It’s certainly the most atmospheric restaurant around.
Ava MediterrAegean, the new Park Avenue restaurant from Miami’s Mila Group, didn’t just take over the Luma On Park space, it transformed it. The design, by Olya Volkova of OV & Co., features massive archways of sunwashed Venetian plaster, geometric wall sculptures, wood slats over the still-open kitchen, and upholstered furniture and table lamps that invoke a homey feeling.
LONDON – The Wolseley looks to be a very old, established London restaurant, but in truth it’s only been around since 2003.
The ornately appointed building it occupies, however, is another matter. It’s provenance goes back a hundred years, still young by British standards, when it opened as, of all things, a car showroom. But the cars weren’t selling very well in 1926 and company went bankrupt. So a bank moved in, Barclay’s, to be precise, and occupied it until the turn of the century.
Mediterranean Blue, the little Greek cafe in the SoDo district that opened almost exactly 12 years ago, will close on Friday, May 27. Owner Bob Givoglu posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, “After sustaining Mediterranean Blue with a small, dedicated team (even through a global pandemic), and winning multiple awards from our Orlando foodie community, I have made the difficult decision to bid farewell to Mediterranean Blue!” Givoglu opened the restaurant with his sister Gail, who died in 2015. The restaurant took over the space that had been home to Theo’s Kitchen since the beginning of time when Theo’s moved to a new location on Curry Ford Road. The Givoglus spruced the place up nicely and offered good food based on their mother’s recipes. Givoglu said in the Facebook post that an announcement regarding the small building’s next chapter would be made soon.
Chicken Guy!, the fast feeder project of Orlando’s Robert Earl and the world’s Guy Fieri, is now offering breakfast at its new location in Winter Park on Orlando Avenue’s unofficially named Chicken Strip. Menu items include a sweet and savory Maple Butter Pancake Tender Sandwich; Chicken, Egg & Cheese; Bacon, Egg & Cheese; and Sausage, Egg & Cheese. Breakfast items are available 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Landmark ice cream stand Goff’s Drive-In was damaged in a fire Friday and is closed. The fire is under investigation and is believed to have started in a restroom. There were no injuries.
The stand, at 212 S. Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, opened in June 1948 and is one of the oldest food operations in town. David Porter, a former colleague of mine from the Orlando Sentinel, reminisced on Facebook that when Goff’s opened, its owner allowed Black and white customers to order from the same counter. “The KKK warned him,” wrote Porter, “but when he persisted, the ‘Bed Sheet Boys’ blew up the ice-cream stand one night in 1951 (around the same time they killed Harry and Harriette Moore in Mims).”
Barnie's in 2014 when it carried the CoffeeKitchen name (via Facebook).
Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., the Central Florida-based caffieneator, is planning to execute a redo of the cafe concept on Park Avenue. According to Scott Uguccioni, chief sales and marketing officer, it should happen “sometime later this year,” but few other details are available right now. He did say that one of the things they’re finalizing involves menu details, so I’m guessing that food will still be a part of this refresh.
It was almost 11 years ago that Barnie’s launched its CoffeeKitchen concept at the Winter Park location with an ambitious plan to offer food along with its popular line of coffees and teas. They even eventually hired the estimable chef Camilo Velasco as the company’s executive chef, who did in fact produce some delicious food items.
But for some reason, the concept never caught on, and CoffeeKitchen was dropped from the name. (Velasco, of course, moved on to 1921 by Norman Van Aken, then to Ravenous Pig and is now at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.)
So what will be different this time? Can’t wait to find out. But I’m guessing that with so many Foxtails, Lineages, Credos and other upstarts to contend with, a rejuvenation of the 42-year-old company’s brand is in order.
A few years ago while I was dining at Paul Bocuse in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or outside Lyon, a couple walked through the dining room wearing shorts. They had just changed out of the long pants they had dined in, so at least the (then) three-starred restaurant’s staff had required them to change. But the gentleman had not worn a jacket during the meal, something that would have been unheard of in the past (and maybe had something to do with Michelin dropping a star from the restaurant’s most recent rating).
At Daniel in New York last December, the people in the group I was hosting with Art In Voyage had all dressed appropriately, the gentlemen not only wearing the required jackets but ties, to boot (and no boots). But at another table, a group of twenty-somethings sat wearing felt crowns (think Jughead from the Archie comics) that would have looked just right at a Burger King but not in one of Manhattan’s toniest dining rooms. When I passed the host stand on the way to the men’s room, I asked the maitre d’, “What’s up with the crowns?” I thought maybe he hadn’t noticed, but he just shrugged and said they were just being festive. I told him I thought it was odd.
It was also disruptive and changed the dynamic of the dining room.
I’m getting really excited about the trip to New York City I’m hosting in conjunction with Art In Voyage – Beyond Travel. It’s just two weeks away and I’m anxious to see the city in all of its holiday splendor again and to share it with others.
And I’m even more excited to announce that because this trip proved to be so popular, we’ve already scheduled another New York trip for December 2022.