Chef Watch: News from Apopka, North Quarter and the Waterfront

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Harold Henderson

North Quarter Tavern and Matt Wall, the eager young chef who opened the restaurant almost two years ago, have parted ways.

Taking over the NQT kitchen is Harold Henderson. His name should be familiar to anyone who’s been following Central Florida chef migrations over the years. Henderson has cooked at K with Kevin Fonzo and with Jaime McFadden at barJme. When Steve Saelg, the late owner of Crooked Spoon in Clermont, was first diagnosed with cancer, Henderson took over the kitchen there. Recently he had been the chef at Kabooki Sushi, and many years ago he was at Citrus. So now he’s back in the same neighborhood.

(Of course Citrus is no longer in the neighborhood. It’s being transformed into Reyes. I’ll have a sneak peek for you soon.)

Henderson, pictured at top, had been working at NQT for several months when management asked him to take over the helm. He said he is making minor changes to the menu but his main focus is to make the business run more efficiently.

As for Wall, he took some time off and is now working with a group of people to open a restaurant in the former Julie’s Waterfront space.

Oh, I should probably mention that Julie’s Waterfront has closed.

As I mentioned in an updated review last June, Julie’s owner had slapped on some paint on the outside and did some landscaping in what appeared to be an attempt to woo some of the customers that Vanbarry’s, just across Orange Avenue and up the hill, had taken away. Inside, it didn’t seem like much had changed.

Anyway, the new owners will do some sprucing inside and out (I’m guessing that bright yellow on the exterior is going away) and reopen it as simply the Waterfront.

Up in Apopka, Ed Hollingsworth, the chef and owner of Chuck Wagon Homecooking has taken over the operations at Taverna Italiano at Rock Springs Ridge. He will also be executive chef there.