Earl Finalizes Purchase of Brio and Bravo Brands

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Earl Enterprises

Robert Earl and his company Earl Enterprises finalized Wednesday the purchase of 45 Brio and Bravo restaurants. The Italian brands were assets in the bankruptcy of Orlando based FoodFirst Global Restaurants.

Earl said that he’d wanted to purchase the restaurants for a long time.

“I was a big customer of both,” Earl said by phone Thursday from his home in Windermere. “Back in 2018, [I] started to buy their stock [and] had it in mind to make a bid for them,” he said. “And before we had the opportunity, someone made a very large bid for it.”

Join Scott in New York in December

Written by Scott Joseph on .

NYC iceskating copy

I try to get to New York a few times a year, but always – always – in December. The city is magical during the holidays, with all the lights, decorations and of course the fabulous food.

I want to show it to you.

Join Art In Voyage and me as your host as we explore New York City’s many foodie experiences this December. Perfect for some last minute shopping or to get inspired for your holidays meals, this 4 night/5 day escape includes:

Earl Enterprises to Purchase Brio and Bravo Restaurants

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Bravo exterior

Robert Earl is adding more Italian restaurants to his portfolio. But instead of filling out his Buca di Beppo and Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizzeria brands, he plans to purchase a number of Brio and Bravo restaurants.

As reported in April, Orlando based FoodFirst Global Restaurants filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, blaming reduced sales and profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earl Enterprises, also based in Orlando and the parent company of Planet Hollywood and Earl of Sandwich among other brands, has expressed an interest in purchasing at least 45 of the Brio and Bravo locations, including the one remaining area Brio at Mall at Millenia.

Prior to the Chapter 11 filing, FoodFirst had closed 71 of its remaining 92 locations across the country, including the Brio at Winter Park Village, which opened in 2000. Central Florida had a single Bravo location but that closed years ago and the space is being remodeled as the new location for Norman’s. When FoodFirst acquired the brands, there were 110 locations in 32 states.

Orlando Business Journal was first to report the acquisition by Earl Enterprises.

There are more details to be hashed out and the purchase must be approved by the judge in the bankruptcy proceedings before the deal becomes final.

More details will be coming.

Dismal Springs: It's Going to be a Long Road to Reopening

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Springs reopening temp check

Took a trip to check out Disney Spings, the dining and retail complex that was the first part of the resort to reopen, and found it a shell of its former self. It appeared that there are more venues that remain closed than are open.

Few guests, too, which was fine by me. I didn’t relish finding myself in scrum of people jostling about, even in a place that requires everyone to wear a mask. (More on masks in a moment.) People seemed to just wander. There was little to look at and the mood seemed depressing. Yes, dismal.

But I was anxious to see how Disney was handling the reopening; maybe it would give an insight into how the theme parks will be put back into play. And I was determined to have my first dine-in experience – more like a dine-at experience because I was determined to sit outside – since March 12.