Barnie's Coffee & Tea Company

Written by Scott Joseph on .

barnies_logoWednesday is National Coffee Day, and, no, I’m not getting you anything. But Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Company has a gift: free coffee all day.

The Orlando-based company will commemorate the day with a celebration at city hall at which Mayor Buddy Dyer will make a special proclamation. The civic klatch will kick off at 10 a.m. (by 10 a.m. I’m usually on my second pot). Free coffee will flow there, but besides city hall, which doesn’t usually have a Barnie’s coffee shop, free joe will also be available at the following Barnie’s: Park Avenue, Waterford Lakes, Baldwin Park, Altamonte Mall, Avalon Park, Phillips Crossing and Clermont Landings locations, as well as the Lakeshore Mall in Sebring and Park Lane Apartments in Gainesville.

In the meantime, here are some fun coffee facts from the Barnie’s bunch:

New Cafe on Shine in Former Bravissimo Space to Open Friday

Written by Scott Joseph on .

A new neighborhood cafe on Shine Avenue will open on Friday, Sept. 24. Shine Neighborhood Kitchen (what else?) takes over the space previously occupied by Bravissimo Italian Cafe. Bravissimo moved to Altamonte Springs, to the former Straub’s Seafood location, and is now called Bravissimo Chophouse.

Shine Neighborhood Kitchen is a new concept from the people who brought you Graffiti Junktion in Thornton Park, and who soon will bring you Graffiti Junktion in College Park in the former K Restaurant Wine Bar space, as reported previously. Don’t expect the same sort of manic and boisterous atmosphere of the burger joints at Shine.

In fact, don’t expect burgers. The menu, which will change regularly, a spokesman for the restaurant told me, will feature Mediterranean cuisine. More specifically, the part of the Mediterranean that laps the shores of Italy. The kitchen space of the building on Shine, a former neighborhood grocery market, is limited and lends itself to the simplicity of pasta dishes.

Yen Yen Chinese Restaurant is Closed

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Yen Yen, the charming Chinese restaurant with locations in Cocoa Beach and Winter Springs has closed. News came first of the Winter Springs restaurants, which opened in 2007, with an "urgent announcement" on the eatery's Web site:

To all my lovely customers and friends:

Regretfully announced the closure of Yen Yen Winter Springs effectively immediately. Thank you very much for all the past support indeed. I had a wonderful time with you in my Life, and of course, the unforgettable memory that can never disappear. You all take good care of yourself. Stay well! All the best!

Tely Tse

However, a call to the Cocoa Beach restaurant, on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Minuteman Causeway, got a recorded greeting that said that restaurant, too, was closed, due to renovations in the kitchen.

I reviewed both restaurants in 2007 and found the food, the service and the decor enjoyable, especially the Winter Springs location. (The Cocoa Beach restaurant took over the building that has been various businesses over the years, including the Prince of Wales British pub.) It could very well be that the Cocoa Beach restaurant is indeed undergoing renovations, but it doesn't sound good.

La Hacienda and La Cantina Open at Epcot's Mexico Pavilion

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Click image above to see video of the grand opening.

Epcot’s newest restaurants, the remodeled La Cantina de San Angel quick serve and the new full-service La Hacienda de San Angel, were dedicated in a grand opening ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. The date was significant because it marked the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence. The restaurants are open to the public as of Thursday, Sept. 16.

La Cantina had long been a favorite of visitors to the Mexico pavilion who preferred something quicker -- and less pricey -- than the San Angel Inn inside the pavilion. Many also preferred sitting outside on the shore of the lagoon rather than in the perpetual night atmosphere of the Inn. (San Angel Inn gives the illusion of dining outdoors, next to a river that is the waterway for the pavilion’s ride, but we know it isn’t real. Right?)