Hourglass map

This article has been updated with information from the developer.

There are big plans in the works for the Hourglass District, with new restaurants, markets and coffee shops.

What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Hourglass District? Neither have I, and I live about three blocks from it. It’s at the intersection of Curry Ford Road and Bumby Avenue and the name, apparently, comes from a lake, which is not at that intersection. I don’t think it can even be seen from there.

It should be mentioned that Hourglass District is not the official name of that district. That would be Curry Ford West, another name I’ve never heard of.

TR dinner party menu

When we first started planning our Dinner Party at TR Fire Grill, back at the beginning of the year, and settled on May 11 for the date, we thought, “Tra la, it’s May, we’ll just take over the patio.”

The temperature on that Thursday was in the 90s before noon. The patio wasn’t going to work. And TRFG doesn’t have a private indoor space. Where were we going to seat 34 people?

TR dinner party table

But the TRFG crew went into action and essentially turned the front dining space into a banquet room just for us, with a semicircular table arrangement directly across from the kitchen, where we had a good view of chef and managing partner Jared Campbell and his crew as they prepared the meal. It was just right.

Mary sidebar

Pepe’s Cantina, the Hannibal Square restaurant and winner of the 2017 Best Tex-Mex Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants, is opening a second location in downtown Orlando on Church Street in the space that most recently was Mary’s Side Bar Cafe. Pepe’s owner Stuart Kirban said by phone Monday that he is hoping to have the new restaurant up and running in about three weeks.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” Kirban said. “That area has been revitalized. I think there’s going to be a lot of activity down there.”

The new Pepe’s will have the same menu as the Winter Park location, but Kirban expects that the clientele might be a bit different. “Younger single people, maybe,” he said. “We have a lot of families in Winter Park.”

Of course, the other news in this story is that Mary’s Side Bar Cafe has closed there. That was of course the venture from the owners of the Hamburger Mary’s franchise next door that was originally meant to offer “something with a Mary’s flair,” according to co-owner John Paonessa, but with a different menu.

Rumaku interior

I was up Oviedo way the other day so I decided to stop in a try Rumaku, a quick-serve sushi joint that opened recently.

Let’s talk about how important first impressions are. They’re very important. Any questions?

I bring it up because the second that I walked through the front door, I was met with two divergent impressions. The first was from the pleasant young man behind the counter who greeted me warmly. It may just have been that he was happy to see anyone given that there were no other customers in the small storefront space at the time, which was still during the lunch hour.

The other impression hit me almost as immediately as the welcome. It was a rather putrid smell that permeated the air. I couldn’t quite place it, but it was a definite assault on the nostrils.

Gentle diner, I submit to you that unpleasant smells in any restaurant should never be part of the ambience. But in a sushi restaurant such aromas are especially unwelcome.