Stefano's Italian Grille and McCormick's and Schmick's Join Growing List of Closed Restaurants

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Updated with information about gift cards.


This is turning out to be a rotten week for restaurants. First we had word of the closings of Harper’s and City Fire. This morning, the Orlando Sentinel reports that McCormick and Schmick’s new owner, Landry’s Seafood, has closed the Mall at Millenia location. Now I’ve just confirmed that Stefano’s Italian Grille in Windermere served its last meals New Year’s Eve.


Co-owner Mary Tedesci says that she and her husband, Chef Steff, are looking for a place to relocate the business. They are considering the freshly closed City Fire on Restaurant Row and the former location of Wa on Turkey Lake Road among others. Tedesci says they hope to find a space and reopen by the end of February.


Update: If you have a gift card to McCormick & Schmick's, it will be honored at any of the Landry's restaurants, including, locally, Oceaniare Seafood Room at Pointe Orlando, Bubba Gump's at CityWalk, Landry's Seafood near Lake Buena Vista, T-Rex Cafe and Rainforest Cafe at Walt Disney World. Oceanaire Seafood Room assistant manager Roger Warren suggests diners present the card upon seating to faciliate its acceptance at the end of the meal (always good advice).



Maxine's on Shine Replaces Shine Neighborhood Kitchen

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Shine_Neighborhood_KitchenWelcome now to the neighborhood Maxine’s. Maxine’s on Shine, to be exact.


That’s the new name of the restaurant that opened in September of 2010 as Shine Neighborhood Kitchen. That business was a partnership that included some of the owners of Graffiti Junktion. Recently one of the partners, Kirt Earhart, bought out the others. The new name is partly to honor his wife, Maxine Broadwell, and partly because Earhart felt that a restaurant with a name sounds friendlier.


Earhart was well familiar with the space at 337 N. Shine Ave. having been on the staff of Bravissimo when it occupied it for many years. Besides the change in name, Earhart says there have been some decor changes (the restaurant closed for a few days so that Maxine could “move in” and reopened Thursday evening). The menu, he says, will “implode before it explodes,” meaning that he and Bret Ashman (Spooky’s, the Social Chameleon), who is overseeing the kitchen as chef and partner, will focus on selected items from the Shine menu and then slowly add new dishes. Earhart says it will keep its Italian and Mediterranean flavor for now, but “you’ll start to see some latin, maybe some Asian, in the form of specials” featured.


One nice touch: Earhart says that Maxine’s will continue to honor SJO Dining Deals purchased for Shine Neighborhood Kitchen.


Other plans include a website and mobile application that will allow guests to order food before they arrive.



City Fire Certificates and Coupons will be Accepted at Park Plaza Gardens

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The sudden closing of City Fire at the Dellagio Plaza on Restaurant Row has left many people stranded holding SJO Dining Deal certificates. But here’s good news: the certificates will be honored at Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park beginning Sunday, January 8.


As I reported earlier, Manny Garcia is assuming management oversight of the venerable Park Avenue restaurant, and he has struck a deal with owner Mary Demetree to accept all certificates, gift cards and coupons for City Fire. Of course, if you prefer, you can drive to the Villages and redeem them there.


And if neither of those options appeals to you, just hold on -- another City Fire in Orlando, possible downtown, is in the planning stage.



City Fire Closes Restaurant Row Location

Written by Scott Joseph on .

City Fire American Oven & Bar has closed its original location in the Dellagio Plaza on Orlando’s Restaurant Row. A second location in the Villages remains open and in fact another Villages City Fire is moving forward.


Owner Manny Garcia said that the decision to close the Orlando restaurant was made because that location was underperforming.


The restaurant, which features a menu with items primarily prepared in a brick oven, opened the Sand Lake Road location barely 11 months ago in February. Garcia, who is known locally for his past projects, including Pebbles, Harvey’s Bistro and Manuel’s on the 28th, reunited many members of his team for the new concept.


In a phone conversation this morning, Garcia said he remains confident in the City Fire concept but the Dellagio location just wasn’t doing the kind of business that would allow him to keep funding it.


There is some conjecture among other restaurateurs that Restaurant Row has become too overcrowded with dining options. Several months ago, Greg Gentile closed the Sand Lake Road Antonio’s after 10 years, saying that diners had too many other places they could eat.


Note: have an SJO Dining Deal or gift card for City Fire? Click here for information on where it can be redeemed.