Normans exterior

What’s going on with valet parking?

Reports have come in that two cars were stolen from the valet parking station at the recently-opened Norman’s at Dellagio Town Center on Restaurant Row Friday evening. The cars are said to be a Rolls Royce and a BMW, so at least the thieves aim big. Exact details from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were not immediately available, but a spokesman at Norman’s confirmed Saturday that two incident reports were filed.

This follows another theft two weeks ago at Ava Mediterragean restaurant in Winter Park where a Mercedes G-class wagon was also stolen after parking with the valet.

Neither restaurant provides its own valet service – Norman’s parking is through the Dellagio Town Center and Ava uses a third party. A person reached at Dellagio’s offices Saturday was not aware of the thefts and did not know details of the parking service. A spokesman for Riviera Dining Group in Miami, which operates Ava, did not know the name of the valet company that restaurant uses.

In a third recent incident, a prominent Orlando resident who requested anonymity said that the valet parking attendant at a local luxury resort lost the key to his car. He had to have the car towed to the dealer to get a replacement key.

It all seems a little too coincidental, no?


F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen

The Curry Ford West District F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen is set to reopen, perhaps as soon as June 12, The freestanding, newly constructed building sits on the corner of Curry Ford Road and Primrose Drive. It replaces the original FDWIK that was near the corner of Bumby Avenue and was closed a little over a year ago because the block it was on was scheduled for imminent redevelopment. Apparently imminent doesn’t mean within a year – nothing has happened on the site so far.

When the relocation was announced, an official with F&D said that when the restaurant reopened it would likely lose the word Italian from the name. As you can see from the photo above, that didn’t happen.


Kabooki Sushi

On Monday, June 5, Henry Moso will find out if he becomes the first Central Floridian to win the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award. He has already made history as the first local chef in the awards’ three-decade history to advance to the final voting round.

Moso, whose full surname is Phimmoso, is the owner and itamae of Kabooki Sushi, the Michelin-recommended restaurant with locations on East Colonial Drive and Restaurant Row. I had visited the original location, oddly situated across from Fashion Square Mall, several years ago and more recently for a takeout review during the pandemic. But I hadn’t been to Kabooki Sand Lake, which is actually on Turkey Lake Road in the Bay HIll Plaza, so I stopped in for dinner recently to gauge Moso’s chances of taking the Beard Award home.

Those chances are good, and not just because the organization’s ethics committee recently disqualified one of Moso’s fellow nominee. His food is creative, of unquestionable high quality and exactingly presented.



GLO banner

Grande Lakes Orlando, the 500-acre luxury resort that is home to the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels – and their top-of-the-line restaurants – is celebrating its 20th anniversary with GLO Summer NIghts all season long.

Through Labor Day, the resort will feature fireworks every Saturday (Fridays, too, on holiday weekends), so if you’re going out to experience Knife & Spoon’s special four-course menu in celebration of its Michelin star rating, make your reservation for a Saturday to end the evening with a big bang. In addition to the fireworks, the evening will include stilt walkers, fire dancers (would love to see those two combined), live music and a dessert trolley. GLO Summer Nights are 7 to 10 p.m.


Bigfin22 ext

Big Fin Seafood, the elaborate restaurant at Dellagio Town Center on Restaurant Row, has been sold. Philippe Villain, who also owns Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe and a new brand called Little Fin in the Villages, said he sold Big Fin last week to Estein USA, an investment company located on Apopka Vineland Road in Orlando.

In a phone call Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman for Estein said Big Fin will continue to operate the same with the current front- and back-of-house staff in place. Estein also owns and operates the private London House next door at Dellagio.