Norman Van Aken has ended his partnership with the owners of the Mount Dora restaurant that bears his name. Or bore his name. 1921 by Norman Van Aken will now be known as 1921 Mount Dora.
The restaurant had been a collaboration between the celebrated chef and Donna Brown and Ken Mazik, who are also the owners of the Mount Dora Modernism Museum that is located across the street. Artwork and furniture from the museum’s collection are used throughout the restaurant.
A joint statement released by the restaurant read: “After a tremendous two-year run, chef Norman Van Aken and his partners at 1921 in Mount Dora have decided to part ways with much respect and admiration.”
The dissolution of the partnership was first reported by Faiyaz Kara of the Orlando Weekly.
General manager Adam Crane said by phone Wednesday afternoon that nothing about the restaurant is expected to change. Camilo Velasco will remain chef de cuisine and the menu is not expected to change.
One wonders if the split was sudden or at least thought through. The name has been changed on the restaurant’s Facebook page but Van Aken’s name is still listed under the culinary team heading. And then there’s the website — 1921nva.com. Seems that will have to go, too.
Van Aken retains ownership in two Florida restaurants, Three, a Miami restaurant and cooking school that just celebrated its first anniversary, and Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Resort in Orlando.