Peppinos Interior

Updated with information from the developer

Peppino's Organic Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, one of the first new businesses to open in the newly (but still unofficially) designated Hourglass District, is closed. It opened fewer than six months ago, listing Nov. 29, 2017, as its starting date on its Facebook page.

Nothing on that page gives reference to the current status, but sources say that the original owner has sold the restaurant and the new owners are remodeling with plans to reopen in August. The phone number listed for Peppino's has been disconnected.

The restaurant was greeted with anticipation by residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. The building, at 2420 Curry Ford Road, has been home for numerous short-term restaurants over the years. It was hoped that a pizzeria would be the right concept.

But despite some remodeling and the addition of outdoor patio space, Peppino's struggled to find a loyal base, due in no small part to poor service. My own observations in my review of the restaurant noted a person who appeared to be the owner and his seemingly disaffected attitude toward his customers.

No word yet on who the new owners might be. The district also is home to a new taco restaurant, Cilantro's, and the long-awaited return of Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub, directly across the street.

It was when I was visiting Claddagh on a recent Saturday evening, shortly after 8 p.m., that I noted no cars in Peppino's lot, though the restaurant was still open at the time. That says something.

More when more is available.

Update: According to developer Giovanni Fernandez, the owner of Peppino's was forced to close after he was diagnosed with cancer. more information about the new owners here.

A roundup of the week's restaurant reviews and news from Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide. This week reviews of 1803 Pizza/Kitchen and Hong Kong Alley's Chinese Kitchen plus a preview of Wine Bar George.

1803 exterior

As coincidence would have it, earlier this week I told you about a guest column I wrote for Orlando Date Night Guide listing many of the area's oldest restaurants. I also noted that I had written a similar article, in 2005, for the Orlando Sentinel. In neither article did I list O! Stromboli.

I mention that because at one time the owner of O! Stromboli advertised that it was the oldest Italian restaurant in town. That was in 2007, and during my 19 years at that point of reviewing restaurants, it had been Ciotti's, Sandroni's and Farinacci's. Also during that time, there were several Italian restaurants that had been operating longer. When I asked the owner about it, he said that there had been an Italian market or restaurant at that address since the 1940s, albeit under different owners. Not exactly truth in that particular advertising.

The address in question is 1803 Winter Park Road, Orlando. The address lends its name to the new tenant, 1803 Pizza/Kitchen. It's Italian, so by some people's standards it's the oldest one in Orlando even though it opened just last week.