Pointe Orlando, the entertainment and shopping complex on International Drive, is certainly going through a transitional phase. As I reported in April, Tommy Bahama, both the retail store and the restaurant, has closed. Word on the street, or the Drive, as it were, is that Parker Restaurant Group of Chicago is looking at the space, possibly for a Hampton Social, one of its three restaurant brands.
Rachel Morgan, marketing manager for the Parker, would only verify that the company is opening a Hampton Social in Naples. Pointe Orlando's marketing manager, Joanne Helbourg, said in a phone interview Friday that no deal had been signed as yet. She also could not confirm that it was Hampton Social that was under consideration. Parker Restaurant Group also has the Bassment (presumably pronounced basement) and Mahalo, each with one location.
Although its only locations are currently in the Chicago area, The Hampton Social, according to the restaurant's website, "is a restaurant hotspot that evokes East Coast living in every aspect." The menu is heavy on seafood selections, including "Hampton favorites" Lobster Roll, Fish Tacos and Fish & Chips.
There are currently two locations in the Chicago area with a third to open this summer and another in 2019. The Naples location would be the first outside of Chicago. Or maybe the Pointe Orlando one will beat it.
If the rumors are true.
Other rumors: With Hopdoddy Burger Bar going into the old Funky Monkey Wine Company space -- you knew that it closed, didn't you? -- speculation is that Johnny Rockets' days might be numbered.
Also, the Minus 5 Degrees ice bar may not survive this summer's heat.
Another sushi concept is slated to go into the vacated Ra Sushi space -- you knew that it had closed, didn't you? You knew that there was such a thing as Ra Sushi, right? According to sources, there was a different sushi maker all lined up but it backed out.