Moroccan Breeze certainly wasn’t what I was expecting.
I had, um, gotten wind of Breeze as a newly opened restaurant in South Orlando. But when my Google Maps app led me to the address on South Orange Blossom Trail, a strip mall anchored by the Apna Bazaar, the restaurant was nowhere in sight. I wondered if the signage on one of the eateries just hadn’t been changed to reflect new ownership. I also hoped that wasn’t the case because they looked pretty bedraggled.
If it had been a regular night, I might have dinged the staff at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming for sloppy service. The bar, for example, was strewn with the plates and glasses of previous diners, and we had to ask for a bar rag so we could wipe down the counter in front of us ourselves.
But it wasn’t a regular night. It was Friday, after Hurricane Matthew had blown through and left the area.
Zaza New Cuban Diner is developing into a slick operation, one that has all the earmarks of a nascent franchise. And that’s just fine, because as it stands now, it’s also a pretty tasty operation, and one that offers good food at a bargain.
Zaza now has three locations (which qualifies it as an independent restaurant operation in my definition; I’ll explain why that’s important in the coming weeks).