Congratulations to Tornatore’s Pizzeria and Cafe. The popular College Park restaurant, which also recently opened an Italian market next door, is celebrating its 12th anniversary this weekend. The Dodici Party will be Saturday and Sunday and guests who spend at least $40 dining in will get a complimentary take-home meal from the market. I’m going to stop by and I plan to stock up on several of the takeout dinners because, as I wrote in a review when the market opened, they’re pretty damn good. Reservations are required. Call 407-292-2248.
A franchise described as a “marijuana-themed sandwich” restaurant will open Monday in east Orlando near UCF (go figure). It’s called Cheba Hut, because Toasted was taken. Orlandoan Tim Brashear is the franchisee along with his future in-laws Jean and Bill McCarthy. There is no pot in the food, mind you; the menu is inspired by the sorts of foods one might crave after indulging. Oddly, hash is not on the menu, but you’ll find sandwiches called Dank, Pacific Blue and Kush among others. I have to admit I don’t know the significance of the name Cheba Hut. But hey, the Estefans aren’t using the name Bongos anymore; maybe that would be better. You’ll find the new joint at 12100 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando. Stop in and have a discussion about the existentialism of sandwich making.
Gnarly Barley, which also would be a better name than Cheba Hut, will be leaving its South Orange Avenue hut for a space in the Ivanhoe Village district. Not until the fall, however.
The winner of last week’s drawing was a no show, so I’ve put the $50 gift certificate to Tap Room at Dubsdread back in the hopper and we’ll have another drawing this weekend. If you get my weekly News from the Flog eletter, you’re entered to win. If not, sign up here.
Before the shutdown, back in October of 2019, we announced that Thornton Park resident and onetime Burton’s bartender Brian Minkel had purchased the former Dexter’s of Thornton Park to install an as-of-then unnamed new restaurant and drinking establishment. Not surprisingly, that isn’t going to happen. Instead, Todd Ulmer and Wendy Connor will open the 808, a Hawaiian themed restaurant. (The area code for Hawaii is 808.) Ulmer is the owner of several bars in the area, including Stardust Lounge and Aku Aku. Connor operates the Abbey event space. Daniel Weber will develop the menu. No date, maybe summer.
I would have lost money if someone had taken my bet that Shin Jung Korean Restaurant would not reopen, at least not in the structure that caught on fire and closed the Mills 50 restaurant in June of 2019. A big orange sticker slapped on the front door announcing the building as condemned didn’t bode well. But nearly two years later, Shin Jung is ready to start serving again soon. And judging from the photos posted on its Facebook page, like the one above, it looks better than before. Seems to have a more open feel to it. Opening date hasn’t been announced, but spring, the season we’re currently in, is the projection.
I’ve been double dosed with the Moderna vaccine and I’m ready to get back out there. I find it curious that some people are still hesitant to get the vaccine, which will become available to all Florida adults over 18 beginning the day after Easter. They’re balking even though being vaccinated helps protect them and the people around them and makes it almost 100 percent sure that even if they were to still contract the virus, they would not become seriously ill or be hospitalized. And the more people to become vaccinated the closer we get to herd immunity, which will allow everything to get back to normal sooner rather than later. Plus, the vaccine is free. And still some are reluctant. Now Krispy Kreme has announced that it will give a free donut to anyone who can show proof of vaccination.
That should do it.