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Greektogo exterior

A restaurant with a name like Greek To Go should be uniquely suited to serving during these times of takeout and delivery. That’s what initially attracted me to the little Maitland eatery recently.

And I was drawn in by the menu of Mediterranean specialties like moussaka, falafel and of course Philly cheesesteak. Hmmm, OK.

I was also delighted that the restaurant had a user-friendly ordering portal in its website. (The link is only on the front page so if you go right to the menu link you’ll miss the online ordering link.)

And it also allows ine to order in advance, add a tip and pay for the whole shebang right there. (Shebang is a Greek word, right?) I’ll often order for a pickup time later, but since was driving from downtown Orlando, I accepted the quoted time of 20 minutes for an immediate fetch and pulled into the small parking lot just 30 minutes after the order went through. Twenty minutes after that I left with my food. Oh well.

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Third Party apps.001

The state of Massachusetts Wednesday passed an economic development bill that among other things will help that state’s struggling restaurants through stimulus grants and a 15 percent cap on the fees that third-party delivery entities can charge during the pandemic.

Details of the grants, including whether they will have to be paid back, are still grainy. But the issue involving the delivery fee cap should have immediate benefits.

Third-party delivery apps – UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub and others – typically charge a 30 percent fee of the restaurant’s order, leaving the restaurant with a crumb of profit, if there’s any profit at all.

Greg Granda, co-owner of Shakers American Cafe in College Park, which makes its menu available for delivery through UberEats, explained: “The customer orders off the UberEats app and whatever the order comes to, I will get that total minus the 30 percent. The customer pays the total with tax, plus a delivery fee, service charge and tip, so Uber[Eats] makes out on both ends.”

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Toby Poolside

I know you’ve been itching to get out. So have your pets.

So, many of the restaurants at the Promenade at Sunset Walk are participating in Pets on the Promenade on Sunday, Jan. 17, from noon to 3 p.m.

If you haven’t been to the Promenade, you should know that most of the restaurants there – and there are many – have outdoor dining with ample spacing, which makes it a safer atmosphere and ideal for doggie dining. (Although Pets on the Promenade doesn’t specify genus, we’ll assume they’re referring to canis.)

There’s no charge to attend, and most of the restaurants will have Yappy Hour pricing. (Another clue: pretty sure only dogs yap; could be wrong.)

You can also have a pet or family portrait taken by a professional photographer, with packages starting at $25, with Valentine’s Day backgrounds available – plan ahead!

There are bound to be some treats around (I hear Bahama Buck’s Original Shaved Ice Company will have Snow Balls for the dogs, which might be a cruel joke if your little pup has been neutered) and there will be an appearance by A Golden Named Kevin, which, it probably won’t surprise you to hear, is a golden (retriever) whose name is Kevin. (Pictured above is a Doodle Named Toby.) Plus live music by Jason Link on the Prom’s outdoor stage. It would be an added bonus if Kevin howls along.

More details on the Promenade at Sunset Walk’s website. And here is a list of the participating restaurants:

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VLC exterior

Have you heard about Dryuary? It’s where people pledge to go alcohol free – or stay dry – for the month of January. I’m sure that January was selected because it’s after the holidays when so many people tend to overindulge, but personally I think February would be a better choice because, you know, it’s shorter.

Now some people are pushing Veganuary, which means to follow a vegan diet for the first month of the year. Is there a meatless equivalent to dry? Vegged, maybe?

Anyway, if you’re among the carnivorous community attempting to eat a more plant-based diet, whether for a month or just a day, you might want to check out V.L.C. Vegan Eatery, a small restaurant on the east side of Orlando that recently celebrated its first anniversary.

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Rosinola

Word comes that Peter Rosinola Jr. (pictured above), the owner operator of Palma Maria in Casselberry, has died. A Jan. 4 post on the restaurant’s Facebook page said:

It is with heartfelt sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother, Peter Rosinola Jr., has passed away. We greatly appreciate your sympathies and condolences as our family deals with this great loss. We will be closed for the time being.
Thank you,
The Rosinola Family

Palma Maria is one of the area’s older restaurants and I’d been yearning to revisit for the past year to review it as an Orlando Classic. It was a perennial Critic’s Choice in the Orlando Sentinel’s Foodie Awards when it had a Best Early Bird Dinner category. (remember early bird dinners?). It was, as you can gather from the note above, a family operation and it showed in the service and food quality. One of its more endearing features was that it baked its own bread and each table was given a whole loaf at the beginning of the meal, and if there was any left over the server would bag it up to be taken home.

Condolences to the Rosinolas.

  • Jean-Marie Clement, Walt Disney World’s vice president of food and beverage, is being sent to oversee all things food and beverage at Disneyland Paris for the next two years. He said in an email message that he “will be focusing on all F&B support, new products, concepts and F&B sourcing.” No word on who will be sitting in his chair at WDW while he’s away.
  • While we’re in the Disney vicinity...Everglazed, the “Florida born and glazed donuts and cold brew” concept, has opened at Disney Springs. I feel compelled to say that the preferred spelling, as stated in the Association of Food Journalists’ “Foodspell bible is doughnuts.
  • And while we’re at Disney Springs...Gideon’s Bakehouse, which opened its flagship bakery there last month, has temporarily closed it. A note on GB FB page says, “ Our opening was beyond our expectations, so we are putting on the brakes to deal with behind-the-scenes logistics ahead of the grand opening.” The East End Market unflaghip location remains open.
  • The space at 528 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, that had been Maestro Cucina Napoletana (2016) and Antonio’s House of Pizza (2018) is now Grato Italian Grill and Pizzeria, a second location for a Lake Mary business.