What's in a Name? Increasingly, If It's a Restaurant It's a Number

Written by Scott Joseph on .

So what’s up with the numbers?

Have you noticed how many restaurants are using numbers in their names? It’s a practice that was once common with Asian restaurants -- Pho 88, 1-6-8, 4-5-6. In most Asian cultures numbers, or number combinations, are thought to be lucky. And in the restaurant business you need all the luck you can get.

But with the newest wave of number-named restaurants it’s less about luck than it is about location. Most, but not all, of the restaurants with numbers in their names are trying to pinpoint their address. And so we’ve got Pine 22, Terrace 390, 903 Mills Market, Norman’s 180, 4 Rivers, Press 101, Seasons 52, Three Broomsticks, Five Guys, 50‘s Prime Time Cafe, Nine18, Circa 1926, 310 Park South, 310 Lakeside.

Orlando's Food Truck Scene Revs Up

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Click the image above to see a video of the first truck bazaar.

To anyone who hasn’t been following it or who hasn’t experienced it first hand, it’s difficult to explain the food truck fad. I have to admit I didn’t quite get it at first, and there are still aspects about it that I find puzzling. But it’s hard to ignore the near maniacal obsession with which some people seek and follow these eateries on wheels. Take, for example, TheDailyCity.com Orlando Food Truck Bazaar that was held at the end of March in the parking lot of a church south of downtown Orlando. Billed as the first food truck round-up for the area, the event’s Facebook page had almost 500 people indicate they would attend. But nearly 2500 people showed up, inundating the nine food trucks that had registered to participate and standing in line for up to an hour to purchase food from a window in the side of each vehicle.

The food truck trend is not brand spanking new, not even to Orlando. But in larger metro areas such as Los Angeles and New York, food trucks are a passion. That’s partly due the way the food trucks operate in those other communities. On the west coast, for instance, the trucks are peripatetic, moving around the city, stopping for short pauses to sell their wares, then moving along to the next stop. As long as they limit the time they’re stopped they can avoid having to obtain a permit for one location. These trucks owe their popularity and their success in no small part to Twitter. The truck owners found that if they tweeted where they would be and when, hungry hordes would follow them around town in a sort of culinary car chase.

Two New Concepts Planned for Downtown Orlando

Written by Scott Joseph on .

I told you last month that there would be new restaurants -- one with Southwestern cuisine and another with Italian -- in, respectively, the former Graze and Fifi’s Patisserie/Sanctuary Diner spaces on South Eola Drive. I can now give you the specifics: the Funky Monkey gang is expanding their portfolio with Prickly Pear and Nick’s Italian Kitchen. Both are slated for a summer opening.

Eddie Nickell and Nicholas Olivieri have signed the agreement to take over the restaurant spaces on the ground floor of the Sanctuary condominiums.

Prickly Pear will be Southwestern, but Nickell is quick to correct anyone who equates that with Tex-Mex. “Prickly Pear is something totally new to Central Florida,” say Nickell, “think Bobby Flay, not Mexican. With dishes ranging from a mouth-watering Smoked Duck Quesadilla to 22-oz Cowboy Steaks, Tequila Grilled Shrimp on Corn Cakes with Chipotle Butter to Corn and Jalapeno Fritters and our signature Prickly Pear Margaritas. This is true American cuisine from the frontier southwest.”

Nick’s Italian Kitchen will draw on Olivieri’s heritage and the menu will feature his family’s recipes and cuisine representing all regions of Italy.

Nickell and Olivieri own two Funky Monkey Wine Company restaurant, Bananas Diner -- and another under construction at Pointe Orlando -- and the recently opened Vault wine and gift shop on Mills Avenue. In addition, Nickell is the president of the Central Florida chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

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Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse is finally open on International Drive

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse will have its grand opening on International Drive Tuesday -- finally! It was in March last year that I first told you that the New York business was planning its first Florida location in an existing building on I-Drive near SeaWorld and the Beachline exit. I guess the buildout was a little more problematic than the owners had originally thought.