Rosa Mexicano, an “elevated fiesta” chain that originated on New York’s Upper East Side, will open at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort after the first of the year. It will take over the space in the Dolphin currently occupied by Fresh Mediterranean Market, which serves a breakfast buffet. Rosa Mexicano was founded by Josepfina Howard in 1984 and claims to be the first New York City restaurant to offer Mexican food in a fine dining atmosphere. It currently has several Manhattan locations including one at Lincoln Center.
The restaurant’s website says that its interiors feature water walls designed by David Rockwell that pay homage to Acapulco cliff divers. The Dolphin-based RM will occupy 5,500 square feet and seat 300 guests. There will also be a bar that seats 30 and a private room that can accommodate 50 people.
Sean Verney, area general manager of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, said in a statement: “Rosa Mexicano is the perfect partner to enhance our current dining options. We pride ourselves on offering the best quality restaurant experiences for our hotel guests as well as local Orlando residents, and Rosa Mexicano delivers on that promise.” It will join the resorts’ collection of restaurants that include Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s bluezoo, and Il Mulino, another Manhattan export.
As long as we’re talking about New York, Thai Farm Kitchen, a Brooklyn restaurant that opened a second location in College Park last year, has ceased its Orlando operations. It had moved into the former RusTeak space when that restaurant relocated to Thornton Park. TFK had many fine critiques, though I would rate mine as tepid. It had been open less than a year. By all appearances, the Brooklyn location lives on.
Also in College Park, El Vic’s, which presented itself as a “global cuisine” restaurant but excelled in Indian dishes, closed its doors. Its life was relatively longer than Thai Farm Kitchen’s but still less than two years.
Remember when it was announced that Pups Pub, a Tampa bar that allows owners to bring their dogs inside, would open in downtown Orlando and you wondered how they would get around the state laws that prohibit non-service animals in restaurants and bars? Yeah, well, funny story. OK, not funny if you’re the owner of the pub and had state health inspectors come by to explain what the phrase “no dogs allowed” means. Frankly, not allowing dogs inside a bar – or a restaurant for that matter – is one of those nanny-state rules that seem unnecessary. Anyone who’s dined in a Paris cafe frequented by locals or sipped in a British pub has undoubtedly discovered a dog sitting quietly at its owners feet. It never bothered me but then I’m a dog person. Now that Cat Cafe concept? They should definitely shut that down.
We still have a few official days of summer, Halloween is six weeks away, I haven’t even sent out the request for Thanksgiving dining listings, but sweet baby Jesus I’m already getting notices for “breakfast with Santa” events. Too soon for that. But it does make me wonder how state officials could allow someone with so much fur and hair to dine inside a Florida restaurant.