Ravpig exterior

The new Ravenous Pig is quite different from the old Ravenous Pig. Not better, not worse, just different.

The new Pig is in the old Cask & Larder spot. (The new restaurant in the old Pig place is Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar; I’ll have a review soon.)

Ravenous Pig, of course, is the popular restaurant from husband and wife team James and Julie Petrakis. When it first opened at 1234 N. Orange Ave., in late 2007, it became an instant hit. The Petrakises earned, deservedly, widespread recognition, including multiple nominations for the James Beard Award’s Best Chef, South, for which they were jointly nominated.

The Pig took off, if not in actual flight then in terms of company growth. Cask & Larder became a second brand. Swine & Sons offered charcuterie and other comestibles in a grab and go format next to the C&L building. This summer, another porcine proximation, the Polite Pig, will open at Disney Springs. (The Petrakises are also consulting partners at DoveCote, in downtown Orlando.)

But back to RavPig. The reason we’re here is that Cask & Larder moved to the airport. So the Pig moved into the, um, emptied Larder.

Zeytin sign

I love seeing culturally diverse restaurants pop up in varied areas of town. So I was pleased to see Zeytin Turkish Cuisine open on Edgewater Drive just east of Lake Fairview and within sight of the Orange County VFW.

Zeytin is a small buisiness in a free-standing building, the former site of Woody’s Italian American Grill and Woody’s Wings & Whatnot. Woody’s gone.

Zeytin has a menu that belies its size, with myriad hot and cold appetizers, assorted Turkish pides (flatbreads), kebabs and sautés. It looks like an ambitious set of offerings but most are variations on the same theme.

Pincho Factory tostone

Pincho Factory, the South Florida fast-casual concept, has closed its Restaurant Row Orlando location after just one year.

A social media post noted that there was a sign on the door at the Dr. Phillips Boulevard space saying the restaurant would reopen  after some "issues" were addressed. However, the company directly says the Orlando location is closed permantently. Issues unaddressed, apparently.

Pincho Factory has seven locations, all in the Miami area. When it opened in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips last year it was the company's first attempt to expand outside of South Florida. It spcialized in pinchos, which traditionally are small bites, usually meat and usually served on a toothpick. 

When I reviewed it in April, I found most of the food OK, but the Toston Burger, which used two fried tostones in place of bread buns, was quite good. However, other reviews were more spotty.

Did you try Pincho Factory? Will you miss it?


chefs night steak

The next Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank will feature James Messinger, the executive corporate chef at Seasons 52. The dinner, on March 20, will usher in spring, one of our favorites of the 52 seasons.

Messinger and his team will prepare a five-course meal with wine (and two signature desserts). All proceeds from this event benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food-service establishment.

The dinner is $100 per person and takes place at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando. Visit the Second Harvest web page to purchase tickets or call 407-514-1070. The dinner is from 6 to 9 p.m.

Here’s the menu Messinger has planned:


I hope you’ll join me on Sunday, March 12, for the annual 5C event at the Alfond Inn at Rollins College. The long title is 5 Chefs, 5 Course, 5 Charities.

I always look at this event as the heralding of spring in Central Florida. The family style dinner is served in the Inn’s lovely courtyard at long tables. It’s always wonderful conversation and wonderful camraderie. (They should add those to the other C’s.)

And it’s of course wonderful food (chow?). And this year you can say that you’ve been served by a James Beard Award nominee for best chef in the South as Kathleen Blake is one of the five chefs who will be preparing the dinner.

Joining Blake will be Kevin Fonzo, K Restaurant Wine Bar; Greg Richie, Soco and Baoery; Jason Klingensmith; Alfond Inn; and Henry Salgado, formerly of Spanish River Grill and Txokos Basque Kitchen. Maybe you can ask him about his exciting new restaurant project.

Hey, wait a minute — maybe I’ll ask him. I’ve been given the honor of serving as the master of ceremonies, so I’ll be there to lead us through the dinner.(I’m thinking of stealing Jimmy Kimmel’s stint from the Oscars and having a tour bus drop off its unsuspecting passengers to see how gourmets eat.)

The other C is for Charity. Each chef has selected a favorite charity to receive a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales.

Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased here. It’s a long table but there is limited seating, so secure your place now. Included in the evening are live music and a cocktail reception.

The reception kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with dinner seating at 6:30. The Alfond Inn is at 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park.