Kadence, a finalist for Best Sushi, receives Best Overall Award

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Kadence award

I stopped by Kadence to present owners Mark Berdin, Jennifer Bañagale and Lordfer Lalicon, above, the Gold Best Restaurant Overall Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

And the occasion is a reminder that voting ends Tuesday, June 18, for the Best Sushi Foodster category. (Kadence is one of the finalists for that award, too.)

If you haven't already submtted your ballot, go to the Foodster Award page and place your vote.

Copper Canyon Grill closes; Brazilian steakhouse set to move in

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Rodizio Grill Orlando Rendering

Copper Canyon Grill served its last Big Meatloaf Stack in Orlando Wednesday night. The small Maryland based restaurant has closed its Pointe Orlando location after 12 years.

A new tenant, Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian steakhouse, has already signed on to take over the space.

Erick Cooper, Copper Canyon Grill’s director of operations, said Thursday that the company’s lease was up at the end of June, and after initially considering renewing the lease, the company chose to close instead. Cooper said that managers at the Orlando location knew about the decision a few days ago; the rest of the 45-person staff found out Wednesday evening. “It all actually happened fast,” Cooper said.

First look at the new Wally's

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Wally new bar

FIRST ON SJO -- Wally’s Mills Avenue Liquors is scheduled to reopen later this month with a new owner and a refreshed look. Yes, some of the old wallpaper is still there but much of it was crumbling after years of damage from cigarette smoke.

What remains will have a better chance of surviving for years to come because of one major policy change: The new Wally’s will be a nonsmoking bar.

That may disappoint many of the barflies that sat on the stools around the three-sided bar chain smoking and sipping the notoriously stiff cocktails. But it should also delight others who wanted to patronize the popular bar but decided they didn’t want to damage their lungs along with their livers.

There’s something else you should know about the new Wally’s: it is no longer a dive bar.

It’s actually kind of gorgeous.

Bullet Point Buffet: Tacos for a cause and a better burger

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Pulse foundationMX logo

  • MX Taco will donate the day’s profits on June 12 to the One Pulse Foundation in commemoration of the anniversary of the massacre. It’s a nice thing to do.

American Kitchen Burger

  • Central Florida is well represented in this year’s Blended Burger Project, which challenges restaurants to create a burger that uses chopped mushrooms with beef. The Mushroom Council is a sponsor of the event. The goal is a more healthful and sustainable burger. American Kitchen Bar & Grill has submitted an entry called La Vaca Trufa (the truffle cow), with house-ground angus beef and Kissimmee River Mushrooms (pictured). The Ravenous Pig’s entry is the Duxelle Burger, with shiitake duxelles blended with short rib and brisket. Other’s from the area include: Cedar’s Cafe, Melbourne; Bearded Chef Food Truck, Palm Bay; Coasters Taphouse, Cocoa Beach; Darci's Bacon Blues, Cape Canaveral; Ember & Oak, Melbourne; The Nomad Cafe, Melbourne; North by South Bistro, Satellite Beach; Playalinda Brewing Company - Brix Project, Titusville; Pompano Grill, Cocoa Beach; and The Snug Pub and Eatery, Cocoa. All the restaurants are featuring their blended burgers on their menus. You can vote for your favorite at the Blended Burger Project website through July 31. The 25 restaurants receiving the most votes will advance to the finals to be judged by a “panel of experts,” who will evaluate the burgers based on culinary creativity, best flavor profile and presentation, though it is not apparent if the judges will actually taste the burgers. Did I mention the competition is co-sponsored by the James Beard Foundation?

Sagamore Flyer copy

  • Soco restaurant in downtown’s Thornton Park is hosting a collaborative dinner with Sagamore Spirit Master Distiller on Tuesday, June 25. Pre-dinner drinks (whiskey based, of course) will be served at 6:30 p.m. A five-course dinner by chef/partner Greg Richie will follow. Cost is $95 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reserve your spot by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..