Fish On Fire has been operating on the lonely corner of Daetwyler Drive and McCoy Road since 2004, though not consistently, and not just because of pandemically forced shutdowns.
In April of 2010, a fire all but destroyed the structure, proving that the gods have a taste for irony. But owners Jay Herrington and John Mitchell rebuilt the restaurant, which sits in front of a motel across from the elevated Beachline Highway, and reopened it in 2011.
Except for the lack of a nearby body of water – Lake Conway Chain of Lakes is about a tenth of a mile away but that doesn’t count – FOF has all the trappings of a classic fish camp, especially in its overt rusticity. I did notice on my recent trip that the floors that were once bare concrete are now tiled, and galvanized buckets have been fashioned into overhead light fixtures, a bit of whimsy that might be considered too precious for an actual fish camp.
This isn’t my first time visiting Sushi Pop in Winter Park, an off-Park offshoot of the original Oviedo restaurant that opened in 2019. For myriad reasons – please check events from the past two years – that review was never published. But I remember thinking at the time that the Winter Park restaurant was a mere shadow of its Oviedo self, both in terms of the quality of the food and the overall experience.
I still feel that way.
When it opened, in 2011, Sushi Pop really did pop. It was fun, not only for the diners who were enjoying having good quality sushi in a part of town that was still inundated with bland American chain restaurants, but also for the staff, who seemed to delight in wearing costumes and sporting wildly colored hair, all while still offering good service.
There is none of that at the Winter Park SP, and maybe it’s no longer the case in Oviedo, either, but I missed it.
It’s Earth Day. But don’t worry if you’re not reading this on Friday, April 22 – all of April is considered Earth Month, too. (If you’re reading this in May, you missed it; and where have you been, anyway?)
And while you might think that a good tie-in for Earth MonthDay for a restaurant would be specials on mud pie or planet-based foods, some are going more flowery. Patina Restaurant Group’s Disney Springs restaurants – Morimoto Asia, The Edison, Maria and Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway and Pizza Ponte – are replacing their conventional coasters and beverage napkins with special paper coasters embedded with wildflower seeds. After you’ve consumed your refreshing beverage, you can take the coaster home and plant it in some dirt (if you’re in a hurry you can take the dirt with you to the restaurant). Then, after the appropriate germination period, lovely flowers will sprout. As far as I can tell, the plantable coasters will only be available during April. Then, presumably, it’s back to the old ones that eventually end up in the landfill.
Also part of Patina’s promotion: specials on Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing and Impossible Burgers. No mention of mud pie.
Also available on Earth Day only, 4 Rivers Smokehouses will be handing out pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds to dine-in customer. Just the seeds; you have to bring your own coaster. And dirt.
After just less than a year, Venoy Rogers III is leaving his post as executive chef at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando to join the Certified Angus Beef brand organization in Wooster, Ohio, near Akron. He will be executive chef for the company, which maintains a culinary center for recipe development and education experiences for chefs and restaurateurs interested in expanding their meat knowledge.
Rogers moved to the downtown hotel and its signature restaurant, the Boheme, last year from the B Resort at Walt Disney World where he oversaw the American Kitchen Bar & Grill. He had been at the B Resort since 2016 and had previously cooked at the Palm Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach and W in San Diego. He is a 2008 graduate of the Culinary Institute of Platt College in North Oklahoma City.
This month’s Local Flavor, the column I do in partnership with The Community Paper, features a recipe from a downtown favorite, Soco Thornton Park.
Soco has become a fixture of downtown dining, thanks to the cuisine of chef/partner Greg Richie. Here he shares the recipe for his Sweet Potato Gnocchi, which is a perfect example of the restaurant’s style of southern contemporary, from which the name Soco is derived.