Polskis sign

I set out this morning to write my review of Biscuits, a relatively new restaurant in Longwood that was opened by the owners of Polonia, the Polish restaurant that closed recently.

Instead of my review, I have to tell you that Biscuits is no more. The restaurant is still open, but place a call there -- as I just did to get some background information for the review -- and the phone will be answered, "Polski's Biscuits Restaurant."

The good news in all of this is that Polonia is returning, but under a different name (because of a bankruptcy filing, the name could not be reused). Rob Plummer, who owns the restaurant with Marek Andruniow, told me that they opened Biscuits in a former Dan's Family Restaurant space in a strip mall behind Polonia in December. Biscuits, which she described as an American diner, didn't do too well, so they combined the two restaurants into Biscuits' space. Polonia closed in April.

The Biscuits sign is still out front, but Polski's Polish Restaurant will soon replace it, said Plummer.

Chiantis sign

Updated with information about Ono Poke below.

Chianti's Pizza & Pasta, which opened at Seminole Towne Center in 2015, will take over the former Carmela's of Brooklyn space in Longwood Village Shopping Center. Chianti's president and CEO, Ian Schneider, said that construction is currently underway and he hopes to have the pizza ovens fired up late September or early October.

Carmela's, which started out as an offshoot of Sbarro when it opened in 2005, closed its Longwood location about six months ago. Previously, it had closed its only other location, on Kirkman Road in Orlando, in 2011.

The new location for Chianti's will have "an enhanced menu and wine list," Schneider said. "It will be an upscale version of what's in Sanford. (I reviewed the Sanford location almost exactly five years ago, on Aug. 10.)

Besides the Seminole Towne Center restaurant, Chianti's has a presence at Sanford Airport in the Million Air terminal. That small cafe caters mainly to private pilots and travelers and to airline workers and trainees. It employees three workers. The Seminole Towne Center has 40 employees and the new restaurant will have a staff of "about 60," he said.

Himas interior

I must say I rather enjoyed my brief visit to Himas Indian Cuisine, a Punjabi restaurant that opened earlier in the year. Despite its Tourist World location, adjacent to an outlet mall and across the street from the now-defunct Artegon Marketplace, Himas offers a relaxed and pleasant dining experience with welcoming service and very good food.

As with most Indian restaurants in the area, lunch at Himas means a buffet. This one is smaller than most, but it offers a well thought out array.

MSRW 2017 Logo 4C Tags copy

I know you’re all sitting around waiting for the start of Magical Dining Month, but you don’t have to wait for September for some great dining deals.

The third annual Main Streets Restaurant Week starts Friday, Aug. 4, and runs through Aug. 12. It highlights the restaurants in Orlando’s Main Streets districts that offer special menus and deals for the week.

But unlike MagDinMo, which features only one prix fixe option (at $35 this year!), Main Streets Restaurant Week has an array of restaurants, from casual to full service, and a variety of menu options that range from $5 to $30 depending on the type of restaurant and the menu offered.

For example, you can visit Tap Room at Dubsdread and indulge in a three-course dinner with multiple options, including a bone-in veal chop entree, for $30. Or you can go to Black Rooster and get two tacos and guacamole, among other lunch options, for just 10 bucks. It's all designed to help promote some of the city's great dining options during a historically slow time of year. You get a good deal, the restaurants get more traffic. Win squared.

“I encourage residents and visitors in Central Florida to come and explore our City’s Main Street districts,” Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement announcing Restaurant Week, “and discover not only great food, but great shopping, great services and the great people that call these neighborhoods home.”

The Orlando Main Street program was started in 2008 and highlights the city’s neighborhood districts. Those include Audubon Park, Mills 50, Thornton Park, SoDo, College Park and others (nine district in all).

You can see the full list of participating restaurants at the Main Streets Restaurant Week website; you’ll find links to the deals and menus there, too.

Like all restaurant promotions, Main Streets Restaurant Week offers a good opportunity to check out new restaurants you’ve been wondering about or wanting to visit, and at a good cost. I’ve already spotted a couple of places for my list.

Which restaurants will you visit during Restaurant Week?