New First Watch will be company's flagship and prototype

Written by Scott Joseph on .

FirstWatch proto1

As previously announced, the former Cinco Tacos + Tequila building, which was Carmel Cafe before that, will become a First Watch. The new news is that it will be a flagship of the Florida based daytime cafe and a prototype for future First Watches.

There are several notable things about the new design, and not just that the tacky fake grass that Cinco tacked on the outside is gone. It will have a bar and incorporate the cocktail menu that is currently available only at the East Orlando First Watch. What’s more, there will be an indoor and outdoor bar.

Newsy Nuggets: Large castle for tiny burgers, plus other coming attractions

Written by Scott Joseph on .

White Castle Rendering

To those of you who have been holding out hope that 2021 would be a year of good things happening, it falls to me to tell you that White Castle, the Ohio-based fast fooder, will open the world’s largest White Castle restaurant in Orlando next year. No, there’s nothing you can do. They plan to break perfectly good ground for the project next week at the Village at O-Town West in southwest Orlando.

If you’re not familiar with White Castle it’s probably because you didn’t grow up in the Northeast or Midwest. Even so, we did not have a White Castle restaurant anywhere near my hometown in Illinois. The chain is famous for its tiny 2-inch square burgers that were the origin of the term sliders. It was not meant as a compliment. People gave them that nickname because the burgers were so greasy they could slide down one’s gullet easily. Some also referred to them as White Castle gut bombs. So it’s interesting that the term sliders now exists on menus of even tony restaurants. And indeed, White Castle embraced the term itself. Makes you wonder if maybe Chipotle will add an E. Coli Burrito to its menu.

The renderings for the new restaurant show the iconic white exterior with a crenelated turret in one corner. (Legend has it that Chicago’s Water Place Tower was the inspiration for that adornment.) What I find most fascinating about getting the world’s largest White Castle is that there are people whose apparent job is to go around measuring them.

The announcement of the Orlando White Castle isn’t new news – it was first announced in November of 2019.

mcPlant

Central Florida restaurants offering Thanksgiving Dinner options

Written by Scott Joseph on .

TURKEY

Suddenly feeling thankful? Then let’s declare Thanksgiving 2020 back on. I see there’s an open date later this month, on the 26th; are you available? Yes, I know that’s a Thursday, but the weekend is all booked up.

Of course you’re available. The question is, are you going to do the cooking or are you all cooked out? Over the last several months, so many of us have been working on our kitchen skills – cooking more dinner, learning how to bake, nurturing sourdough starters – that maybe we need a break.

Plus, large gatherings are still not recommended, so putting together a big meal when it’s just going to be you and your fellow pod mates may not sound like fun.

So you’ll be delighted to know that our Holiday Listings features 40 Central Florida restaurants that are offering Thanksgiving dinner options. Not all of them will be open on Thanksgiving Day, mind you, but will be offering turkey and other options with all the trimmings for you to pick up and reheat on the big day.

Some will have dine in service, as well. It all comes down to your comfort level. You can even mix things up – get your turkey from one restaurant, get your dressing and mashed potatoes from another, and your desserts from somewhere else. It’ll make you feel like a pilgrim (and you’ll be spreading your dining dollars around).

You can see all of the listings here. Some highlights to consider include: Knife & Spoon, the new upscale restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, which is offering its own turkey-to-go package; perennial favorite Tap Room at Dubsdread, still all-you-can eat but without the help-yourself aspect; Taverna Opa, with lamb substituted for turkey (I like the idea of a lamb drumstick); Tapa Toro with dine in and takeout options; Delaney’s Tavern with family meals for pickup; and newcomer Mia’s Italian Kitchen with a $29 three-course dine-in special.

Note that some of the restaurants listed that are offering meals for pickup have deadlines for ordering and some require pickup prior to Thanksgiving Day.

Full array of holiday events lined up at Grande Lakes Orlando

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Sponsored

Grande Lakes Holiday guide

There’s no doubt that the holidays are going to be a bit different this year. But at least we can still rely on Grande Lakes Orlando to put on its always fun array of holiday happenings in and around the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott.

And this year there’s a new restaurant joining in all the reindeer games – though considering it’s Knife & Spoon, I wouldn’t get too close if I were a reindeer, if you know what I mean.

Knife & Spoon will be among the resort’s restaurants that will be offering Thanksgiving dinner this year. And if you haven’t already experienced the high quality of food it’s putting out, this would be a dandy excuse to visit.

The restaurant will offer a $125 four-course menu that will include buttermilk-brined turkey. (And to get a taste of executive chef John Tesar’s method of dry aging beef, you can add prime rib for another $15.)

Also for Thanksgiving, the Ritz will offer a Turkey To-Go option for those who want to dine at home without having to do the cooking. For $265 you get Whisper Creek Farm Seminole pumpkin soup, a 14-16 pound roast turkey, dressing and side dishes, plus dessert. It’s enough to serve up to six people (unless you invite that certain uncle; you know the one).