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Ragazzi interior

College Parkers seem to be rediscovering lunch.

In recent weeks, we’ve learned of a couple of previously dinner only places that have started offering nooners, including K Restaurant and the Local Bar & Grill. K, of course, has gone through many changes in the past few years since Kevin Fonzo, the chef who leant his initial to the restaurant’s name, sold the business. Last year his replacement chef was fired. The restaurant’s website now lists new owner Chad Phelps as the executive chef and Barry Czekaj as the sous chef. Apparently things have settled down enough to start offering lunch hours again, albeit Tuesdays through Fridays. (The restaurant is open on Mondays but for dinner only.

The Local started out as more bar than grill but over the years had added some food elements. Perhaps it was inspired to start serving lunches by the success of our friends next door at Ragazzi’s Pizza & Restaurant.

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Rusty Spoon interior

The Rusty Spoon, one of the area’s premier restaurants, has been sold by William and Kathleen Blake to Michelle Lagerweij.

The name of the restaurant will change in the coming weeks to Elize. Lagerweij, who is from the Netherlands, owns a restaurant called Cafe Elize in Utrecht. The menu is expected to change along with the name.

Reanna McNamara, who has been a chef at Rusty Spoon for some time, will take over the kitchen and the Blakes will stay on to assist in the transition. William Blake said Friday that he expects them to be around for three to four weeks.

Blake said they had been looking to sell the restaurant for a while and were introduced to Lagerweij by a broker. He said that he and Kathleen were very happy about the sale and were looking forward to having some time off. He added that they plan to stay in the area and will remain involved in the local culinary community.

The Rusty Spoon opened in 2011 and was an immediate critical hit. Kathleen Blake had previously been with Primo by Melissa Kelly and was one of the early proponents of the farm to table movement. Over the years she has established herself as one of the most celebrated and important local chefs.

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Beefy King Foodster

I stopped by Beefy King to present the owners with their 2018 Foodster Award plaque for Best Sandwich. Pictured from left are "Woody" and Shannon Woodrow and Sandee and Roland Smith.

And this is a reminder that voting ends Wed., July 24, for the Best Vietnamese Foodster category. Stop by the Foodster page now and vote.

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sixty vines dallas

  • Do you know one of the worst places to store wine? Florida. Dreadful conditions. They’re not all that great for humans, either. But good wine at least helps make the climate more bearable. So four locals — Adam Chilvers and Erin Allport of Winter Park’s Wine on the Way retail delivery service; Gary Chapdelaine of CRU Custom Wine Cellars; and Dr. Greg Schroeder — have teamed up to open Winter Park Wine Storage. The new business will offer climate-controlled storage lockers at temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees and humidity at 60 to 70 percent. (Sorry, it’s for wine only.) WPWS will have lockers for 10, 20 or 30 cases of wine, with prices of $35, $70 and $140 per month. It isn’t scheduled to open until the end of summer. What should you do with your wines in the meantime? Ice, ice, baby.
  • Sixty Vines, a restaurant that features wine on tap, will take over the vacated Kona Grill space in Winter Park. According to a press release, Sixty Vines features “seasonal cuisine inspired by the wines of Napa Valley,” so you won’t be surprised to learn that it’s based in Texas. In fact it has only two other locations, in Plano and Dallas (that’s a photo of the Dallas restaurant at top), with another planned for Houston. Winter Park’s will be the company’s first outside Texas. It won’t open until at least next spring.

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Soco Patio

It hardly seems possible that Soco Thornton Park is approaching its fifth anniversary. The upscale casual restaurant, whose name means Southern contemporary, opened in fall of 2014 in the space that for many years had been Hue restaurant.

Much has happened with restaurants in the Thornton Park area in those years. Soco opened under the aegis of the then newly formed Thornton Park Restaurant Group, which had incorporated its existing Cityfish a few doors down into the group. In that time, Cityfish closed, TPRG opened and closed Baoery in that space, and Jax Thornton Park has moved in.

Around the corner, the Tijuana Flats became Verde Cantina and is now Jinya Ramen Bar. A block away, Mucho Tequila and Tacos became Muddy Waters and is now Menagerie. That’s a lot of change and turnover in a relatively short amount of time.

But Soco has remained a constant.