Ava opens, a wine shop returns, new tenant in former Marlow's, and a brawl at the buffet.
Ava MediterrAgean, the restaurant that has taken over the Luma on Park space, officially opens today, Feb. 4. But if Thursday evening’s preview event was any indication, I’d give them some time to get acclimated. I’m thinking maybe August.
Thursday’s event was supposed to be from 6 to 9 p.m. with some sort of a presentation for media at 6. About 20 minutes after 6, a large crowd was still queued up on the sidewalk in front of the newly renovated restaurant and weren't being let in. If there was a presentation or announcement, I didn’t hear it. My only guess for the delay was that it was a South Beachy sort of technique to convey exclusivity. I’d love to tell you what the place looked like once I got in but there were so many people crammed inside that I couldn’t get a good look or photograph.
One observation: those horrible automatic bathroom doors have been replaced with ones you have to pull to open.
Food, wine and cocktails were being passed around, but I bolted.
Just across the avenue and a half a block away, next door to the lovely BoVine restaurant, there’s a new wine shop called Vin-Tage Vault. The shop is open and operational but it doesn’t yet have a website. In fact, you can’t even Google any information about it to get an address or phone number. But I did some digging and discovered it is owned by Joann McMahon, who also owns BoVine, 310 Park South and blu on the avenue.
As for that address, it’s 323 S. Park Ave. If you’re a newbie to the area – that is, you’ve only been here for a couple of decades – you only know that as a former Lucky Brand clothing store. But old-timers will remember it as the address of Park Avenue Wine and Cheese Cellar, which opened in 1973 and for many years was one of the few serious wine shops in the area. So it’s pretty cool to have a wine shop back in that space. (You can find Lucky Brand clothes in plenty of other places.)
Let’s stay in the Park Avenue area for this next nugget, at least for a moment. You’ll recall (even if you’re a newbie) that there was a restaurant on Morse Boulevard called Proper & Wild that was from the same owners as Sanctum Cafe in Orlando, Chelsie and Jamie Savage. Both restaurants closed in 2020 after Jamie was accused of improper behavior. The couple also divorced.
Now Chelsie DiPaolo is apparently reemerging and is taking over the former Marlow’s Tavern on Orlando Avenue (we can leave Park Avenue now) where a cryptic “She’s back...XOXO” sign has been placed. No word on concept, name or timing.
The Sentinel’s Amy Drew Thompson reports changes at Milkhouse, which is so new it hasn’t even reached its “sell by” date. Bruno Zacchini, the Pizza Bruno owner who had created Cicchetti by Bruno and Bagel Bruno for the Milk District food hall, has left the endeavor. The bagels are gone totally and the other entity is now known simply as Cicchetti Kitchen. I wonder how long this has been in the works, because when I wrote about Milkhouse in December I noted that it was being called Cicchetti Kitchen in some references already.
Celebrity chef Art Smith of Homecomin’ restaurant in Disney Springs will open a restaurant at Orlando International Airport called Sunshine Diner. It will be located in Terminal C, which is expected to open around June.
Finally, a Golden Corral in Bensalem, Penn., was the sight of a melee last Friday that apparently started after the buffet ran out of steak. Or someone cut in line. Or someone cut in line and took the last piece of steak. No one is quite sure. But video posted on line shows a crowd of about 40 people throwing tables and chairs and wielding high chairs to hit other people. (No babies were in the chairs at the time.) “I’ve never seen nothing like that in a Golden Corral before,” said someone who may be new to Golden Corrals.
But seriously, if you get enraged because a place runs out of meat, maybe it’s time to consider going vegetarian.