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.
I'm sure the staff at Hong Kong Alley's Kitchen were just trying to be nice. They were effusive in their greeting when I walked into the strip mall storefront restaurant on East Colonial Drive. And the young man who took my order had a smile on his face at all times.
But no one could quite believe me when I told them, multiple times, I didn't need the fork they kept trying to place on my table. The chopsticks were fine, I said. Not showing off, I just think Chinese food tastes better when the proper utensils are utilized. And I eat less.
I had stopped in on a whim, noticing as I drove by the banner out front announcing Dim Sum, Roast Duck and Crispy Pork.
George Miliotes will open no wine bar before it's time.
Wine Bar George, one of the most anticipated Disney Springs venues, and one of only a few owned by locals, will open formally at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 19. It will assume regular hours on Sunday, opening at 11 a.m. and closing at 2 a.m.
Most of the restaurants at Disney Springs are fronted by celebrities, including Masaharu Morimoto, Art Smith and Rick Bayless, not to mention the upcoming projects from Wolfgang Puck and Jose Andres.
Miliotes is a rock star in his own right, one of only 249 wine experts worldwide to achieve the designation of master sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers organization.
It's the Bullet Point Buffet, a bulletin of bon mot bonbons.
Oh, cheeseburger, how do I love thee? Let me count the calories. No need if it's a chain restaurant with more than 20 locations nationally. Last week a long-planned law went into effect requiring said qualifying chains to publish calories on their menus. So now there's no escaping the fact that your Quarter Pounder with cheese has a quarter of your daily calories. Informed choices, a good thing. By the way, remember when Houston's in Winter Park changed over to Hillstone? That was to bring the number of Houston's restaurants nationwide below 20, thus escaping the need to put calorie counts on the menu.
Earlier this year, I wrote a review of Cafe Madrid, a Spanish and Cuban restaurant, and made note of its 28-year run, no small feat for a restaurant. A week later, Cafe Madrid closed. And I swear it was a positive review.
I've always had a thing about historic restaurants, often seeking out the longest continuously operated restaurant in whatever city I'm visiting. (Botin, in Madrid, claims the title of oldest restaurant in the world (1725); I wrote a review of it in 2001.) My fascination prompted me to write an article for the Orlando Sentinel in 2005 attempting to discover the longest running restaurant in Central Florida.
Of the six restaurants that I named in that article, only two are still around, including La Cantina, the steakhouse on East Colonial Drive in Orlando, which opened in 1947. (The ownership has changed over the years, but it has always been a "La Cantina.")