So8 sign

It has been a while since a restaurant has been able to entice me to make the trip to Clermont, but The Southern On 8th finally got me there. And if the level of quality there is any indication of what’s going on in Clermont, I’ll have to go back more often.

As you might glean from the name, Southern on 8th serves a menu of Southern dishes, both traditional and contemporary, and occupies a corner space at West Montrose Street and – you probably can figure this out – 8th Street.



Old Cactus Club ext

Since we talked about Dry January yesterday, today – bar news.

Up in Mills 50 comes word that St. Matthew’s Tavern has been sold to Team Market Group, the prolific bar-isters that also own Mather’s Social Gathering, The Robinson Room, The Wellborn and others. TMG is also known for classy interiors and high quality (its Plantees meatless burger brand just down the block notwithstanding), so it will be interesting to see what it does with St. Matthew’s, which had taken a dive even deeper than your basic dive bar.


WilsonORL TakeItSlow copy

It was fun trying to spot the people on New Year’s Eve who were planning to participate in Dry January – they were the ones ordering doubles all night.

Dry January, of course, is the annual endeavor by people who feel a need to cut down on alcohol consumption by not drinking for the entire month. I’ve said it before: Dry February would be a much better idea because there are three fewer days, but that’s just me.

Drinking less is actually a pretty good idea and it has become something of a year round trend, evidenced by the growing number of zero-proof alternatives offered by brewers, winemakers and even your favorite local bars and restaurants.

The Wilson, the restaurant and bar at the new Meliá hotel in Celebration, is featuring a list of mocktails – also called lie-bations – being served there and at other IGC Hospitality properties. Its contribution to the list is the Taki It Slow, Kokomo, pictured at top, which uses zero-proof rum, banana, passion fruit and lemon.


Fireworks NYE.001

It has always been my intention that this website be available free of charge. I never want to put it behind a paywall (in part due to the fear that no one would pay). And thanks to the many sponsors whose banners you see on these pages, I won’t have to.

As you know, I have a very strict advertising policy (and if you don’t know that, you can read it here). And if you think that’s all just talk, Nicole Spooner of Mpact Orlando Marketing – the sole authorized advertising representative for SJO – can tell you how many potential advertisers are turned down each year simply because they don’t qualify (and how many over the years were not asked to renew when their quality flagged). It’s a promise I made to you when I began this project nearly 14 years ago: The ads you see here are only for businesses I recommend.