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Shari Roll

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Best Sushi Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

Listed below are the initial nominees. During the nomination phase, you may select up to three restaurants. The top vote getters will advance to the finals. To place a vote, check the box next to the restaurant’s name then click the VOTE button below the poll.

If you would like to nominate a restaurant that is not already on the list, you may write in the name. Please note: The Foodster Awards are open to independent restaurants only, defined as those having three or fewer locations. Write-in candidates from chains with more than three locations will be deleted. Also, before submitting a write-in candidate, verify that the restaurant is not already listed. Duplicate nominations will be deleted along with any accumulated votes.

Finally, after you place your vote, leave a comment below telling us who you voted for and why you think it makes the best sushi in Central Florida. (We can't see who you vote for, so be sure to mention the name of the restaurant in your comment.)

Nominations will be accepted through June 2. The finalists will be published on June 3.

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Orlando Classics is an occasional look at Central Florida restaurants that have been in business for at least 25 years.

LeeRicks exterior

Whenever anyone asked about Orlando dives — and you’d be surprised how often people ask — there were always two immediate answers: Wally’s and Lee & Rick’s Oyster Bar.

Wally’s, as those still in mourning know, closed last year. And while it is scheduled to reopen soon with a new owner, its diveyness will have to be determined.

LeeRicks boat

But Lee & Rick’s, now in its sixty-ninth year, is still around and just as unrefined as always. From the cheesy boat facade to the concrete bar with big hunks chipped away from years of shuckers banging their knives on it to pry open oyster shells, this Orlando institution is a delight for the senses.

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raglan dancers

  • Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant and The Boathouse at Disney Springs have been named to OpenTable’s list of the top 100 restaurants in America for a Big Night Out. According to Caroline Potter, OpenTable’s chief dining officer, a title I want to hold, "The list spotlights the restaurants that have all the ingredients for the perfect big night out -- upbeat energy, innovative cocktails, robust wine lists, and, of course, outstanding food.” Pretty much sums up Raglan Road; I may have visited the Boathouse on an off night.
  • Our friend Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers Catering will be one of the dancing participants at Sweet Dreams: Dancing for TRANSitional Housing, sponsored by Bliss Cares. The event, on July 13, will raise funds and awareness for people in the transgender community, many of whom are homeless. The event will pair 11 amateur dancers with professionals who will compete for trophies. You can get ticket information here. You can also pledge to support McFadden at that link, too.
  • The Travel Channel cited Teak Neighborhood Grill as its Florida selection in its 50 States of Burgers feature.
  • SeaWorld is offering free beer beginning Saturday, May 25, through Sept. 2. Just go to Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen Patio Bar between 10:30 a.m. and an hour before whenever the park closes and you can claim one complimentary beer per day. Sorry, kids, must be 21 to participate.
  • Tank Brewing Co. of Miami has signed on as the craft beer sponsor for Icon Park. Icon Park is what they’re calling the International Drive attraction with the big Ferris Wheel. It used to be called the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye. Just the Eye before that, I think. As far as I know there is no plan to rename it Tank Eye. But I wouldn’t disapprove.

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Mykonos exterior

I finally made it up to the new Mykonos. Well, it was new 10 months ago when it started serving its popular Greek food again. Technically, it’s not new at all.

I first reviewed Mykonos back in 2000 when it first opened in the Springs Plaza in Longwood. Then it was called Mayerion Mykonos and it instantly served some of the best Greek food in town. Granted, there were only a few Greek restaurants in town back then. I remember that I liked the food, and I especially liked the lima beans. I think I even published the recipe.

But in 2016, the restaurant’s landlord informed the owner, Tina Karoutsos, that the lease would not be renewed. A medical clinic next door was expanding and needed the space. Instead of trying to find an existing restaurant that she could take over, Karoutsos signed for a new spot in the same plaza, directly behind where the original restaurant stood.

But the storefront had never been a restaurant, so it had to be retrofitted with all the equipment that goes into a new professional kitchen. You think your kitchen remodel took a long time? Mykonos was closed for over 18 months.

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Sponsored

Grande Lakes fireworks

Our friends at Grande Lakes Orlando are going all out for Memorial Day Weekend with four days of activities, events and special dining options.

There are boat rentals for tooling around the lake — did you know there’s an actual Grande Lake? — and eco-tours are Shingle Creek. Golf specials, including a 20 percent discount for active or retired military personnel. There’s also going to be a falconry school where you can learn about falconry. After a brief training, you’ll go out to field and the birds will follow and come when called. You can pretend you’re a helpless field mouse.

HH a la carte compressed copy

You’ll find me inside at one of the many good restaurants, most likely Highball & Harvest because I like their cocktail program. And I’ve been promised they’ll have some special drinks and menu options inspired by the Memorial Day commemoration. Reservations required, call 407-393-4648.

Citron and Primo are good options, too. Citron has special buffet from 5:30 to 9 p.m. of Saturday and Sunday. Over at Primo by Melissa Kelly there will be hand-crafted cocktails, upscale wine and Kelly’s imaginative organic cuisine. After dinner, step out onto the terrace to watch the fireworks.
6 - 10 p.m., a la carte. Reservations highly recommended, call 407-393-4444.

Lots of things for the kids, as well, with giant inflatable waterslides, sand volleyball and movie nights on the lawn.

You can see the full schedule of events at this link. But keep in mind that you’ll need reservations to dine in the restaurants at the Ritz-Carlton or JW Marriott.

I hope you have a peaceful Memorial Day.