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Neighbors collage

This article has been updated with information from the owner of Finnhenry's in downtown Orlando.

We have new details about the changes to the upstairs event space at East End Market we told you about in April.

It will be called The Neighbors but somehow doesn’t involve being able to borrow a wheel barrow or to complain about keeping kids off of your damn lawn.

It will be a triad of businesses, two of which (a duad?) will be food and beverage. The third will be a retail store that features only locally made goods. You know, like things you could buy from your neighbors other than Girl Scout Cookies.

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808 ext

The Thornton Park space that for a quarter of a century was home to a Dexter’s finally has a new tenant: The 808. Yes, that’s its address on Washington Street but there’s more to it.

First, to recap, Dexter’s sort of imploded after the popular wine bar and cafe with four locations was sold off to different buyers a few years ago. Only the Lake Mary Dexter’s remains. The Winter Park restaurant moved to Ravaudage and renamed itself Dexter’s New Standard, though it seems to have (predictably) dropped the Dexter’s. The Windermere location is now Feather & Quill.

The buyer of the Thornton Park Dexter’s tried to keep it going under that brand and even brought back some old menu favorites. But in October of 2019 it was sold again to a bartender who had worked at Burton’s Bar across the street with plans to open a new, undisclosed concept.

Then 2020 happened. And new owners Todd Ulmer and Wendy Connor have taken over.

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Burger generic

It’s time to get back to recognizing the best of Central Florida’s culinary community with our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

And we’ll do it with the perennially hotly contested category of Best Burger.

Below you’ll find the nominees, including 2020’s winner, the Tap Room at Dubsdread, and the runners-up Kiwi’s Pub & Grill and the Hangry Bison. Kiwi’s edged out Hangry Bison for second place by only a couple of votes.

During the nominations phase, you may vote for up to three candidates. You may also select to write in a candidate whose name does not already appear on the list. Be sure to check because duplicate names will be deleted along with any additional votes they may have accumulated.

Also, be aware that the Foodster Awards are for Independent Restaurants, defined as those businesses having three or fewer locations. Write in candidates that do not meet that criterion will also be deleted.

Nominations will be accepted through Tuesday, Aug. 3. The restaurants receiving the most nominating votes will advance to the finals.

After voting, leave a comment telling us who you voted for and why. We may use your comments when the winners are announced.

Here are the nominees:

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Bubble Room

It’s difficult to describe the Bubble Room to anyone who didn’t experience it firsthand. It occupied a building in Maitland that is now the home of a Buca di Beppo and it was known for its humongous portions and its over-the-top decor. Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe it. One of my reviews said, “The decor looks like grandma’s attic exploded and landed in the Land of Oz on Christmas Day.”

Here’s what I wrote in my first review of the Bubble Room, which ran in the Sentinel on July 21, 1991:

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Loading interior

It doesn’t sound like a place called Loading...Gastrobrunch would be a place for dinner. And when the downtown St. Cloud restaurant first opened it served only breakfast and lunch.

But now dinner hours have been added, and new dinner items to the menu, too. So a friend and I were invited to stop in and sample.

I was at Loading last year for a lunchtime visit but at that time I was confining my dining to outdoor tables. So it was nice to experience the interior this time. It’s rustic, befitting its location in the historic Hunter Arms Hotel. Horizontal wood planks on one wall, a brick wall behind the bar and a fieldstone fireplace at the far end give the room a cabinlike feel. A mishmash of gewgaws give the decor an eclectic feel.