Central Florida’s infatuation with food halls continues, the newest, Marketplace at Avalon Park, scheduled to open sometime in April. Ten businesses have been announced for the opening: Brazas Chicken; Bowigens Beer Company; LemonShark Poke; Rosso Specialty Coffee; Sip and Roll; BBQ50 BBQ; Rosso Specialty Coffee; NOLA Avalon Park; KBBQ Kitchen (Korean); and Cheese To Share (a concept I need to work on).
MAP joins about a dozen other food halls in the works – Mark Baratelli of The Daily City has compiled a good list of them. Two of the halls, in downtown Orlando, will be about a half a block from each other, Bumby Arcade Food Hall and South Orange Provisions Food Hall.
- Burger King chose International Women’s Day to publish an ad proclaiming “Women belong in the kitchen,” which caused a ruckus on Twitter Monday. The ad was meant to promote the fast fooder’s culinary scholarship program for aspiring female chefs – whether they want to work at a Burger King or “any other kitchen in the world.” But some were questioning the optics of the message and wondered why they just didn’t rename the business Burger Queen. If they really want to be upset about something you’d think that it might be that women get one day of recognition and frozen yogurt gets a whole week.
- Ivanhoe Vllage will host Sip Into Spring on Mar. 27 from 5 to 9 p.m. Wines from Tim’s Wine Market will be poured at about 20 locations throughout the district. Cost is $50 per person. Purchase tickets and reserve your reusable wine glass here.
- Main Street America is excepting applications for its Backing Historic Small Restaurants grant, which will award $1 million to 25 “historic and culturally significant” restaurants throughout the United States. Although sponsored by Main Street America, the applicants need not be located in a Main Street district. They do, however have to have operated and contributed to their neighborhoods for at least 25 years. Other criteria and links to the application at SavingPlaces.org.
Cafe Italiano might have qualified for the grant money. Anyone who has lived in Central Florida for more than 10 years will remember the small restaurant on Semoran Boulevard, which closed in 2012. The building is now occupied by Capadoccia.
The restaurant opened in 1965 and was owned and operated for more than 40 years by Salvatore and Antoinette Lauro and then by their son James. When it closed, it was one of the area’s oldest restaurants.
Sal Lauro died Feb. 23 at the age of 84.
When Cafe Italiano opened it was on Lake Barton Road. It didn’t move – the name of the road was changed a few years later to Semoran, a portmanteau of the counties it traversed, Semoran and Orange. James Lauro, who wasn’t even born when his parents opened the restaurant, once told me that he remembered Semoran in the early 1980s still lined with pine trees.
Condolences to the Lauro family and especially to Antoinette, Sal’s wife of 60 years.