork belly. In 2013 he provided the food for one of our Supper Club events, serving from the truck behind the warehouse setting of Wine on the Way.

In 2014 he was the opening chef and co-owner of Southern Moon Smokehouse on Curry Ford Road, but after only a few months, he left the business following a dispute with his partners. His online resume indicates he was working with Frog Song Organic Farm. He was also doing occasional cooking demonstrations with Orlando appliance dealer Southeast Steel.

Bryce William Balluff was born July 23, 1981. He received his training at French Culinary Institute, and he listed chef de partie at New York’s popular Per Se among his past experience. “Being one of only five chosen for the position out of forty,” Balluff wrote in his Linkedin profile, “I came to Per Se a cook. I left as a chef.”

Locally, he worked at Luma on Park, Puff ’n Stuff Catering, Funky Monkey Wine Company and Draft Global Beer Lounge. On Facebook, he was known for his quips and offbeat humor. “I have the heart of a champion. Unfortunately, I also have the liver of a quarterfinalist…” was a post from August.

But as a former employer posted on Facebook after Balluff’s death was announced: “This business is so brutal we have to all stick together. The stress is so bad sometimes that people cannot handle the extreme pressure we are all under.”

Balluff’s survivors include his wife, Kerri Finkel; children, D;Artagnan (Tanner) and Aubry; parents, Paula and Paul Balluff; and brother, Daryl.

Services were held Sunday. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions can be made to the D’Artagnan Balluff College Fund, 311 Needles Trail, Longwood Florida, 32779.

Ruby baba

Baba's Orlando Mediterranean Grill, which we reviewed here just one year ago last week, is no longer falafeling  downtown diners, but it hasn't exactly gone away.

Instead, it has changed its name to Ruby's Mediterranean Grill. The change, apparently, occurred in December. The sign on the building still says BaBa's, but a sandwich board on the sidewalk reads Ruby's, as do the embroidered shirts the staff were wearing recently. They were doing a brisk lunch business so it wasn't convenient to chat them up about the change.

The corner space was previously known as WhiteWood Mediterranean Grill. 

Ruby's -- or whatever it might be called by the time you read this -- is at 1 S. Orange Ave., Orlando.

OldCuban bar

There’s a new Old Cuban Cafe. It’s similar to the old Old Cuban Cafe, though I admit I haven’t been to the oldest Old Cuban Cafe.

The newest is on Colonial Drive, east of Alafaya Trail, in eastern Orlando. It’s much bigger than the one I visited on North Goldenrod Road four years ago (there’s another location on South Goldenrod; I don’t know which is the older Cuban). This is the same strip mall where Kreyol Kafe & Bakery is located.

Nagoya sashimi

Nagoya Sushi is the winner of the 2017 Foodster Award for Best Sushi.

Second place goes to Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi on Restaurant Row and third place to Baldwin Park’s Seito Sushi.

Nagoya has two locations: 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando; and 5661 Red Bug Lake Road, Winter Springs.

In casting her vote, Gabriella Serralles said: “Nagoya sushi has the tastiest, most beautifully prepared sushi and sashimi I've ever had, both in Orlando, and anywhere else in the world! They also boast an amazing non-sushi menu, and the friendliest most helpful staff ever. They make coming back time and time again a real treat.”