le coq logoThis doesn’t really qualify as breaking news, but Bistro Le Coq au Vin Dr. Phillips is closed. Reimund Pitz, the chef and owner of the estimable Coq au Vin south of downtown Orlando, said that it has been closed for “about three weeks.” Pitz cited a difference of opinion with some partners in the operation and decided to take his name off of the restaurant.

He also said that the restaurant had received notice that it could not offer live music at its Sunday brunch, which Pitz said was the busiest meal of the week. Another nearby business had complained about the noise, he said.

There was also an issue with the liquor license. The new restaurant had taken over from Bistro CloClo, which was also a French themed restaurant, and assumed that business’s liquor license. But when Bistro Le Coq’s owners went to put the license in their own names, they discovered that it was just a temporary license. Not only that, but the space did not have enough seats to qualify for a full liquor license. (There are different levels and licenses and varying qualifications, but generally, a restaurant needs to have a minimum of 150 seats to get a license to serve full liquor. That’s why so many smaller restaurants offer only beer and wine.)

Pitz said that the loss of entertainment at brunch resulted in a reduction in the number of guests, and the loss of the full liquor license meant less revenue, too.

Bistro Le Coq au Vin Dr. Phillips took over from Bistro CloClo in August and changed the name October 1. CloClo had been opened just over a year. According to mall management, several businesses have expressed an interest in the space.

Next door to the restaurant, construction continues on Barcelona, a wine bar expected to open in the next few months. Among other things, the new business plans on offering live entertainment, so this should be interesting.


Chef James Odonnell 075 LowRes Corporate copy

FIRST ON SJO — The One Group Hospitality, Inc. is expected to announce on Friday that it has named James O’Donnell the executive chef for its STK Orlando restaurant scheduled to open this spring at Disney Springs.

Originally from San Diego, O’Donnell was previously associated with Cornerstone Management and Consulting as executive chef for its Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse in the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. His resume also includes partner and executive chef for The Captial Grille in Jacsonville and executive chef at House of Blues in Los Angeles. He has been with the Orlando project since December.

STK, which is identified on its website as a “modern, chic steakhouse” serving “reimagined American cuisine,” is the lead brand of The One Group, which also owns and operates Ansellina, Bagatelle and Gansevoort Park Rooftop in New York, as well as brands in London, Los Angeles and Milan. STK has locations in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and London. Besides Orlando, new STKs are expected to open soon in Dallas and Toronto.

STK Orlando will occupy a two-level, 15,000 square foot facility with two kitchens and an indoor/outdoor bar on the second level overlooking Disney Springs. An opening date has not yet been announced.



Pho and Roll cu pho

I popped in to check out Pho & Roll, which recently replaced Pho Curry Ford (and whose name, as Faiyaz of the Orlando Weekly pointed out, was a bit dirty sounding if you pronounced pho correctly).

The menu for Pho & Roll says that it is “Vietnamese food with a modern twist.” Don’t know what that twist might be, except to offer fewer options than the older, more traditional Vietnamese restaurants in the area. And I don’t count that as a negative.


Epcot FG 2016 exterior

Today is the opening of the 2016 edition of the Epcot International Flower & Garden. Just wondering: Does Epcot ever host anything that isn’t international? Could we have an Epcot National Flower & Garden Festival? Or how about the Epcot Statewide Flower & Garden Festival? That one could feature only vegetation grown in silty, sandy soil with displays of tomatoes pecked by birds and cucumbers devastated by pickle worms. Don’t get me started on pickle worms.

But the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.


Nova exterior

What an impressive transformation.

That space across the street from Lake Ivanhoe, the one that had for many years been Brian’s Diner and for one brief moment in 2014 was Elliott’s Public House, is now home to Nova. (The name is derived from its location at North Orange Avenue and Virginia Drive.) Actually, it occupies a little more of a footprint than its predecessors, expanding into an adjoining business (with permission, one assumes).

Nova bar

It’s beautiful. It’s comfortable and chic. Walls of warm brick and wood-patterned floors. Rustic tabletops and a soft white fabric (ill-advised, perhaps; time will tell) on the chairs and high backs of the banquettes. The main dining room is more open now, and it flows to a bar area with an honest-to-god bar (albeit a small one) that, thanks to the increased seating from the addition and patio tables, is now able to serve full liquor. I can heartily recommend the negroni.

I wish I could more enthusiastically recommend the food. But a sampling of the menu on two visits showed that the execution falls short.