Lake Buena Vista Rendering1 copy

  • Portillo’s, a Chicago-based hot dogger, is coming to Lake Buena Vista. The company made the announcement in a press released that proclaimed, “The most magical place on Earth is coming to the Orlando area...” Because what’s more magical than wieners?
  • Central Florida Veg Fest will be Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Orlando Festival Park. The vegan-centric event is free and will have vendors and demonstrations (friendly demonstrations, not the protest kind). I wonder if they’ll have a vegan hot dog, because that would be really magical.
  • Crepe Delicious, which describes itself as “Canada’s largest mall-based creperie,” has opened at 55 W. Church St., which is not a mall. But it’s also not Canada. And does Canada have a larger creperie that is not mall based?
  • Damning the torpedos sinking other microbreweries, Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company of DeLand is moving full speed ahead with plans to take over the former Panera Bread in the EO Inn across from Lake Eola. It will brew beers available only in that location, and it will partner with an as yet unnamed food vendor to use the kitchen space. I hope they have better luck with that than Orange County Brewers did in downtown Orlando.


Chefstable bucket

I just spent a perfectly lovely evening at an old favorite I hadn’t visited in too long a time, Chef’s Table at the Edgewater.

Owners Kevin and Laurie Tarter were ahead of the Winter Garden renaissance when they opened their intimate restaurant in the historic Edgewater Hotel there in May of 2008. Eleven years later, the West Orange County hamlet is a hopping with good restaurants and evening entertainment. And the Tarters have expanded their domain with the addition of the Tasting Room, which occupies a space in front of the Chef’s Table’s dining room, and, earlier this year, the acquisition of the Attic Door.

But the Chef’s Table remains the jewel, a leisurely evening of three courses, with wine pairings if you like, served by a friendly and attentive staff.


tako cheena interior

I can’t remember any restaurant taking as much time between announcing it would be moving into a new space and the actual move as Tako Cheena did. It was in July of 2015 that I first told you the popular fusion concept would take over the former Forbidden City Chinese restaurant space just a few doors away from its original Mills 50 location. Even the recently opened Delaney’s Tavern only took three years, and it included building a boutique hotel on top of the restaurant.

I suppose Kobe Japanese Steak House is still the “any minute now” champion – it has entered its second decade with a sign on the property where Barney’s Steak & Seafood once stood announcing that it is “coming soon.”

But anyway, Tako Cheena.


University Shoppes

Mamak, the popular Asian Street Food restaurant in the Mills 50 district, will open a location near UCF in either December or early January. The restaurant will take over a space in the University Shoppes that had been a Pei Wei Asian Diner.

The new Mamak will operate mainly as a quick serve restaurant, with customers ordering at the counter and food delivered to tables when ready, according to someone at the downtown Mamak who described the experience as similar to Domu Chibi in Waterford Lakes.

Mamak, which opened almost five years ago, is often compared to Hawkers in that both offer dishes typically sold on the streets throughout Asia. When Mamak first opened, it became a hit, with locals immediately choosing sides between the two brands.

The locally owned Hawkers, of course, has grown into a multi-state chain. Perhaps this second location is an early sign of bigger things for Mamak.


Felipe door

Felipe Rodriguez Tequila House, the Tex-Mex restaurant in Thornton Park, closed Sunday after just over five months in operation. In addition, Dexter’s of Thornton Park is expected to be sold to new buyers this week, according to someone with that restaurant.

Both businesses are owned by the same group of investors and both are advertisers on SJO.

A deal is said to have been reached with a buyer for the Felipe space. No details have been released, but it will almost certainly not continue as Felipe Rodriguez, which was named for a fictitious Mexican tequila maker.