News and stuff:
The Boathouse and Drake’s bar are now open in the former Le Cordon Bleu and Harper’s Tavern building at 565 W. Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park. That’s a reference for old-timers: the space most recently was occupied by an O’boys barbecue joint. The Boathouse, the restaurant side of the operation, is serving the lunch menu all day for now; it will add the dinner menu soon. Drake’s bar is already cranking up with live bands on its new stage. Stop in and take a look.
Chinatown has closed. That won’t be a surprise to anyone who read my recent review. I had stopped in because I had noticed a banner on the outside of the building on Mills Avenue that said the restaurant had recently reopened. In my review, I noted that the closing was not for remodeling -- or to get rid of a pervasive musty smell.
Le Rouge, a new tapas and wine bar on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row is now officially open. You’ll find it between Seasons 52 and Roy’s, but not in the just-vacated Le Nuova Cucina space.
Watch for a new restaurant in downtown Orlando called Pine 22. Hmmm, could that mean 22 E. Pine St.? That was the address of Black Olive, and that burger bar that lasted several days. My sources tell me that Kathleen Blake is involved. Blake was previously chef at Primo. Most recently she was attached to Urban Flats.
The Shipyard Brew Pub, now apparently called Shipyard Emporium, will open “around New Year’s,” might be sooner, might be later, I’m told. The bar and cafe will serve small batches of beer brewed on the premises. Those premises are the former Strollo’s Cucina Due (and the original site of Dexter’s of Winter Park) at 200 W. Fairbanks Ave.
Shortly after Shipyard opens, it will have new neighbors on the corner of Fairbanks and New York. Heather McPherson reported last week that Hot Olives will move from its current location in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square to the unoccupied Ole Ole space.
Porkie’s, the Apopka barbecuery, is opening a store in Clermont. It will be in the Citrus Tower Shopping Center. No date yet.
Matteo’s, the New York Italian restaurant, has opened at 5350 International Drive. I’ll have more about that soon.
Speaking of International Drive, kudos to the restaurants that were touted in Sunday’s Travel Section of the New York Times. Funky Monkey Wine Company got particularly good press. It was refreshing to see a Times story that looked beyond chain restaurants for a change. Little steps, folks, little steps.