It was previously announced that celebrity chef Art Smith (Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’) will open a new concept called Sunshine Diner by Chef Art Smith in the still-under-construction Terminal C at Orlando International Airport. Back when we told you about that the projected opening date of the terminal was June, now it’s September. A delay at the airport; who would have guessed.
Now we have news that joining Smith with new venues at MCO will be fellow Disney Springsters George Miliotes and James and Julie Petrakis. Miliotes will have a version of his Wine Bar George there and the Petrakises will duplicate their Cask & Larder already in operation in Terminal 2. You’ll recall that Cask & Larder began its life in Winter Park in the space now occupied by sister restaurant Ravenous Pig. (Or maybe it’s brother restaurant; I didn’t look at the pig that closely.) The Winter Park iteration of C&L faded away when the airport restaurant opened. The Cask & Larder website now touts its “Farm to Terminal Cuisine.”
Also among the food and beverage vendors in the Terminal C-section of the airport – 24 in all – will be Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. and Orange County Brewers. Glad to see the airport putting in some local flavor to balance the inevitable Shake Shacks and Starbucks.
Orange County Brewers is (are?) going to have a busy year. The craft beer-maker has also been named by Dr. Phillips Charities to operate the microbrewery at the also-still-under-construction Packing District, which the organization is building in College Park. Orange County Brewers started out in downtown Orlando five or so years ago then shut off its tanks in the summer of 2019 before opening that fall in Lake Mary.
Talk about a Grand Slam! Local breakfasteria Keke’s has agreed to be purchased by Denny’s for $82.5 million. Keke’s Breakfast Cafe (nee Florida Waffle House) first opened in 2006 in Millenia on Conroy Road; its second location came in 2010 to a former Bakely’s on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park. It currently has 52 restaurants, 44 of which are franchises.
In a totally coincidental note, Kelli Valade, who last month announced she was leaving her post as CEO of Red Lobster after eight months on the job, has been hired as the CEO for Denny’s. I hope they’ve asked her to sign a longterm contract.
The James Beard Foundation’s Taste American culinary series will make a stop at Kabooki Sushi in Orlando this summer. Chef/owner Henry Moso will collaborate with guest chef Taylor Thornhill of Bateau in Seattle. The July 12 multi-course seated dinner is sold out, but hopefuls can put their names on a wait list here.
London House, which opened in March last year as a private club at Dellagio Town Center in the former Urbain 40 space, has decided it doesn’t want to be so private anymore. Its restaurant will open to the public later this month. It will still operate as an exclusive – excuse me, ultra exclusive – club daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., because those are really the hours ultra exclusivity is most appreciated.