Everyone’s excited that La Creperie de Paris is finally opening in the Ratatouille-themed expansion at the France pavilion in Epcot. But there’s even bigger news that no one is talking about because no one knows about it yet. It involves Monsieur Paul, the upscale upstairs restaurant above the busier Chefs de France. Jérôme Bocuse, whose company, JBI, runs the place, gave me the details but told me fermer votre bouche about it. Luckily I don’t know what that means. I'll give you more information soon, but I can tell you that it will still be called Monsieur Paul when it reopens but it will have a new concept.
And here’s a surprise: Spotted in the kitchen at a media preview of La Creperie was Bruno Vrignon, former executive chef for the France pavilion restaurants who was part of the team that opened Epcot. Vrignon retired last year but has come back to help open the restaurant.
Will Vrignon be involved in the new Monsieur Paul concept? On that my bouche is firmly ferme’d. (Details about La Creperie, which is not yet open to the public, soon.)
As long as we’re talking chefs, Hari Pulapaka is now totally divested from Cress, the restaurant he and his wife, Jenneffer, opened 13 years or so ago. Hari, who is also a full-time math professor at Stetson University, had already announced he was stepping away from day-to-day operations last year, but Jenneffer, who is a full-time podiatrist, stayed on as the restaurant’s sommellier. None of this means the Pulapakas are done with food and wine, just with Cress, which remains open under owner Tom Brandt.
I sort of get a kick out of Raglan Road hosting its Great Irish Hooley every Labor Day weekend. Americans co-opted St. Patrick’s Day, making it a bigger celebration in the U.S. than it was in Ireland, so I love that RR is making an American holiday an Irish thing. Hooley just means party, and it will be going on beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and running until the wee hours of Monday. Entertainment, special menu items, and a limited-release craft beer from the Tank Brewing of Miami.
Chevys Fresh Mex has departed its original Central Florida location in Lake Buena Vista and will reopen in the Millenia vicinity. First, though, they have to wait for Duffy’s Sports Grill to move out, which will happen toward the end of the month. Duffy’s is looking for a place to relocate but hasn’t found one yet. Chevys will occupy the space that has also been home to Crave and Village Tavern.
Hunger Street Tacos has opened its second location inside Plant Street Market in Winter Garden.
Perla’s Pizza ended its brief life serving odd pizzas, including one with bananas, last month when collaborators Mike Collantes and Christian Ziegler parted ways. Ziegler has reopened the pizzeria, which is attached to the Thirsty Topher bar in DMZ between Mills 50 and Ivanhoe Village, as Ziggie’s Pizza. (Really, I think they should rename the Virginia Drive area between the two districts, maybe MillVill, or IvanMills. Definitely not MillsHoe.)
Sloppy Joe’s, the Hemingwayward restaurant and bar from Key West will open a franchise at Icon Park on International Drive later this year. So now you don’t have to drive to the Keys to go to a chain restaurant. (Or to Daytona Beach, Treasure Island or Stock Island, where other Sloppies reside.)
FusionFest, the cultural festival that has been hosting mostly-monthly Diversitastic Dining experiences, will visit Peru, or at least Peruvian (and Casselberrian) restaurant Aji Ceviche Bar, Wed., Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. Tickets and other information here.