Newsy Nuggets: Treading lightly

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Tap Room note

  • Despite Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing Friday: “Everybody in the pool, the water’s fine” (I’m paraphrasing), most restaurateurs are preferring to dip a toe first before diving into the deep end of questionably murky water. (I believe I’ve sufficiently overused that analogy.)

The Tap Room at Dubsdread posted a note to its guests on its Facebook page Friday that read, “Even though restaurants have been given the green light to go back to 100% capacity, we have decided out of an abundance of caution and respect for our guests’ safety to continue with fewer tables inside while utilizing our adjacent banquet room for extra social distancing seating.”

Greg Allowe of Delaney’s Tavern said his SoDo restaurant would start lifting the restrictions in phases of the next week and evaluate. “We respect what the governor is doing but we want to make sure our guests and staff are safe,” he wrote in a text message.

Denny Tornatore, owner of Tornatore’s Pizzeria & Cafe, also said his College Park restaurant would “ease into it.” “As much as we could use the money we don’t feel safe enough jumping back in.”

Comments to Friday’s article announcing the lifting of restrictions supported both sides of the issue. Some people said they were glad to see everything open back up, while others said they would be less likely to go to a restaurant that was operating at 100 percent of its prepandemic capacity.

I’d like to say the commenters all got along, ahem, swimmingly, but there were some rancorous exchanges.

DeSantis on restaurants and bars: Fill 'em up!

Written by Scott Joseph on .

DeSantis presser

Florida governor Ron DeSantis on Friday announced an immediate implementation of phase three, the final step of the state’s reopening plan.

As part of that plan, restaurants and bars may now operate at full, pre-pandemic occupancy levels. In addition, DeSantis declared that cities or counties would be prohibited from superseding the state’s directive to establish their own lower-capacity mandates. He also said he would hold in abeyance any fines that local municipalities had levied for pandemic-related violations, including mask requirements.

Speaking in St. Petersburg, the governor acknowledged that the pandemic was not over and that increased case levels were still possible. But he rejected any notion that the state would shut down again should a surge occur.

Visit Orlando extends Magical Dining through October

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Citing a “notable positive impact benefitting local restaurants,” Visit Orlando announced Wednesday that it is extending its Magical Dining promotion through the end of October.

The program had been scheduled to end on Oct. 4. With the extension, Magical Dining will have the longest run of its 15 year history. When it began, the promotion ran only during September, and in fact was originally called Magical Dining Month. The event was devised by Visit Orlando as a way to boost restaurant business during a traditional lull.

But restaurants have been experiencing an extended lull because of the pandemic. Many customers are still anxious about going out to eat, and restaurants are restricted to allowing only 50 percent of inside dining capacity.

Swan & Dolphin offers Sip, Savor and Stay this year. The stay is required.

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Sip savor Stay

It won’t surprise you to learn that the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort’s annual Food & Wine Classic will be different this year. It might be a surprise that it’s happening at all.

But it is. Sort of. And no, it isn’t going to be a virtual event.

In fact, just the opposite: This year’s events will require participants to show up in person and to be booked at the resort. That’s why they’re being called Sip, Savor and Stay Saturdays.

The lineup kicked off last Saturday with Bubble Lounge, a sparkling wine tasting that was a component of last year’s full festival.

This Saturday, the 26th, will be Beer Garden, serving all manner of brews paired with pub food classics.

The remaining Saturday events are: