Newsy Nuggets: Early Magical Dining, and restaurants opening, reopening and planned

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Bigfin togo scallops

As far as we known, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining is still on. Its 15th year addition is scheduled to run from Aug. 28 through Oct. 4. Curiously, no restaurants are yet listed on the VOMaGDi website. I know of at least one restaurant that will be participating this year. In fact, Big Fin Seafood Kitchen is offering its Magical Dining $35 three-course menu beginning (checks calendar) now. You can take a look at BF’s Magical menu here. (The shrimp & scallops Orleans, which I had on a takeout visit, above, is on the menu, so get that.)

Mias gravy

Mia’s Italian Restaurant, which I reviewed shortly before all restaurants were ordered closed, reopens Monday, Aug. 10, for takeout and delivery only.

Vrignon, executive chef at Epcot's France pavilion, retiring

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Bruno Vrignon, executive chef at Epcot’s France pavilion, announced Friday that he was retiring after 38 years.

Vrignon, 61, has been chef at the pavilion since it opened, in 1982. Prior to that, he was chef de partie at Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Collonges-au-Mont-d’or, near Lyon, France. The French restaurants at Epcot, including Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul, are operated by JBI LLC, a company owned by Jerôme Bocuse, the son of the late master chef.

A native of St. Hilaire de Talmont, a village in western France, Vrignon’s first culinary job was preparing meals in a castle for a noble family. He also worked at L’Eaubergarde in Paris under Lucien Ogier and Jean Bordier before joining the Bocuse organization in 1980. He has cooked for the Dalai Lama at a benefit in New York and was the chef for the French team at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Join the staff at Tap Room at Dubsdread for a free Covid-19 test

Written by Scott Joseph on .

covidPhoto courtesy Debbie Goetz, Your Community Paper

It has become de rigueur for restaurant owners to post their Covid-19 policies to assure the dining public of all the steps they’re taking to keep their staff and customers safe. Standard bullet points include requiring masks, gloves for staff, distancing between tables, frequent sanitation of touch points, and taking the temperature of all employees prior to their shift.

Steve Gunter, owner of the Tap Room at Dubsdread, is taking another proactive step: He’s testing every staff member once a week – at no cost to the employee – and he’s inviting members of the public to come in for a free test, too.

Tests are conducted in the ballroom at Dubsdread Monday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. Tests for the public are on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are required and can be made at this link. Gunter said the company administering the tests can handle 300 people.

The medical company, Alliance of Physicians Against Covid-19 (APAC), offers tests for both the presence of Covid-19 with a throat swab (instead of the more invasive nose swab) and for coronavirus antibodies, using a finger prick.

Gunter says Covid-19 test results have been coming back reliably within 72 hours and often as quickly as 48 hours. Antibody results are promised in 24 hours but have been ready in 12 to 15 hours, he said. Samples are tested using area hospitals and labs.

A free test for the virus, results faster than the state is promising, and a cocktail and good food at the Tap Room after. Win, win, win.