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TAVERN DOORS 002

Hey, remember when Doc’s Streetside Grille closed? Well, do you even remember Doc’s?

If so, do you remember when plans were announced that the group of buildings where Doc’s was located would be rehabbed into a boutique hotel with a ground-floor restaurant called Delaney’s Tavern, all to open in 12 to 14 months?

You’re forgiven if you don’t recall any of that because I first told you about it at the beginning of 2016.

But my how time flies, and the hotel and restaurant are now poised to open, perhaps — just perhaps — around Labor Day. (Yes, this year.)

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Matchbook cordon frontMatchbook cordon back

Matchbook Memories is an occasional series or restaurant remembrances based on matchbooks picked up at host stands from around the world, and especially Central Florida.

The building that now houses Ravenous Pig, and before that its sister restaurant Cask & Larder, for many years was home to what many considered to be one of the area’s swankiest restaurants: Le Cordon Bleu.

It was owned by Swiss-trained chef George Vogelbacher and his wife, Monique, who ran the front of the house. Its menu, of course, was classic French. It seems odd now but when I first arrived in Orlando in the late eighties, there were few restaurants specializing in French cuisine. By that time, Le Cordon Bleu, which predated the now-defunct local chapter of the cooking school with the same name, had been around for a couple of decades, since 1968.

I first reviewed the restaurant in early 1989, during my first year at the Sentinel as I made my way around to check out the longtime local favorites. My review has been lost to the electronic gods who oversee newspaper archives, but I remember my assessment was less than a rave. More than the food, I took issue with the decor, which I recall featured a lot of red-flocked wallpaper. I seem to remember having a discussion with my editor about whether or not I could use the word whorehouse. I could not. I might have gotten the words French cathouse past the copy desk.

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Bravo exterior

The owners of Norman’s, the elegant restaurant in its final days as a tenant at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, announced Saturday evening that it will relocate to Restaurant Row. The Norman Van Aken headed concept will move into the space formerly occupied by Bravo! Cucina Italiano at the Dellagio Plaza.

The announcement was made at a “Movin’ on Out” dinner at Norman’s that was prepared by visiting and local celebrity chefs. According to an attendee of the dinner, partner Thomas Wood announced the move and said, "It's going to be the most extravagant restaurant in Orlando because we have something to prove.”

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lighthouse series

  • Lighthouse Central Floria and Lighthouse Works will be partnering with local restaurants and beverage outlets to host the Lighthouse Sensory Series of blindfold tastings. The first is Wed., Aug. 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Digress Wine in College Park with a multi-flight wine tasting. Then on Aug. 21, Soco Thornton Park will offer a blindfold tasting of bourbons. The series is designed to offer a look, if you will, into Lighthouse’s mission to aid children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. A portion of the proceeds from the tastings will benefit Lighthouse. Click here for more details on the Sensory Series and to purchase tickets.
  • Chicken Guy!, the Disney Springs quick-serve collaboration between Guy Fieri and Robert Earl, was recognized at The Shop! Association Annual Store Design Awards at the GlobalShop Conference in Chicago. Acutally, it was the restaurant’s designer, Architecture Plus International, Inc., that won the Gold Fast Casual Restaurant + Graphics award for “the use of space and materials, and quality of concept execution.” Or maybe that should be execution!

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Christners sc steak and mush

Scott Joseph’s Supper Club convened recently at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster for a sold-out evening of fine food, stellar service and exceptional wines from Chalk Hill Estate.

Supper Clubbers were greeted by Alice Christner, who curated the seating chart for the tables in our private dining room. Christner was giddy about leaving the following day on a vacation — the first that she and her husband, David, had taken, she said, since they joined David’s mother, Carol, in running the restaurant following Russ Christner’s death in 2005. (Those of you who are thinking about owning a restaurant, take note of the committment.)