Drawbridge Up: White Castle retreats on ghost kitchen scheme

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Well, you broke them.

After getting overrun when it opened its ghost kitchen on Tuesday, shutting down all of Wednesday then reopening and getting swamped again on Thursday, White Castle has decided to just wait until it opens its location at the Village at O-Town West sometime this spring.

The chain, known for its tiny burgers, which were the first to be called sliders, had arranged for space in the Dollins Avenue ghost kitchen in west Orlando. Customers were told they could order from a special menu to pick food up or have it delivered via Uber Eats. (The Dollins facility does not have space for dining onsite.) When the ordering site went live on Tuesday it was immediately overwhelmed by orders, too many for the limited kitchen space to handle.

The company announced through a publicist that it would take Wednesday off, presumably to lick its wounds, and reopen Thursday, but only for pickup.

The kitchen was inundated again by customers who for some reason apparently have no access to other burgers. Because the Dollins facility, shown above, has no drive through, people reportedly parked throughout the neighborhood, which is also home to Florida Probation and Parole Services, industrial sites and churches.

What’s driving the mayhem? Nostalgia, perhaps. Curiosity. Irrational crowd behavior and the lemming effect?

Whatever. I don’t care if the Orlando restaurant will be the biggest in the chain, I will not be anywhere near it when it finally starts flipping burgers.

Newsy Nuggets: Storming the Castle and other stuff

Written by Scott Joseph on .

White Castle Rendering

Y’all managed to scare the the ghost kitchen when you stormed the White Castle website Tuesday. The sliderie thought it would be a fun bit of marketing to offer its menu through the Dollins Avenue virtual food hall while its Orlando location was still under construction. The website started taking orders Tuesday morning for delivery and pickup and was quickly overwhelmed, forcing it to shut down.

The order site remained closed Wednesday but a press release promised it would be open again on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. This time, however, it will be for pickup only. Well, that shouldn’t cause any problems for the neighbors around the Dollins Avenue business. You can order through the White Castle website – I’ll let you Google it – but seriously, if you need a slider that badly perhaps it’s time for an intervention.

Newsy Nuggets: Second tenant for First Watch building, RusTeak downtown, plus Palestine, Jerusalem, Germany, Greece, UAE and Mexico

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Word comes that the building that until Sunday held the Maitland First Watch will be taken over by Peach Valley Cafe, another breakfast-and-luncher. PVC was first developed by Ormond Beach-based Stonewood Restaurant Group but was sold to Winter Parker restaurateurs Eric and Diane Holm in 2019. First Watch moved out in advance of the opening of its new flagship and prototype restaurant opening March 1 in Winter Park. Peach Valley Cafe currently has a half dozen restaurants.

  • There may be a change at the Menagerie Eatery & Bar, the eatery and bar in Thornton Park. The owners are considering converting it to their RusTeak brand. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Not everything at the Winter Park First Watch will be brand new

Written by Scott Joseph on .

MFW harriett

When the Maitland First Watch closes after lunch on Sunday, Harriett Issertell will lose the place she has eaten at several times a week since the daytime cafe first opened in 1993. Issertell, whom everyone calls Miss Harriett, dines at the popular breakfast and lunch cafe almost every day. In fact, I reached her by phone Friday as she was leaving First Watch.

Miss Harriett, 85, a teacher and reading coach, has some menu favorites that she goes to, and the staff all know just how she likes things done. “I have the french toast, double dipped,” she says, “the waffles, the blueberry muffins.” And she considers the restaurant a home away from home. According to staff members, she’ll come in by herself on weekdays with her books and spend some time reading. On weekends, she’ll come in with friends from her church. “I always love Saturdays and Sundays,” she said.

She has seen a lot of staff come and go but noted one constant: “They’ve always been good, no matter who takes care of you. They’ve all been courteous.”

The Maitland First Watch, the oldest location of the Florida based chain in Central Florida, is closing in anticipation of a new location, just down the road in Winter Park, which will fire up its griddles on March 1 following an egg-breaking ceremony by local dignitaries.

Miss Harriett is bound to be there. “I know just where it is,” she said. “It looks great.”