310 Nona, part of the family of restaurants that rose out of 310 Park in Winter Park, has announced that it has closed. The space will be taken over my Mexican restaurant Aztec d'Oro.

According to information from JM Hospitality, the group that owns and operates the 310 restaurants, as well as blu on the avenue and the new Bovine steakhouse, "An opportunity arose between the two entities making it a win-win for both, especially during these unprecedented time."


Vietnomzghost ext

Well, you broke them.

After getting overrun when it opened its ghost kitchen on Tuesday, shutting down all of Wednesday then reopening and getting swamped again on Thursday, White Castle has decided to just wait until it opens its location at the Village at O-Town West sometime this spring.

The chain, known for its tiny burgers, which were the first to be called sliders, had arranged for space in the Dollins Avenue ghost kitchen in west Orlando. Customers were told they could order from a special menu to pick food up or have it delivered via Uber Eats. (The Dollins facility does not have space for dining onsite.) When the ordering site went live on Tuesday it was immediately overwhelmed by orders, too many for the limited kitchen space to handle.

The company announced through a publicist that it would take Wednesday off, presumably to lick its wounds, and reopen Thursday, but only for pickup.

The kitchen was inundated again by customers who for some reason apparently have no access to other burgers. Because the Dollins facility, shown above, has no drive through, people reportedly parked throughout the neighborhood, which is also home to Florida Probation and Parole Services, industrial sites and churches.

What’s driving the mayhem? Nostalgia, perhaps. Curiosity. Irrational crowd behavior and the lemming effect?

Whatever. I don’t care if the Orlando restaurant will be the biggest in the chain, I will not be anywhere near it when it finally starts flipping burgers.


Shantells sign

During February, Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.

It seems fitting to end our monthlong focus on Black-owned restaurants with Shantell’s Just Until because of its location in Sanford’s Georgetown neighborhood. The area was established by the city’s Black business owners during in the 1880s during the Jim Crow era. Last year, Georgetown was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Despite the impermanence of its name, Shantell’s Just Until feels like an anchor of the neighborhood. At least it did when I visited on a balmy evening recently when when the owner, Shantell Williams, herself was seated at a table outside. My dining companion, dog and I took a table next to a large brick planter filled with colorful flowers. Nearby in a tall tree, an osprey stood watching over the restaurant.

The menu is a bit more Caribbean than it is Southern soul. My guest chose the jerk chicken and rice for an entree and I selected the fish & chips. I had a choice of tilapia or catfish but that’s really not an option – catfish is the only appropriate answer in this setting.


White Castle Rendering

Y’all managed to scare the the ghost kitchen when you stormed the White Castle website Tuesday. The sliderie thought it would be a fun bit of marketing to offer its menu through the Dollins Avenue virtual food hall while its Orlando location was still under construction. The website started taking orders Tuesday morning for delivery and pickup and was quickly overwhelmed, forcing it to shut down.

The order site remained closed Wednesday but a press release promised it would be open again on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. This time, however, it will be for pickup only. Well, that shouldn’t cause any problems for the neighbors around the Dollins Avenue business. You can order through the White Castle website – I’ll let you Google it – but seriously, if you need a slider that badly perhaps it’s time for an intervention.


Grandmas ext

During February, Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.

I like this story.

The food truck known as Grandma’s BBQ was started by an actual grandma, Marcia Owens Ballard. Ballard was employed by the Orange County Public School System and also worked in daycare.

According to the website, Ballard would also prepare food for the families she worked for, and after getting so many requests to cater events, she decided to buy a food truck and go into business. (This is not terribly different from how 4Rivers Smokehouse came to be.)

That was 14 years ago and Ballard is no longer with us. But her grandson, Deodrick Ballard, continues to run the business and keeps the truck moving around to spread Grandma’s joy.