Kona Grill has closed its Winter Park location

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Kona interior 1

Kona Grill, the chain restaurant that opened in late 2017, has abruptly closed. It was one of the earlier tenants of the Lakeside Crossing complex. Locals who had liked the restaurant’s Facebook page received a note saying the location was closed. “We want to thank all our guests for their past patronage and hope you’ll visit Kona Grill again when you are near our other locations,” the note read.

The restaurant, based in Scottsdale, Az., was vaguely Polynesian and, as reviewed on this site, had a splashy decor but mediocre food. Read the review here.

The company could not be reached Sunday morning for comment. It operates 46 (presumably now 45) restaurants in 23 states and. Puerto Rico. Kona Grill is the second restaurant in that area to close in the past two weeks. Cinco, a taco restaurant, a couple of blocks away, closed after just seven months.

More details when they become available.

Bullet Point Buffet: There's a lot brewing

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Jailhouse window

  • There’s a new restaurant in Sanford called the Old Jailhouse. It’s located in an old jailhouse. I attended a media preview prior to the opening, last week, but I’ll withhold my review until I can visit it in full swing. I can tell you that the designers kept a lot of the original decor from the lockup days, including the barred window where inmates met their visitors. I’m pretty sure those are not the original chandeliers, however. The kitchen is under the direction of Bram Fowler, previously of Journeys restaurant in Longwood. Fowler also has the distinction of having been the last executive chef at Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park. It closed a few days after he was hired (it wasn’t his fault).
  • Speaking of Park Plaza Gardens, it is still undergoing renovations to become a steakhouse, and yes, Bovine is going to be the name.
  • Central Florida Brewers Guild Festival is Sat., Feb. 23, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Sanford Harley-Davidson. General admission is $40 or $10 if you’re a designated driver. Apparently beer will be consumed and you wouldn’t want to end up in a jailhouse. Not even one with tasty food and complexion-flattering light fixtures.

  • Beer is currently being consumed at Rockpit Brewing, this week’s beer-making facility. It’s on South Orange Avenue next to Cecil’s Texas Style Bar-b-q, which is providing menu items to the brewing facility’s patrons.
  • In case you missed it, the Ravenous Pig people have sold the Swine & Sons concept to longtime collaborators Rhys and Alexia Gawlak, who will move it to a corner of the Local Butcher & Market a couple of blocks away. They had to move because the current space is going to become a dentist’s office and the meat grinder would freak out the patients.
  • Also, the brewing facility inside the Ravenous Pig that was previously called Cask & Larder, and provided the beers for the restaurant of the same name at Orlando International Airport, will be used only to make beers for the Pig’s patrons. Owners James and Julie Petrakis are taking over the Enterprise Car Rental space across the parking lot (and next to what was previously Swine & Sons) and will open Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. with eight times the brewing capacity of the tanks at the restaurant. RPBC will not have a bar or tasting room, but wouldn’t it be nice if they provided cold refreshment for the dental patients next door?
  • Park Pizza & Brewing Company in Lake Nona is now serving eight made-in-house beers. Seriously, who’s drinking all of this stuff?
  • The 11th annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23 and 24. Lake Eola, Robinson Street. There's a small gate fee but food and wine is extra. Details here.
  • In case you were wondering what Windermere tastes like, you can visit Taste of Windermere the The Grove Orlando, 4744 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando. March 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. Yes, it’s a little odd that the Taste of Windermere is being held in Orlando.
  • I’m guessing you probably already have an idea of what Oviedo tastes like (chicken, right?) but its Taste of ... is the following weekend, Sat., March 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Oviedo Mall, which happens to be in Oviedo.

Drawing Friday for $25 gift card to Shari Sushi Lounge in downtown Orlando. If you get my eletter, you're entered in all drawings. If not, sign up here.

Swine & Sons sold; Ravenous Pig owners will increase beer output with new facility

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Gawlaks

Alexia and Rhys Gawlak, longtime employees and collaborators of James and Julie Petrakis, have purchased the Swine & Sons brand from them and will move the business from its current location to the Local Butcher & Market one block away. The space previously occupied by Swine & Sons, which is across the parking lot from the Petrakises’ Ravenous Pig restaurant, has been leased to a dentist, according to James Petrakis.

In addition, the Petrakises will convert the space next to the dentist office, currently an Enterprise car rental, into Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. The new facility will have eight times the brewing capacity of the current equipment located inside the Ravenous Pig. The facility inside the restaurant was providing the beers for Cask & Larder, another Swine Family of Restaurants brand, which is located in an airside terminal at Orlando International Airport.

Cask & Larder’s beers will now be produced at the new facility and will continue to carry its brand name. Petrakis said that the facility will produce other beer brands that they plan to distribute throughout Florida. The facility inside Ravenous Pig will be used to produce specialty beers solely for the restaurant.

Uncover Tuscany's Food Secrets with Chef Kevin Fonzo and Scott Joseph

Written by Scott Joseph on .

I'm please to announce that once again I am partnering with Art in Voyage -- Beyond Travel to co-host a trip with chef Kevin Fonzo. I had the thrill last year of co-leading the trip to Paris and Lyon, and I was especially impressed with the high quality and attention to fine details that went in to putting the trip together.

This year, we're visiting Florence and Tuscany and I'd love to have you along. Here are the details from the folks at Art in Voyage:

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