It's our 10th anniversary! Here's an offer to tap into

Written by Scott Joseph on .

tap room steve and lori

Ten years ago today a switch was flipped and Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide came online.

In that time, we’ve published over one thousand restaurant reviews — an average of two per week, more than any other local media publication. And we’ve been your source for breaking news and updates about the local culinary scene. I’ve always referred to it as the flog — a food blog — but it’s actually a full-service website and database of restaurant information.

It takes a lot to keep a site like this running. I’m grateful for all the sponsors who have supported the journalism here over the years. And I’d especially like to to thank Steve Gunter of the Tap Room at Dubsdread. The Tap Room was the first one to sign on and has been an advertiser for the entire decade.

And if you’ve never read my advertiser policy, you can see it here. But this is the gist: Only restaurants whose quality is worthy of recommending to our readers will be accepted as advertisers. Nicole Spooner of Mpact Orlando Marketing, exclusive representative for SJO, can tell you that I’ve turned down numerous restaurants. (And there have been a few over the years that met the standards but whose quality sagged; those were not invited to continue.)

But the Tap Room certainly met all the qualifications, and still does. In fact, I recently presented the 2018 Best Burger Foodster plaque to Gunter and the Tap Room’s general manager, Lauren Durchslag, shown at top.

So in celebration of 10 years of flogging — and through Gunter’s generosity — we’re going to give away two gift certificates, each worth $50 to the Tap Room at Dubsdread. It’s my way of thanking you for being a reader, because frankly, if no one was reading this there wouldn’t be much reason to keep doing it.

As always, the winning names will be drawn at random from the list of recipients of my weekly (and surprisingly unannoying) e-letter. If you are already on the list, you’re already entered for this and all future drawings.

If you’re not on the list, you can be in just a few seconds. Click on the box on the right side of the page that says Scott’s Newsletter (or click here). Put in your details and you’re done. Before each drawing, I download the current list of recipients into a numbered spreadsheet and enter the total line number at random.org, which generates a true random number. I find that line on the spreadsheet and notify that person through the associated email address (so it’s important that you leave a valid email address). Winners should look for an email with A Note from Scott in the subject line.

And there should be lots of drawings, usually one each week. I hope to keep that going for another 10 years.

Raglan Road names Mark O'Neill executive chef

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Chef Mark Portrait 3076 cropped2 copy

Raglan Road, the popular Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs, has a new executive chef, and he brings with him worldwide experience and Michelin-star credibility, not to mention the innate culinary acumen from being a native-born Irishman.

Mark O’Neill is only the second executive chef in the 13-year-old restaurant’s history. In an interview recently, O’Neill, 33, said that he’ll continue Raglan Road’s tradition of serving innovative Irish cuisine.

“I’d like to do really great gastropub food,” he said, “to have our team creating really nicely executed dishes like we have back home in Ireland.” But don’t expect to find Shepherd’s Pie or Irish Stew on the menu, at least not in familiar pubgrub form; think more contemporary. “It’s important that we stay in front of the modern Irish food trend and keep our guests excited about great new dishes on the menu,” O’Neill said.

Bullet Point Buffet: Good news, bad news

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Emilio and Gloria Estefan

  • From the good news/bad news files: Bongos, the Disney Springs restaurant owned by singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, Emilio, that serves what is arguably the worst Cuban food in Central Florida, is finally closing. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they’re opening another restaurant called Estefan Kitchen at Margaritaville Resort Orlando. The couple, above, made the announcement this week at the Kissimmee resort. Fall 2019.
  • The anticipated full service restaurant that will open adjacent to Epcot’s Mission: Space attraction will be operated by Patina Restaurant Group and executive chef Theo Schoenegger, who currently oversees Patina’s Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway. Little details have been shared about the restaurant other than that it will have “internationally inspired cuisine.” I would have expected an intergalactically inspired menu. Maybe even chef piloted. Perhaps entrees will be served in little pouches. And if Disney hasn’t signed up Tang as a major sponsor, it’s losing its touch.

Restaurants offering Mother's Day dining

Written by Scott Joseph on .

taproom porch

Mother’s Day is Sunday. You knew that, right? And you’ve made reservations to take your mom out to eat, right? Right? Oh come on. Look, I’m not saying you’re a bad kid. I’m just saying your mother deserves better.

But let’s not wallow on that — you’ve wallowed enough. Time to get online and nail down a good place to treat the woman who gave birth to you.

I’m here to help. I’ve compiled a list of restaurants offering Mother’s Day specials. Check them out and then call or go online to reserve a space.

The majority of restaurants are featuring brunches — Mother’s Day is the busiest brunch and dining out day of the year. But our friends at the Tap Room at Dubsdread are doing something different this year. They’re still offering the daytime brunch buffet but they’re also offering an evening dinner buffet. So it can be mom’s choice.

Or if you want to get back in her good graces, take her to both.

You'll also find specials from Tapa Toro, Taverna Opa, Tony Roma's, Rocco's, American Kitchen and others. 

And be sure to tell your mom that Scott says Happy Mother’s Day.