TokyoFusion ext

Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine is one of the newer tenants in the repurposed strip mall on the west side of Orlando known as Chinatown. Despite the name, the businesses there represent a panorama of Asian countries and even a few with no connection to the East (unless the Island Taste restaurant’s menu is eastern Jamaica).

Orlando’s Chinatown doesn’t have the allure of the neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco or even London. It isn’t a place to stroll about. But if you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, it is a place you need to visit. Several times.

You may want to include Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine on one of your trips. There isn’t anything particularly fusionistic about the menu, although it does feature poke and a couple of Korean specialities. But that’s not what fusion means. However, I found the ramen part quite enjoyable.



Soco, the southern contemporary restaurant in downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park, is hosting a mezcal tasting dinner on Monday, April 19, at 6 p.m. The evening will include four courses prepared by chef/partner Greg Richie with each course paired with a mezcal from Bozal. If you’re unfamiliar with mezcal and want to learn more about the agave-based nectar, Bozal’s ambassador Eric Timmerman will be on hand. The dinner, which will begin with a welcome cocktail called a Socorita (Bozal Ensamble mezcal, lime, Chartreuse, fresh orange), costs $85 per person. Tickets may be purchased by emailing Soco’s general manager. Bozal, by the way, means wild or untamed, so the evening has great potential.

“You know what we need more of in this town? Chicken nugget fast food chains.”

~ No one. Ever.

Nevertheless, a Louisiana nuggeteria called Raising Cain’s is scouting locations to unload product in Central Florida, as is a Texas franchise called Cowboy Chicken, according to Orlando Business Journal.


GhostKitchen ext

Ghosts tend to set their own schedules. It’s difficult pinning them to show up on a whim, unless, perhaps, you happen to be a spiritual medium. But even then, imagine trying to contact ghosts and getting a message through your Ouija board that they can fit you in tomorrow.

That’s sort of how I felt when I set out to order food from Ghost Kitchen Orlando, a new virtual restaurant operation working out of an industrial park in south Orlando offering pickup and delivery service only. I had already discovered from a previous attempt that the hours of operation were limited – Monday through Friday with pickup between 1 and 5 p.m. But it wasn’t until a few weeks later on my second try after making all my selections on the online ordering site and proceeding to checkout that I learned I would not be clicking to confirm purchase and hopping in my car to fetch the food. That’s because the soonest one can schedule pickup or delivery of food from GKO is for the next day. So much for immediate gratification. (There's an exception, which I'll explain below.)


WP Distillery still with andrew

If Orlando Meats can move to Winter Park there’s no reason Winter Park Distilling Company can’t move to Orlando.

That’s about to happen. WPDC and its companion business, Bear and Peacock Brewery, will vacate the Orange Avenue premises they moved into just four years ago and will become part of a business venture that will feature a food truck park at the corner of Parramore Avenue and Robinson Street. The business is currently working under the name 639 Robinson. Sources said it will have a building with the brewery and distillery plus a cocktail lounge with an outdoors area that will feature "several dozen food trucks on a semi-permanent basis."

Winter Park Distilling’s co-owner Andrew Asher, pictured above in 2017, said Monday that the move will allow the boutique liquor producer to increase its production facilities for both the distillery and the brewery, which operated in Winter Park under the portmanteau Brewstillery. Asher said the Orange Avenue facility’s lease was due to end at the end of this month; the new operation is expected to be open sometime this fall.


East End Exterior

East End Market is planning to convert the large upstairs space that has hitherto been used as an event space into a place for aspiring restaurateurs. EEM’s developer, John Rife, described the concept as being for chefs who are ready to move beyond popups but who aren’t quite ready for a brick-and-mortar restaurant. I hope they’ll consider calling it Purgatory. No timeline has been announced.

  • Congratulations to Orlando Brewing, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this week. OB was one of the area’s first microbrewers, and its only certified organic beer maker, and was well established before the floodgate of small breweries we’ve been seeing for the past several years. Orlando Brewing should be commemorating its 17th year in business. However, just a few months after it opened, in October 2004, the owners were notified that its original location would be taken through eminent domain by the Florida Department of Transportation. You’re driving over where the first brewing facility was if you use the South Street exit off Interstate-4. To show that founder John Cheek has a sense of humor, Orlando Brewing includes I-4 IPA in its portfolio of beers. Specials at the brewery this week.