cloclo dining room

You may have heard that Bistro CloClo, the French restaurant that opened on Restaurant Row last year, has been sold and that one of the new owners is Reimund Pitz, the chef and owner of Le Coq au Vin. Pitz has already taken over the restaurant and is changing the menu -- and the quality of the ingredients, he told me.

He's also about to change the name of the place. Beginning Oct. 1 it will be known as Bistro Le Coq au Vin Dr. Phillips. That's a bit of a mouthful, but if you've had Pitz's food, you know that a mouthful is a good thing. "I will have some of the classics, like Coq au Vin," Pitz said. But don't expect an exact replica of the menu at his popular restaurant south of downtown Orlando. "I don't ever want it to take the place of Le Coq au Vin," he said. He'll have choucroute and cassoulet and will bring in fresh fish daily. Top menu price will be about $27, but just as they are at Le Coq au Vin, half portions will be available. I wish more restaurants would do that.

The restaurant is open now and will not be shuttered during the transition. It will close as CloClo one day and open as (deep breath) Bistro Le Coq au Vin Dr. Phillips the next.



VR dining room

The Venetian Room, one of the few remaining truly fine dining venues in Central Florida, is not participating in Magical Dining Month this year.

However, the restaurant is offering its own special menu, shown below, with a seductively low price. And it isn’t just for the month of September; VR’s prix fixe menu is available through October, so you can still eat your little Magical Dining Month heart out this month and make a reservation for Venetian Room next month.


Springs ConstructionWorkers working on what will be the springs of Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Wednesday.

I’ve learned of a couple of new venues that are planned for the (currently) very dusty Disney Springs project. One will be a restaurant called Walt’s — not sure where they came up with that name — and another will be a bar and lounge known as the Neverland Tunnels.

Details are still a little sketchy, but both will be located near the previously announce Edison, which will be set up as a speakeasy. Neverland Tunnels will make use of the space that once sat beneath the Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island. The name is likely a reference to the underground home that Peter Pan and company lived in. Seeing as how it will be mainly a bar, you can expect a lot of Lost Boys to suddenly want to grow up when they get carded. And this is interesting: To get to the Neverland Tunnels you’ll have to first go through Edison and then Walt’s. 

Also, it’s looking more likely that the Rick Bayless helmed restaurant that I told you about 10 months ago will actually happen.

I’ll have more details soon.


Braccia interior

Well, here’s something different in the world of pizza eating.

Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante is one of new eateries that have stepped in to take over the leases of closed restaurants on Winter Park’s Morse Boulevard. Or as the acronymic name for one of the recent departees indicated, Not On Park Avenue.

Braccia is small but has a certain charm in its glassed in wine cabinet, floor to ceiling blackboards and distressed wood tabletops. The charm does not extend to the Astroturflike greenery that has been applied in freeform to one of the brick walls; that’s just odd.

Not quite as odd as what is attached to those paint-stripped tables. A metal frame is clipped to the outer edge and holds a large Styrofoam cup. It is not, as you may first guess, a spit cup for tasting wine. Instead it is meant to hold the discarded plastic gloves that are supplied for diners to wear to keep their hands clean.