Total Takeou

Here’s my dilemma: I’m a restaurant critic. It says so right there in the job description.

To be an effective critic, one has to point out the negative aspects of a restaurant alongside the positive ones. Ideally, the pluses outweigh the minuses.

But the minuses, if indeed they exist, are important to convey. They give balance. They give credibility. Criticism, in the basest sense of the word, is not always easy to mete out, and despite what some assume is a stereotypically sadistic trait of anyone who takes on the job, it isn’t fun to do. But in the 32-plus years I’ve been a restaurant critic, I’ve never shied away from it.

Until now.


Cityworks ext

There are a couple of new reopenings at Disney Springs, though the shopping, dining and entertainment complex is far from back to before.

City Works Eatery and Pour House, one of the Springs’ newer restaurants, which opened shortly before the mandated closing of all restaurants and bars in March, is back pulling the taps – there are about 90 of them – and serving its menu of burgers, tacos and sandwiches.

City Works, shown at top pre-shutdown, was one of the last restaurants I dined in before the shutdown, which happened so swiftly that I wasn’t able to file my review. I’ll have it for you soon.

Splitsville, the bowling themed restaurant, will open on Friday, July 10. If you’re worried about sticking your fingers in the bowling ball holes where others have stuck theres, management would like you to know that they will all be sanitized. And shoe rentals – a hygienic concern even before the pandemic – will still be available with sanitizing, or bowlers may choose to use disposable footwear.

Still shuttered are the Patina Group restaurants Maria & Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway and the Edison. Also staying closed for now is Jaléo by José Andrésl. Messages to representatives of those restaurants were not immediately answered.

Walt Disney World is expected to open the gates of the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Saturday, July 11. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow on July 15.

In related news, Florida reported 59,036 new cases last week, the most in a one-week period since the crisis began.


Whiskey togo ext

Formerly known as Bullet Point Buffet. We’re not really doing buffets anymore, and I was never really comfortable with the allusion of live ammunition. So welcome to the first edition of Newsy Nuggets.

The Whiskey has reopened on Restaurant Row. It had closed last Friday when the governor ordered bars to stop serving on premise drinks. But the Whiskey, despite its name, is actually a restaurant at its core – you’ve had their burger, haven’t you? – so it’s back as of noon today.



GL Fireworks

Fireworks displays are going to be scarce this year. That’s understandable.

But Grande Lakes Orlando, home of the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott, will host a fireworks display, and you can see it and enjoy a socially distanced dinner, as well.

Here’s the plan. Make a dinner reservation for Saturday, July 4, at Highball & Harvest (or Primo, Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen or Bleu) and when it’s time for the fireworks (9 p.m. sharp), you’ll be invited to a separated area where you and your family can enjoy the show safely.

And if your dinner table has a view of the lake, as many of them at H&H do, you can just stay seated and watch from there.

Grande Lakes has put together a comprehensive set of safety guidelines that include staff screening, frequent cleansing, traffic control, and mandatory face coverings for staff.

You’ll be asked to wear a mask, too. So during the fireworks, those muffled oohs and ahhs might sound more like muuh and ahhm, but the effect will be the same.

You’re definitely going to want to make a reservation, so visit the resort’s dining pages for information.


CFS ext

It was a whim stop. Driving through Winter Park’s Hannibal Square, my companion and I spotted an isolated table outside Café Frustos Selectos, more commonly known as CFS Coffee. It was brunchtime, Sunday, and we were weary of takeout. So we took a chance on dining onsite.

But there being no table service, we did have to go inside to order our food (which we preselected from a paper menu outside the front door.