Bravo exterior

Norman’s No-Longer-at-the- Ritz-Carlton, is aiming for a late summer opening in its new space at Dellagio Town Center, according to a spokeswoman for the upscale restaurant-

Celebrity chef Norman Van Aken and partners Tom and Kim Wood chose the Dellagio to move the upscale restaurant after it lost its lease with the Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes Resort. (Norman’s former space will become Knife & Spoon, a steak and seafood restaurant headed by Dallas chef John Tesar.)

A press release about the move – which had been announced last summer, including the chosen location – now refers to the “anchor space” at Dellagio, which I suppose sounded more prestigious than the former Bravo! pasta house. (One wonders if the partners had known that Urbain 40 would be closing if they might have chosen that for the relo.)

Plans for the redesign will be released this quarter but will include 7599 square feet indoors and 1750 square feet outdoors. The new restaurant will be nearly double the size of the Ritz restaurant, which was substantial. The location was chosen to take advantage of the convention center’s proximity.


Urbain 40 fountain

Urbain 40, the French-tinged American bistro at the Dellagio Plaza on Restaurant Row, has closed. Its final service was Saturday evening.

The restaurant was opened in late 2015 by local attorney Jaafer Choufani with a little help from his father, who operates the restaurants at the Morocco pavilion at Epcot and Paradiso 37 at what is now Disney Springs. Paradiso just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

When Urbain opened, its chef was Jean-Stephane Poinard, a French native who had previously been cooking at St. Augustine’s Bistro de Leon. Poinard left Urbain within two years and Timothy Keating, who had previously been with Flying Fish Cafe, took over the kitchen as its director of culinary operations. Keating, too, parted with the company last March.

Rashid Choufani told me by phone Monday that he sold the restaurant about a year and a half ago to two of his staff members who had previously worked at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort and in the Moroccan pavilion restaurants. But shortly after the sale, Choufani said, one of the new owners developed health issues that prevented his full participation, and the other partner, he said, wasn’t able to handle the operations himself. A message sent to one of the owners was not immediately responded to.

Despite its designation as an American bistro, Urbain 40 had a decidedly French air, with an elaborate decor reminiscent of a typical Parisian bistro and with a commanding view of the Dellagio’s grand fountain.

When I first reviewed it, in 2015, I said, “Orlando has a new contender for best new restaurant, and the list of Central Florida chefs vying for national recognition and awards is almost certainly to add another name.” Even the good ones struggle.

According to sources, the restaurant space already has another tenant lined up.


Feather logo

The owners of downtown Orlando’s Stubborn Mule and Menagerie Eatery & Bar, as well as RusTeak restaurants in Ocoee and College Park, are opening a new restaurant in the space vacated by Dexter’s of Windermere.

Jonathan Canonaco and Brian Buttner are calling the new restaurant Feather & Quill and it is expected to be a departure from their current brands. It is being described as: “New American restaurant with Southern Italian and Asian Influences. Posh yet comfortable environment with an emphasis on craft cocktails & wine.”

Canonaco and Buttner were not available for comment Friday but a worker at the restaurant, which is at 4757 The Grove in Windermere, said that he thought they were trying to open soon, perhaps next week.

Stubborn Mule and Menagerie in downtown’s Thornton Park are bar-centric restaurants while RusTeak offers casual dining focused on steaks, seafood and burgers.

Feather exterior

Feather interior


Krestaurant interior

K Restaurant and Wine Bar, the Italian trattoria made popular by local celebrity chef Kevin Fonzo, is closing. Its final day will be Saturday, Jan. 25.

Chad Phelps, who bought the business from Fonzo in 2017, said Thursday that he was selling because he has been diagnosed with cancer.

“The prognosis is good,” said Phelps, 61, but he wants to focus on the treatment ahead.

He said that there will be Closing Celebrations next Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24 and 25, which will include bringing back some of the restaurant’s popular dishes. Bottles of wine will be discounted and there will be happy hour pricing on other drinks for the walk-in-only celebration.

Phelps did not know what would happen to the property, an old house converted to a restaurant, but said there were some parties interested in buying the business. The structure has been home to other restaurants, including JoAnn’s Chili Bordello and Nonno, another Italian restaurant owned by Fonzo. Because the K stands for Kevin, Fonzo retained some interest in the business, but he was unavailable for comment Thursday evening. After purchasing the business, Phelps expanded the seating to qualify for a full liquor license.

Phelps said that the 15 members of K’s staff had been told about the closing.


Kathi exterior

It wasn’t even a year ago that I told you about a new restaurant on Curry Ford Road called Forever Naan.

Unfortunate name, that.

It was doing full versions of classic Indian dishes – Butter Chicken, Lamb Curry – and doing them good enough, but for whatever reason it closed.

In its place now is Kathi Rolls, named for a food made popular by street vendors in Kolkata. A kathi roll, sometimes spelled kati though it’s pronounced kha-thee, is essentially a kebab served in a folded paratha. So it’s basically an Indian wrap sandwich. Or a subcontinental taco. As served at this eponymous restaurant, it’s also very good.