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.


Jetport Tickets Now on Sale

Written by Scott Joseph on .

jeromeTickets are now available online for the Jetport Food and Wine Party, Saturday April 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Kissimmee Airport. Early registration (through March 20) is $125 per person. Regular price is $150 per person. VIP tickets are $350 (early) and $400 (regular).

This link will take you to the Jetport Food and Wine Party Web site.

A private jet hangar is transformed into a South Beach inspired nightclub.  Enjoy music, fine wines, cocktails and champagne. Host Jerome Bocuse of  Bocuse d’Or and Les Chefs de France will be joined by chefs from local restaurants and top celebrity chefs to prepare a world-class culinary extravaganza. Highlighting the evening will be an air show,  silent auction, and fashion show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue.

Besides the previously announced Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud, Scott Boswell of New Orleans’ Stella! and our own Scott Hunnel will be cooking. Here’s a list of the restaurants so far:

Big Weekend for Food and Wine Events

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Lots of food and wine events this weekend, almost too much. Almost.

The Festival of Chocolate is Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, at the Orlando Science Center in Loch Haven Park. There will be classes, competitions, demonstrations, chocolate activities for kids only, chocolate activities for adults only (not what you think), chocolate and wine pairings, and, of course, lots of opportunities to indulge in chocolate edibles of all kind.

The FOC is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Follow this link to the Festival of Chocolate’s Web page for more information and to purchase your “chocolate chip” currency in advance.

Just a few miles east of Loch Haven, the Food & Wine Festival at Baldwin Park will kick into gear at 6 p.m. Saturday. Benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Baldwin Park event has become an anticipated annual event that fills the neighborhood’s Village Center. There will be food and wine stations for you to stroll among and sample. You can get a list of participants at the Food & Wine Festival at Baldwin Park Web site. You can purchase tickets there, too. Cost is $65 if you purchase in advance or $75 if you just show up at the gate.

Also Saturday night is the Central Florida Cattle Barons’ Ball, benefiting American Cancer Society. This is one of the top events of the gala season. That might be because instead of wearing the usual taffeta gown and tuxedo (not the same person), attendees get duded up in clean cowboy shirts, jeans, boots and gingham dresses (again, not the same person).

The event features a dine around with culinary creations from restaurants including Rosen Shingle Creek, including Cala Bella, one of my favorites, Rosen Centre, Rosen Plaza, J.W. Marriott, Double Tree at Sea World, Hilton at O.C.C.C., Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, K Restaurant, Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Omni at Champions Gate, Sysco Foods, Nestle Foods, Three 2 Oh Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, Windermere Country Club, Cuisinier's Catered Events, Vital Flair Catering, Marriott Orlando World Center, BB Kings, and City Fire.

Entertainment will be provided by country music recording artist Ty Herndon.

I’m exhausted already and it isn’t even the weekend.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Cattle Baron’s Ball Web site.