Sixty Vines, a Texas based concept, opened its fourth location, the first outside Texas, at Lakeside Crossing in Winter Park on March 17. That was, you’ll recall, the same day the state of Florida ordered restaurants to operate at no more than 50 percent capacity and just days before they were ordered to cease all on-premises dining.
I’ve heard of soft openings before but this one must have been positively flaccid.
In just a little over 10 years it has grown from two Central Florida locations – first near the Mall at Millenia then on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park – to a franchise with nearly 50 restaurants throughout the state.
It didn’t start out as Keke’s, you may remember. That first restaurant on Conroy Road was originally called Florida Waffle House, and that opened more like circa 2007. But of course that name was eventually challenged. So the owners, brothers Keith and Kevin Mahen, took their shared first two initials and cobbled them into Keke’s.
I hadn’t visited a Keke’s since 2010 when I reviewed the one on Fairbanks Avenue (which had previously been Bakely’s). So when I decided recently that I wanted a big breakfast, including pancakes, but not the cleanup (or the trouble), I gave a call to the location at Conway Avenue and Curry Ford Road in Orlando.
As more people in Central Florida test positive for COVID-19, restaurants and bars are reexamining their business model – again – and more are choosing to voluntarily close temporarily or to end on-site dining and return to offering takeout and delivery.
After a spate of notices of restaurant closings, it’s nice to announce come openings.
Bovine, the long-anticipated replacement for Park Plaza Gardens has finally opened. The steakhouse is part of the JM Hospitality Group, owners of the 310 restaurants and blu on the avenue, the lowercased concept across the street.
I checked my notes and saw that I first wrote that Bovine was planned for this space in February of 2018. At that time, I asked JM’s Joanne McMahon what type of steakhouse Bovine would be and she said: "I don't like to say high end because that scares people away. Say high quality instead.”
I was surprised to see a couple of vegan selections on the menu. But considering a petite filet goes for $42 and the dry aged ribeye for $72, some diners may decide to go vegan on the spot. (The Beyond chili is just $12.)