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Old Jailhouse extrior

Today we’re visiting the Old Jailhouse in Sanford, the area’s current hotbed of new and innovative restaurants and craft bars. But before we get started with the review, I want to make this pledge: I will not be making any puns about incarceration, and the only references to sentences will be the ones written here. Besides, most of the puns have already been made by the restaurant itself (see staff t-shirts that read “I serve more than thyme”).

Although I must say I’m surprised that, given the current craze for the Hawaiian dish of raw chopped fish, there isn’t an item on the menu called Pokey. And how could the bar not have a drink called the Hoosegow Hooch?

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David Ramirez chocolates david

When David Ramirez started his business making chocolates and other confections, he kept his day job as master pastry chef at Rosen Shingle Creek, where he was on the opening staff. It was 2011 when he and his then wife, Nicole, opened Cocoa Latte Chocolate Shop & Coffee Bar, and he did it with the blessing of his boss Harris Rosen. “As an entrepreneur himself,” Ramirez said of Rosen, “he totally understood what I wanted to do.”

His business, which changed its name to David Ramirez Chocolates in early 2012, has grown with each year. In 2017, they took on more space in the industrial complex in south Orlando, essentially tripling in size. What started as a two-person operation now employs between 25 and 30 people, and the volume the kitchen puts out has increased. Ramirez decided his staff required more of his attention. “They need to have the chef around,” he said.

So after 13 years as the pastry chef at Shingle Creek, Ramirez recently left.

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Slapfish interior 1

The stated goal of Slapfish, a seafood franchise with a location in Waterford Lakes, is an admirable one: to get people to eat more seafood. I suppose if you owned a pizza franchise you’d likely set a goal to get people to eat more pizza.

Shortly after stating Slapfish’s goal in a statement on the website, the founder, whose name cannot be easily read in his signature (it’s Andrew Gruel), also says that people are disinclined to eat more fish because of “sensationalism in the media about contaminated seafood” with “mercury and this and that.” So, marketing apparently isn’t one of Andy’s fortes.

Further evidence: A logo that looks like a bloodied hand that has just done some serious spanking.

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BarniesSe7Bitesimage

  • Trina Gregory-Propst has certainly been busy lately. In addition to her popular Se7enbites, a bakery that could also qualify as a password because it has at least 8 characters, one capital letter and one numeral, she and her wife, Va, recently opened Sette in Ivanhoe Village. And now, in collaboration with Barnie’s Coffee & Tea, she’s created the Se7en Bites Special Blend coffee. Gregory-Propst, shown at top with Barnie’s chief sales & marketing officer, Scott Uguccioni, said in a statement announcing the release, ““I knew if the original Orlando coffee company was willing to make a special blend just for us, then we’ve made it.” The Se7en Bites Special Blend was created by Dustin Finch, Barnie’s director of coffee programing, a position that really exists. It will be available freshly brewed and by the pound at the bakery.
  • You know what goes with coffee? Pie. And Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, the 25th National Pie Championships are taking place at the Renaissance Orlando SeaWorld. Last year’s competition had 714 pies baked by 71 piesters. The event is sponsored by the American Pie Council, an organization that really exists.
  • Orlando Business Journal is reporting that Publix is considering putting in a pleasurable grocery store in the Church Street train depot, which was most recently occupied, poorly, by Ferg’s Depot. If this happens, you can expect a Lucky’s Market to open across the way in the space held briefly, and just as poorly, by California Tortilla.