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Kavas Logo copy

The owners of two popular International Drive restaurants – the Greek Taverna Opa and the Spanish Tapa Toro – will add another restaurant to their portfolio.

Katerina and Vassilis Coumbaros have announced that KAVAS Tacos + Tequila will open in September 2020 at Pointe Orlando, where Taverna Opa is located. KAVAS, which is a portmanteau of their two first names, will occupy the spaces that previously held Minus5 Ice Bar, Johnny Rockets and other retail space.

“We are excited to bring KAVAS Tacos + Tequila to the locals and travelers alike and are grateful to be able to open our doors once more in Pointe Orlando, where we have already been providing quality hospitality and entertainment for over a decade,” said Katerina.

The restaurant’s menu will pay tribute to Mexico’s rich culinary history and will feature tableside experiences. The bar menu will offer tequila flights and classic margaritas.

The new restaurant will offer dining for 400 guests, inside and outside, and will have private rooms for events.

As with Taverna Opa and Tapa Toro, KAVAS will offer nightly entertainment, encouraging diners to get up and dance.

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, including late night hours on weekends.

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Don Julio dining room

It would seem that the place to be on a Friday night if you live in the area of Chickasaw Trail and Lake Underhill Road is Don Julio’s Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar. At least it seemed that way the Friday evening my companion and I stopped in. The restaurant in the aptly named Rio Pina Plaza was jumping like veritable frijoles saltarines.

It was so crowded that people waiting for tables standing around on the sidewalk outside the strip plaza storefront. The only seats available, the young woman at the host stand told us, were at either of the bars, the tequila bar in the title or the ceviche bar on the other side of the room.

That suited us just fine because it was the ceviche bar that drew my attention to this particular D. Julio’s over the original in Lake Mary or the other location in Waterford Lakes. That’s because the ceviche bar is under the direction of chef Roberto Treviño, a former contestant on variations of the Iron Chef cooking competitions who previously owned El Buda, the Latin and Asian fusion restaurant in an ill-fated (and well hidden) Church Street Station space.

But even with Treviño’s credentials, his association with the Mexican restaurant is not touted very highly. In fact, I didn’t spot his name anywhere on the multipage menu.

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alexs top

Stopped by a pleasant little breakfast and lunch spot in Casselberry the other day called Alex’s Fresh Kitchen.

The Alex of Alex’s Fresh Kitchen is Alexander Diaz. His restaurant is a small storefront in the same compact group of businesses that also holds Palma Maria Italian restaurant and Aladdin’s Middle Eastern Cuisine.

The menu, like the restaurant, isn’t large but has an even balance of morning and noon items, including pancakes, granola and egg croissant for the former and salads sandwiches for the latter.

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Beefy arsonist

Orlando Police have arrested a suspect in the arson fire of the sandwich restaurant Beefy King.

John Cairl Huff III, 36, of Mount Dora, was taken into custody Tuesday night and is being held in Orange County jail. Bond has been set at $3,500.

Huff was apprehended at Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar, which sits across a side street from Beefy King on Bumby Avenue, after staff at the coffee bar called police to report an unruly trespasser. According to a police report, one of Drunken Monkey’s employees reported seeing Huff Monday night behind Beefy King, which is not open evenings, holding lighters. Not literally a smoking gun, but close.

Larry Hardin, co-owner of the business, said Wednesday that Huff “had been hanging around our place for several weeks,” and that he had asked him to leave several times because he was making people feel uncomfortable. Hardin also said that Huff seemed to be high or intoxicated. On Monday night, before the fire, Hardin said he told staff to let him know if Huff was still hanging around when the coffee bar closed for the night and he would call police. Instead, Huff was seen lying on the sidewalk in front of the business.

“When I heard about the fire he was the first person I thought of,” Hardin said.

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Beefy King sign

Beefy King door

Orlando Fire Department is investigating an early morning fire at popular sandwich restaurant Beefy King as a possible arson. The fire, which occurred in the early morning hours of Tues., Nov. 12, started outside the Milk District restaurant and was contained before it could spread inside, said owner Roland Smith. However, because of damage to the kitchen and interior caused while extinguishing the blaze, the restaurant is currently closed.

Smith said he received a call from OFD at about 1:30 a.m. saying that firefighters were onsite dealing with a fire in progress. As he approached the Bumby Avenue restaurant around 2 a.m., he said the building was covered in smoke. Smith describes the scene in the video below.