It's a tough location.

In just the last several years, 200 W. Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park has been home to three short-lived occupants. The latest, Frank & Steins, a second location for a downtown Orlando beer and brats place, closed on Sunday.

Before F&S, Shipyard Emporium had dropped anchor there, and before that Strollo's Cucina Due. Longtime residents will remember it as the location of the first Dexter's before that popular restaurant and wine bar (wine market, too, in that location) started multiplying and then moving from that location to the then just-emerging Hannibal Square in Winter Park's West End.

All of the occupants of the Fairbanks location have suffered from the same setback: parking is a bear. I don't know how Dexter's lasted as long as it did -- at that time it shared the lot with a laundromat. My guess is that some of the nearby businesses (a popular radio station was located next door) allowed guests to park in their lots after hours and that privilege wasn't grandfathered in when Dexter's moved out (and the building was remodeled into a larger restaurant and bar space.

I'll admit that several times I've driven by and thought I should stop in to see the new Frank & Steins but kept going when I saw no easy parking space.

But, I'm sure that won't stop someone else from trying to make a go of that space with the thought -- perhaps a mistaken one -- that with Rollins College within walking distance the students will be enough business to support it.

The downtown Frank & Steins, at 150 S. Magnolia Ave., remains open.


Hangar Bar interior

After attending the star-studded and decidedly flashy opening of Morimoto Asia in beautiful downtown Disney Springs, I decided to pop in to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, just across the way, which opened with much less fanfare than MA.

Maybe that’s because the Disney folks want you to believe the Hangar Bar has been there a long time. Sixty years, to be precise. That’s what it says on the coasters, anyway: Est.d 1955 (how’d I miss this before?). Must have been after Lindsey retired as a pilot for hire, a favorite of Indiana Jones, who hired him to plane him to adventure and to add comic relief when Jones encountered Jock’s pet snake. As we all know, Disney can’t open a restaurant or bar just to have a restaurant or bar; it has to have some sort of story attached. (Even the licensed Morimoto Asia is supposed to be housed in a former bottling plant; more on that another time.)

Let me just say that as a place to drink, Hangar Bar is way cool. It is, ironically, not large enough to be an actual hangar, and I like that about it. (Turning the World Showplace event space at Epcot into a Hangar Bar with a couple of 747s in it would be pretty neat, too.) It looks like the people who did the decor — let’s call them set designers — had a blast loading the place up with artifacts, posters, maps and gewgaws. The lighting and sound both add to the moodiness. Seriously, this is one beautifully curated venue.

I wish the food had been given as much attention.


Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in south Orlando will offer its first Bleu Harvest Farmer’s Market on Thursday, Oct. 29, in the school’s Cafe Technique, 8511 Commodity Circle. The market will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

More than 20 local purveyors of farm-to-table produce will be on hand to showcase their products. The event was originally conceived as an educational project to teach students about ingredients available in Florida. Organizers decided to open it up to the general public. Vendors will have products available for sale. Hari Pulapaka, chef and co-owner of Cress in DeLand, will be a featured speaker and will offer a cooking demonstraion and book signing.



Slate interior bar

Now that it’s been several months since Slate first opened on Restaurant Row, I thought I’d stop in to give it another try, so I headed down on a recent Sunday to experience the brunch service.

I enjoyed my meal more this time. Maybe it’s that the place is getting comfortable in its surroundings, which still don’t include a lick of slate (the roof doesn’t count).


Updated at 11:53

Word has come from a former colleague of Paul Prdhomme that the New Orleans chef has died. He was 75. Details are still coming in  and this article will be updated. 

Prudhomme had been hospitalized and on life support for several weeks, according to one source. He was taken off life support Wednesday evening and died Thursday morning. He died in New Orleans.

Prudhomme is credited with making creole cuisine popular and nearly caused the depletion of a species when his Blackened Red Fish became a sensation. His K-Paul restaurant became a destination for visitors to the Big Easy. Although he still owned the restaurant, his niece and her husband, Paul Miller, have been operating it for several years. Prudhomme had been spending more time with his packaged spice business.

 Prudhomme was famously a large man and frequently got around via a mobility scooter.