I told you last month that there would be new restaurants -- one with Southwestern cuisine and another with Italian -- in, respectively, the former Graze and Fifi’s Patisserie/Sanctuary Diner spaces on South Eola Drive. I can now give you the specifics: the Funky Monkey gang is expanding their portfolio with Prickly Pear and Nick’s Italian Kitchen. Both are slated for a summer opening.
Eddie Nickell and Nicholas Olivieri have signed the agreement to take over the restaurant spaces on the ground floor of the Sanctuary condominiums.
Prickly Pear will be Southwestern, but Nickell is quick to correct anyone who equates that with Tex-Mex. “Prickly Pear is something totally new to Central Florida,” say Nickell, “think Bobby Flay, not Mexican. With dishes ranging from a mouth-watering Smoked Duck Quesadilla to 22-oz Cowboy Steaks, Tequila Grilled Shrimp on Corn Cakes with Chipotle Butter to Corn and Jalapeno Fritters and our signature Prickly Pear Margaritas. This is true American cuisine from the frontier southwest.”
Nick’s Italian Kitchen will draw on Olivieri’s heritage and the menu will feature his family’s recipes and cuisine representing all regions of Italy.
Nickell and Olivieri own two Funky Monkey Wine Company restaurant, Bananas Diner -- and another under construction at Pointe Orlando -- and the recently opened Vault wine and gift shop on Mills Avenue. In addition, Nickell is the president of the Central Florida chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.