Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining promotion raised $186,805 for the designated charities this year.
The majority of the funds were distributed to The Able Trust, an organization that assists people with disabilities in obtaining employment. This year Visit Orlando also donated $2000 to one local nonprofit supporting workforce development in each of Orange County’s six commission districts. They included: BIG SIS, Inc.; Central Florida Urban League; HOPE CommUnity Center; PACE Center for Girls; Rebuild Self Care; and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
This was the 17th year for Magical Dining, which ran from late August to early October. Each year, participating restaurants offer special three-course, prix fixe menus and pledge $1 from each dinner sold. So, 186,805 people took advantage of the Magical Dining promotion at 108 restaurants this year.
Though it did not supply specific figures, Visit Orlando said that Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House was the overall top-performing restaurant this year and the Ravenous Pig had the largest increase from the previous year. Churrascaria steakhouse BoiBrazil was the top newcomer earner.
Magical Dining has raised more than $2 million for local charities since 2009.
Norman Van Aken posted on his Facebook page this week that his restaurant Norman’s is getting closer to opening. He posted several pictures of workers hanging wallpaper and installing fixtures. The restaurant, which previously was at the Ritz-Carlton, will occupy the former Bravo Italian restaurant space at Dellagio on Restaurant Row. That’s within the city of Orlando, which means Norman’s will have to go through the city’s bizarre permitting process. I’m betting it will be open by Christmas – 2023.
Chuck Lager America’s Tavern, a Chicagoland franchise from celebrity chef Fabio Vivani, is expanding beyond its three existing restaurants and will open in Orlando and other Florida cities in the coming year. The menu features such things as the Mt. Kilimanjaro Burger and Tuna Poke Nachos.
Chuck Lager is identified on the restaurant’s web page as an explorer who Vivani met in his grandmother’s kitchen. The two vowed to work on a restaurant together. So, yeah, totally made up.
K-BBQ, a Korean restaurant, has opened in the former Oblivion Taproom space on East Colonial Drive. Longtimers will also remember the freestanding building as the original home of Straub’s Fine Seafood, which was once considered among the best seafood restaurants in town.
The long-anticipated closing of the Popeye’s chicken franchise on the corner of Fairbanks Avenue and U.S. Highway 17-92 in Winter Park has finally happened. We first wrote that its demise was imminent over a year ago when Chicken Guy! opened nearby in the area that has alternately been dubbed the Chicken Strip or Cock Block because of the many chicken stores. One fewer today.