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FW maitland

Word comes that the building that until Sunday held the Maitland First Watch will be taken over by Peach Valley Cafe, another breakfast-and-luncher. PVC was first developed by Ormond Beach-based Stonewood Restaurant Group but was sold to Winter Parker restaurateurs Eric and Diane Holm in 2019. First Watch moved out in advance of the opening of its new flagship and prototype restaurant opening March 1 in Winter Park. Peach Valley Cafe currently has a half dozen restaurants.

  • There may be a change at the Menagerie Eatery & Bar, the eatery and bar in Thornton Park. The owners are considering converting it to their RusTeak brand. Sounds like a good idea to me.

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MFW harriett

When the Maitland First Watch closes after lunch on Sunday, Harriett Issertell will lose the place she has eaten at several times a week since the daytime cafe first opened in 1993. Issertell, whom everyone calls Miss Harriett, dines at the popular breakfast and lunch cafe almost every day. In fact, I reached her by phone Friday as she was leaving First Watch.

Miss Harriett, 85, a teacher and reading coach, has some menu favorites that she goes to, and the staff all know just how she likes things done. “I have the french toast, double dipped,” she says, “the waffles, the blueberry muffins.” And she considers the restaurant a home away from home. According to staff members, she’ll come in by herself on weekdays with her books and spend some time reading. On weekends, she’ll come in with friends from her church. “I always love Saturdays and Sundays,” she said.

She has seen a lot of staff come and go but noted one constant: “They’ve always been good, no matter who takes care of you. They’ve all been courteous.”

The Maitland First Watch, the oldest location of the Florida based chain in Central Florida, is closing in anticipation of a new location, just down the road in Winter Park, which will fire up its griddles on March 1 following an egg-breaking ceremony by local dignitaries.

Miss Harriett is bound to be there. “I know just where it is,” she said. “It looks great.”

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Boku 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.

Albert Eugene DeSue, formerly chef at the now defunct Yuki Hana, has taken over kitchen duties at Boku Sushi & Grill, one of several restaurants at the new Maitland City Centre.

Maitland City Centre (which I’m pretty sure is pronounced SAHN-tray, is a big new multi-use complex that is now the hamlet’s de facto downtown. The Centre’s website reads, “You might feel as though you’ve been transported to a dynamic, open-air plaza straight out of your favorite European escape.”

Um, no.

But you might feel like you’re not in Maitland anymore.

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HomeCourt by Tracy McGrady Exterior Photo copy

Former Orlando Magic player Tracy McGrady is getting into the restaurant business with the opening of HomeCourt by Tracy McGrady in Lakeland. The restaurant will be basketball themed (duh) but will also feature an “immersive golf simulator.” Decor will showcase Magic memorabilia, including jerseys and an Adidas show wall, which I can almost smell.

A 40-seat bar will have a top made of reclaimed planks from a basketball court. I’m hoping that whenever someone spills a drink, several guys with oversized mops will rush out to clean it up.

The restaurant, which will debut Wed., Feb. 24, is in conjunction with Salt Partners Group of San Francisco. So why Lakeland? McGrady is a native of Bartow, so where else would he put his HomeCourt?

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Seanas 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.

The most interesting thing I learned about Seana’s, a Caribbean and soul food restaurant in West Orlando, is that there is no Seana. Owner Joshua Johnson said that it was just “a name I’ve always loved; it just feels like a warm embrace.” That’s a pretty good description of the restaurant itself.

Seana’s occupies a small space in a little strip mall at the corner of Good Homes Road and Colonial Drive. A counter-service operation with the menu hand-written on a white board that also serves as a screen to the kitchen area, Seana’s gained some renown when it was chosen as one of the local restaurants to serve members of the National Basketball Association during its stay in a pandemic “bubble” at Walt Disney World Resort last season.

The teams ate well.