Newsy Nuggets: Good deeds, moving chefs, new restaurants and a closing

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I’ve often marveled at the generosity of the Central Florida culinary community and its willingness to donate, volunteer and participate in good causes. But here’s a new level of compassion.

Beginning this month, restaurants are participating in an ongoing Dementia-friendly Dining program, wherein family members and caregivers can bring people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to dine in a safe and welcoming environment. The program was founded by Dennis Dulniak, who was caregiver for his wife, Nancy. Dulniak started Dementia-friendly Dining a few years ago but had to suspend it when the pandemic hit. Nancy Dulniak died in January 2021.

But Dulniak is restarting the program so others can benefit. As it says on the organization’s website, “Sharing a meal out of the house reduces isolation, increases social contact, encourages opportunities for engagement, stimulation, communication and creates memories that will be shared among families and friends.”

The Meatball Stoppe had been one of the first restaurants to sign on before Covid-19 hit and is once again offering dementia-friendly hours from 2 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays beginning May 10.

Oviedo’s Town House Restaurant will welcome families on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. beginning May 4.

And Patio Grill in Sanford will have Dementia-friendly dining every second Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning May 10.

It’s a start, but of course more restaurants are wanted and needed. If you’re a restaurateur and would like to learn how you can offer special dining hours – or if you’re a caregiver who would like to learn more about the program – visit centralfloridadementia-friendlydining.com.

Musical Chefs...Alberto Taboada was named executive chef for the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes in March. He oversees the newly reopened Primo by Chef Melissa Kelly, Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen, and Knife Burger by John Tesar, which is now officially open, as well as other culinary operations. Taboada replaced Michael Dunton, who has been named executive chef at Rosen Shingle Creek.

Ga 2 To, a Vietnamese coffee shop, has opened in Mills 50 at 1216 E. Colonial Drive. It specializes in egg coffee and chicken noodle soup. So which comes first, the egg coffee or the chicken soup?

Speaking of chicken, Chick’nCone, a Ft. Lauderdale fast-feeder, has opened at 501 N. Orlando Ave., effectively extending Winter Park’s unofficial Chicken Strip district farther north. It’s fried chicken pieces served in a waffle cone.

The delightfully named SoDough Square, in the SoDo district, of course, has opened. It specialized in Detroit style pizza, hence the square in its name, and is from the owner of Tin & Taco, which is next door. Obviously still working out some details, such as publishing an address on its website, so I’ll tell you it’s at 419 E. Michigan St.

Here’s another clever name: Naan Stopp. It’s currently in private preview phase but should be serving its Indian food full time soon. Whether it will serve nonstop, or even nonstopp, I can’t say. It’s taking over the space that had been the area’s original Humbl in Windermere.

The Steer, the steakhouse that moved into the former Pizza Hut hut that was the longtime home of Bauern Stube, has closed. It had opened in 2019.

And speaking of steaks, Orlando based LongHorn Steakhouse recently named Gayle Dudley, a cook in one of its Georgia restaurants, a “Grill Master Legend” after she grilled her one millionth steak. No telling how many she could have cooked if everyone hadn’t ordered the steaks well done.

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