VR dining room

The Venetian Room, one of the few remaining truly fine dining venues in Central Florida, is not participating in Magical Dining Month this year.

However, the restaurant is offering its own special menu, shown below, with a seductively low price. And it isn’t just for the month of September; VR’s prix fixe menu is available through October, so you can still eat your little Magical Dining Month heart out this month and make a reservation for Venetian Room next month.

Springs ConstructionWorkers working on what will be the springs of Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Wednesday.

I’ve learned of a couple of new venues that are planned for the (currently) very dusty Disney Springs project. One will be a restaurant called Walt’s — not sure where they came up with that name — and another will be a bar and lounge known as the Neverland Tunnels.

Details are still a little sketchy, but both will be located near the previously announce Edison, which will be set up as a speakeasy. Neverland Tunnels will make use of the space that once sat beneath the Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island. The name is likely a reference to the underground home that Peter Pan and company lived in. Seeing as how it will be mainly a bar, you can expect a lot of Lost Boys to suddenly want to grow up when they get carded. And this is interesting: To get to the Neverland Tunnels you’ll have to first go through Edison and then Walt’s. 

Also, it’s looking more likely that the Rick Bayless helmed restaurant that I told you about 10 months ago will actually happen.

I’ll have more details soon.

Braccia interior

Well, here’s something different in the world of pizza eating.

Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante is one of new eateries that have stepped in to take over the leases of closed restaurants on Winter Park’s Morse Boulevard. Or as the acronymic name for one of the recent departees indicated, Not On Park Avenue.

Braccia is small but has a certain charm in its glassed in wine cabinet, floor to ceiling blackboards and distressed wood tabletops. The charm does not extend to the Astroturflike greenery that has been applied in freeform to one of the brick walls; that’s just odd.

Not quite as odd as what is attached to those paint-stripped tables. A metal frame is clipped to the outer edge and holds a large Styrofoam cup. It is not, as you may first guess, a spit cup for tasting wine. Instead it is meant to hold the discarded plastic gloves that are supplied for diners to wear to keep their hands clean.

Cityfish construction bar

First on SJO -- The pieces are starting to come together for what will be taking over the former Cityfish space in Thornton Park. The concept will be an Asian Gastropub with a menu designed by Greg Richie. Richie, of course, is a partner in the  Thornton Park Restaurant Group and is also the executive chef of their Soco, also at Thornton Park Central.

"It's going to be fun, very accessible, very casual," Richie said. He added that the price point will make it the sort of place you can dine in daily. Lunch and dinner will likely offer the same menu.

As you can see from the photos, the most significant change in the design of the restaurant is the relocation of the bar. It was along the right wall when it was Cityfish. Now it's been moved to the center of the room (making clever use of those annoying pillars that construction experts insist are necessary to prevent the condos above from caving in. Despite the way things look in the photos, the restaurant is just a few weeks away from a soft opening, I'm told.

And the name? Well, I have to keep that hush-hush for now. But I can tell you that if you were to just hear the name, you'd think it had to do more with something in the Northeastern United States than Southeastern Asia. I'll have more details for you soon.

Cityfish construction bar 2

TPRG is a former client of Scott Joseph Company's consulting services.