Trina Propst and her wife, Va, owners of Se7en Bites, the popular bakery on Primrose Avenue, are planning a new Italian restaurant called Sette. Trina Propst said the restaurant will have a "rustic flair" and serve authentic cuisine. "If your mother was Italian," she said, "these are the dishes she would feed you even if you just ate."
That's exciting news all by itself, but the really interesting thing is that the Propsts plan to open the restaurant in downtown Orlando and be the first new business to take advantage of the liquor law exemption passed by the Florida legislature earlier this year.
The exemption, you'll recall, allows smaller restaurants within a defined area to obtain a license that allows them to serve a full cocktail menu. Currently, restaurants must have the capacity to serve at least 150 customers at one time and occupy a space of at least 2,500 square feet to be able to serve full liquor, or purchase a license for approximately $300,000.
The exemption, which I wrote about here, allows restaurants with a minimum of 80 seats and at least 1,800 square feet to serve full liquor.
Members of the city's Downtown Development Board sought the exemption to encourage restaurateurs to open new boutique restaurants in downtown Orlando. The ability to serve full alcohol rather than just beer and wine will allow them to compete with the many freestanding bars, some of which serve food.
Since the bill was signed in March, only one existing restaurant, Maxine's on Shine, has taken advantage of the exemption and now serves cocktails.
Propst says the couple are considering several venues, some that are existing restaurants and some that would require a more extensive buildout. The timing for an opening will depend on which location they choose.