Linda Seng, Owner of Linda's La Cantina, Dies at 73

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Linda Seng, whose name has been on the La Cantina steakhouse since 1972 and who for many years was the omnipresent owner and hostess of what it the area’s oldest restaurant, died Wednesday, March 9, of congestive heart failure. She was 73.

There has been a steakhouse called La Cantina on State Road 50 east of Orlando since before 1947, the year Rudy Seng bought the business and rechristened it Edie and Rudy's La Cantina. After Rudy died, in '72, his son took it over and renamed it Al and Linda's La Cantina.

And when Al and Linda Seng divorced in 1984, Al's name was dropped, and it has been Linda's La Cantina since.

Linda pretty much retired from the business in 2004. When I did a story about the area’s oldest restaurants that year, Linda’s daughter Karen told me that her mom was annoyed after the state passed a law prohibiting smoking in restaurants. So she passed along the duties to her kids. It's still a family operation with daughters, Karen Hart, Debbie Tassoni and Lorie Coley and their spouses taking care of managing the place.

Linda Louise Seng was born March 18, 1937, in Carrsville, Kentucky. Her first restaurant job was at a Detroit restaurant called Cunningham’s, Linda told me when I first interviewed her in 1992. “I guess you’d call me a soda jerk,” she said.

She told me that the thing she liked most about owning a restaurant was, “Meeting all the people who come in, making new friends and retaining the old ones.” She told me she regretted the long hours and the demand on her time that the restaurant took, but she said her philosophy for success was to “always be there. Be prepared to devote 24 hours a say seven days a week.”

“She really instilled that in us,” daughter Debbie told me today from the restaurant. When I reached Karen on her phone, she, too, was heading out the door to get to the restaurant to open up for the evening. Debbie said the restaurant will continue as it has, and Linda’s name will remain on the building. “There’d be no reason to change them,” she said.

Linda Seng is survived by her five children, 10 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Funeral service will be held  Monday at 3 p.m. at the First United Church of Christ, 4605 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, 32812, with Rev. Joel Reif officiating. Arrangements are being handled by Carey Hand Colonial Funeral Home, Orlando.


Pint American Gastropub Set to Open Friday

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Pint American Gastropub, the latest endeavor from the Tato Family, which also owns Spice Modern Steakhouses, is scheduled to open Friday, March 11, in Lake Mary. The new restaurant will feature over 100 vodkas, 51 drafts and 100 bottled beers. Pint American is at 1130 TownPark Ave., Lake Mary. Here’s Pint American’s Web site, but as of today there isn’t much there. Click the following link to download Pint American Gastropub’s opening food menu . The phone number is 407-936-3377. More later.


More Restaurants, Bars and Lounges Part of Church Street's Reawakening

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The reawakening of Church Street in downtown Orlando continues with a steady influx of new businesses, including restaurants and bars.

Heat Orlando, an Indian tapas restaurant and lounge, opened in January at 55 W. Church St. Fish ‘n' Loaves, a soul food eatery, took over the space Johnson’s Diner left empty and started serving last week.  Touch Orlando may or may not already be open at 54 W. Church St. The business’s Web site says the grand opening is March 4, but it has no phone number one can call to verify that it indeed took place. (You’ll recall that Baby Grands, the dueling pianos bar that opened last year, also on Church Street, delayed its opening several times.) Touch Orlando will -- or perhaps already does -- feature 14 interactive touchscreen tables (hence the name) that will allow patrons to place orders, play games and flirt with other patrons seated at different tables (God forbid you should flirt with someone at your own table -- or that an actual person would take your order.)

And now another business is set to open later this month (we’ll see) on West Church street across for the Amway Center. Draft Global Beer Lounge & Grill will feature 40 draft beers on tap and more than 100 bottled beers. More to come on that later.


Ran-Getsu Returns, This Time in Maitland

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Updated to include artist's rendering.

Artist's redering of the bar at Ran-Getsu, currently under construction in Maitland.

Ran-Getsu, the sushi and Japanese restaurant that closed its longtime International Drive location one year ago, is scheduled to reopen next month, this time in Maitland, in a building overlooking Lake Lily.

The 9,000-square-foot restaurant will have a patio overlooking Lake Lily. Hector Ponce, a partner in Ran-Getsu at Lake Lily, describes it as a “one-of-a-kind, urban/ modern dining and entertainment experience.”

According to a spokeswoman, the restaurant will feature top quality Kobe and Tajima beef, a sushi bar and seafood during lunch and dinner services. The patio area, overlooking Lake Lily Park, will host regular cocktail hour events. After dinner service, the restaurant will morph into a high energy club with special lighting, music, and a late night small bite menu.

In anticipation of an April opening, the restaurant is hiring 50 personnel, including servers, cooks and cocktail waitresses. “We are looking for quality service industry professionals who will be well rewarded for their experience, personality and enthusiasm,” says Ponce.

Those interested in applying for a position with the new restaurant should visit for an application (which is about all the site currently offers in the way of information).

Ran-Getsu is a 60-plus-year-old, family-owned business that began in Tokyo. The family operated a similarly-named restaurant south of Orlando for more than 25 years before deciding to change and update the concept.