EddieVs exterior

I love all the mom and pop restaurants, the little eateries serving sandwiches, barbecue, comfort foods and myriad cuisines of other countries and cultures.

But sometimes you want something a little more upscale, a special occasion splurge. So the other day I said to my Covid companion, “Let’s do Eddie V’s tonight.” It was a welcomed suggestion.

Eddie V’s, of course, is the upscale Darden brand on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row specializing in seafood. Fish is a tough thing to do for off-premises dining, but if anyone could pull it off I was sure Eddie V’s could.


Festival of arts 2021Matt Stroshane, Walt Disney World

Epcot’s latest “Taste of” event is International Festival of the Arts, now underway through Feb. 22.

As in previous, noncrisis years, the International Festival of the Arts celebrates all things artistic, whether they be on a canvas, a stage or a plate.

The “Taste of” preceder is what Epcotians are appending to all festivals while the world is on fire. You’d think that this festival would be best suited for these times because traditionally artists have to suffer for their works.


Greektogo exterior

A restaurant with a name like Greek To Go should be uniquely suited to serving during these times of takeout and delivery. That’s what initially attracted me to the little Maitland eatery recently.

And I was drawn in by the menu of Mediterranean specialties like moussaka, falafel and of course Philly cheesesteak. Hmmm, OK.

I was also delighted that the restaurant had a user-friendly ordering portal in its website. (The link is only on the front page so if you go right to the menu link you’ll miss the online ordering link.)

And it also allows ine to order in advance, add a tip and pay for the whole shebang right there. (Shebang is a Greek word, right?) I’ll often order for a pickup time later, but since was driving from downtown Orlando, I accepted the quoted time of 20 minutes for an immediate fetch and pulled into the small parking lot just 30 minutes after the order went through. Twenty minutes after that I left with my food. Oh well.


Third Party apps.001

The state of Massachusetts Wednesday passed an economic development bill that among other things will help that state’s struggling restaurants through stimulus grants and a 15 percent cap on the fees that third-party delivery entities can charge during the pandemic.

Details of the grants, including whether they will have to be paid back, are still grainy. But the issue involving the delivery fee cap should have immediate benefits.

Third-party delivery apps – UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub and others – typically charge a 30 percent fee of the restaurant’s order, leaving the restaurant with a crumb of profit, if there’s any profit at all.

Greg Granda, co-owner of Shakers American Cafe in College Park, which makes its menu available for delivery through UberEats, explained: “The customer orders off the UberEats app and whatever the order comes to, I will get that total minus the 30 percent. The customer pays the total with tax, plus a delivery fee, service charge and tip, so Uber[Eats] makes out on both ends.”


Toby Poolside

I know you’ve been itching to get out. So have your pets.

So, many of the restaurants at the Promenade at Sunset Walk are participating in Pets on the Promenade on Sunday, Jan. 17, from noon to 3 p.m.

If you haven’t been to the Promenade, you should know that most of the restaurants there – and there are many – have outdoor dining with ample spacing, which makes it a safer atmosphere and ideal for doggie dining. (Although Pets on the Promenade doesn’t specify genus, we’ll assume they’re referring to canis.)

There’s no charge to attend, and most of the restaurants will have Yappy Hour pricing. (Another clue: pretty sure only dogs yap; could be wrong.)

You can also have a pet or family portrait taken by a professional photographer, with packages starting at $25, with Valentine’s Day backgrounds available – plan ahead!

There are bound to be some treats around (I hear Bahama Buck’s Original Shaved Ice Company will have Snow Balls for the dogs, which might be a cruel joke if your little pup has been neutered) and there will be an appearance by A Golden Named Kevin, which, it probably won’t surprise you to hear, is a golden (retriever) whose name is Kevin. (Pictured above is a Doodle Named Toby.) Plus live music by Jason Link on the Prom’s outdoor stage. It would be an added bonus if Kevin howls along.

More details on the Promenade at Sunset Walk’s website. And here is a list of the participating restaurants: