Boca practiceStaff on Thursday conducted practice service sessions at Boca, which is set to open Monday, Oct. 27.I had announced earlier that SoHo Hospitality Group of Tampa would be opening three new concepts on the corner of Park Avenue North and East Canton Avenue in Winter Park. That's no longer true. Wait, don't get upset — the bars and restaurants are still going to open. In fact two are already taking customers and the third has set Monday as its opening day.

It's the SoHo part that has changed.

Because of a dispute among its partners involving the group's restaurant CopperFish in Tampa, SoHo Hospitality has divided into two separate entities. According to an article by Laura Reiley of the Tampa Bay Times, Kevin Enderle and Chas Bruck have left CopperFish to their former partner, Gordon Davis, and have formed BE-1. Under that company, Enderle and Bruck will keep Boca Kitchen Bar and Market and Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club in the Tampa area and the three Winter Park businesses: Boca, Atlantic Beer & Oyster and Park Social.

The split settles a dispute that included a lawsuit filed by Howard Park Properties, where CopperFish is located, against SoHo for nonpayment of rent. Howard Park Properties is owned by Gordon Davis. The breakup settled the lawsuit.

All that unpleasantness (there also apparently were fines from the city levied against CopperFish), which was resolved in September, may have been part of the reason that the Winter Park properties have taken so long to finally open. The delays certainly have led to several of the staff, some who told me they had been waiting several months with the promise that the businesses would be open "soon," leaving the company. Among those who departed were Dominic Rice, who was hired to be the chef of the downstairs restaurant that will be called Boca, and a bar manager Park Social, who told me that as many as seven other bartenders and servers left when he did, about 10 days ago. A spokesman for the restaurant group denied that there had been any departures other than Rice.

Atlantic Beer & Oyster opened the weekend of October 11. It occupies a stylized shanty off Park Avenue in the Hidden Gardens. I stopped in the other evening and would have stayed except that there were no other guests at the bar (and I didn't want to sit there alone). There was also an odd smell that I can only describe as the odor that comes from a refrigerator that has sat empty without power and with the door closed for a long time. I hope they figure out how to get rid of that smell because I like the look of the place, and I'd love to try the oysters and a cold beer.

As I was leaving, I was approached by a young man on Park Avenue who handed me a card for Park Social and asked if I would like to go upstairs and check it out. Park Social is supposed to be a speakeasy, so it seemed a little incongruous to have someone hawking for it on the sidewalk, but there you go. (In the future, the young man told me, I would have to call the number on the card that he handed me and get the password, which is to be entered on the keypad of the pay phone next to the door that leads the the stairs to Park Social.)

I went upstairs and sat at the bar and tried one of the retro cocktails and a flatbread from the menu. It would be unfair for me to give a review based on that early visit, so I'll reserve comments for another time.

Downstairs, the staff of Boca was conducting practice service for invited guests. A sign out front said that the restaurant would open on Monday. As I told you previously, Rocky Tarantello, who had collaborated on the original Boca in Tampa, has taken over the Winter Park kitchen as the group's corporate chef.

More to come.


You might have thought that when Orlando based Planet Hollywood got around to building its second PH hotel, to got with the one it has in Las Vegas, Orlando would be the logical location. Because, you know, hometown and all. Plus, we use a lot of hotels around here. Just sayin'.

But no. As hotelchatter.com reports, the city chosen for a new Planet Hollywood hotel is Utorda Beach in lovely Goa, India. According to the article, the hotel will feature "115 rooms, 15 luxury tents, spa, and multiple swimming pools."

I'm sure it will have all of the amenities that...


Luxury tents?

I asked a Planet Hollywood spokeswoman what that means and she said she didn't know but plans to find out. I'll pass the info along to you. In the meantime, start planning your Goan getaway.


Daily Chew Richie

Come join me for a chew or two.

Beginning today I'll be hosting a new segment on WFTV-Channel 9 called The Daily Chew with Scott Joseph. Each week I'll invite a chef to join me in the kitchen to prepare one of his or her favorite dishes, with tips and techniques you can use to try the recipe at home. The premiere edition has Greg Richie of Soco Restaurant in Thornton Park demonstating that restaurant's Chicken-fried New York Strip. Upcoming episodes feature Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon, Kevin Fonzo of K, and David Ramirez of David Ramirez Chocolates.

The segments air on Thursdays between 12:45 and 1 p.m. and replay Fridays at 8:20 a.m. on sister station WRDQ-Channel 27. You can also find them online at icFlorida.com, where you can  download the recipes, as well. 

We've already got several episodes "in the can," as we say in this business called show, although I'd prefer fresh to canned. I'm thrilled to be working with the professionals at WFTV -- they don't do things halfway -- and I appreciate the support of sponsors Southeast Steel and Teco People's Gas. And wait until you see the beautiful kitchen facility we're taping in at the Viking showroom in Winter Park. (Though I'm a little concerned that Todd Ulrich might show up for a suprise kitchen inspection in an upcoming segment.)

Daily chew outtakeOuttake: Richie falls for the old "let me just make sure your microphone cord is tucked in" ploy.


Kitchen House Exterior copy

With the announcement of a $250,000 gift from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, students of Orlando Junior Academy's Edible Education Experience broke ground Wednesday morning on the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden on King Street across from the school in the College Park neighborhood.

Brian Kish, president of the New Orleans based organization, was on hand for the Wednesday morning ceremony. "The Emeril Lasse Foundation is very excited to be here to partner with Orlando Junior Academy and the Edible Education Experience to help reconnect students back to the source of their food," Kish said, "to understand where their food comes from and maybe more importantly the nutrition behind it."