Tornatore subs

Starting today, Tornatore’s, the College Park Italian restaurant, is back in the business of serving lunch. The popular cafe had suspended its daytime operations in October during while the restaurant was under renovations. (Read about the redo here.) That followed an announcement last May that students under the age of 18 would no longer be allowed in the restaurant without an adult. It seemed that students from the nearby high school were, according to a post by the restaurant, “...continuously disturbing guests, disrespecting staff, tipping servers 1 cent, and causing general disorder[.]” It also stopped serving pizza by the slice.

The age restriction still applies, owner Denny Tornatore told me in a text message, and a small pie is the closest you can get to a slice. The menu also has an array of Italian entrees from executive chef Jason Wolfe and more lunch items like soup, salad and subs (Tornatore’s sub bread is pictured at top.)

Tornatore’s will serve lunch Wed. through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kudos to another Italian restaurant, Pannullo’s on Park Avenue, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this week. In my Feb 12, 1993, Chow Hound column in the Orlando Sentinel, I wrote about the planned restaurant:


HonolululHarry sign

The menu at Honolulu Harry’s, a Hawaiian bar and restaurant in College Park, includes “a note from the owners,” a rather lengthy, stream-of-consciousy address with a basic theme that we should spend more time taking care of ourselves. It concludes by telling the reader, “You’re good enough.”

If only the restaurant aimed so high.

But maybe that’s the main issue. Maybe Honolulu Harry’s wants to be more of a bar than a restaurant.


Calddagh Scotch Eggs

For this month’s edition of Local Flavor, the recipe column I do in collaboration with The Community Paper, I’m featuring the scotch eggs from Claddagh Cottage in the Curry Ford West District. St. Patrick’s Day is in March, after all, and Claddagh Cottage is one of the area’s most popular Irish pubs.

But why feature something Scottish from an Irish pub? you ask. Well, a scotch egg (notice the lowercase s) is not Scottish (uppercase S). Scotching (an uppercase S only because it’s at the beginning of the sentence, otherwise it would be scotching) is the process of wrapping minced meat around something, in this case an egg. If you were to wrap minced meat or sausage around, say, a strawberry it would be called a scotch strawberry. And it would be a lousy appetizer. And indeed, scotch eggs are very popular appetizers in Irish pubs, at least in American Irish pubs.


Tawa ext

Usually, if I walk into a restaurant during peak lunchtime and find it mostly empty, alarm bells start going off in my head. True, the bells help drown out the voices, but generally it’s a negative thing.

But for some reason when I walked into Tawa Modern Indo-Pak Cuisine in the Dr. Phillips/Restaurant Row district just after noon and found only one other table occupied, I didn’t turn and run.

Maybe it was the pleasant interior, cool and quiet, or the warm smile and welcome from the young woman who bade me to sit wherever I wanted. Or maybe it was that I had limited time and no other options and just wanted to have lunch. The voices in my head told me to stay.

And they were right for a change. The food was delicious and plentiful – even the item ordered from the lunch-specials menu.



Francesco Aiello, the eponymous owner of Francesco’s Ristorante and Pizzeria in Maitland, offers occasional classes in Italian cooking. This weekend, on Sunday, Mar. 5 – and again on Mar. 19 – he’ll focus on the secrets to making a perfect artichoke. For more information and to sign up for the class, call the restaurant at 407-960-5533.

 Hemisphere at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, will host its March wine dinner next Friday (3/10) with a four-course Tour of Italy, with wines from Lombardia and Piemonte. Tickets are $165 per person plus tax and gratuity. Valet parking is complimentary (seriously, it’s super easy to park when you’re going to Hemisphere; just pull up to the Hyatt Regency’s entrance, drop your car off with the valet, then take a few steps to the elevator and rise above all of the airport bustle.)

The evening begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7. Call Hemisphere to reserve your place at the table – 407-825-1234.