As storm passes, here are some restaurants' plans

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Storm Map

Last updated at 10:38 a.m. Thurs. 11/10/22

Tropical Storm Nicole is forcast to reach hurricane strength when it hits the coast of Florida this evening, then drop back to a tropical storm as it crosses the state and heads to Central Florida. It's likely to bring strong winds and heavy rains, which will affect the operation of many businesses, including restaurants.

Here are the current storm plans for some of Central Florida’s restaurants. This list will be updated throughout the day.

Tap Room at Dubsdread: From owner Steve Gunter Thurs. morning: "We will be open Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. with limited menu."

Tornatore’s Ristorante & Market: According to owner Denny Tornatore: “We are staying open regular hours and will be doing deliveries during the storm to help people that cannot go out.”

Hemisphere: Closed Wednesday and Thursday.

McCoy’s: Open as normal.

JW Marriott Bonnet Creek (Sear+Sea, Illume, UnReserved): All open as usual with only outdoor dining suspended.

Four Flamingos: A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen: “Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress and Four Flamingos will remain open and fully operational.”

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe: Open Wednesday with last reservation at 8 p.m. Thursday open as usual.

Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria: Open Wed.; for takeout on Thursday.

Wine 4 Oysters: Open 4 to 9 p.m. Wed. and Thurs.

Francesco's: From owner Francesco Aiello:  "I will be open today regular hours Wed., closed Thursday and reopen Friday regular hours. I  have family items available for takeout.

Tell customer to call in please 407-960-5533, grazie."

Stefano's Trattoria: Reopens Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Shakers Cafe: Shakers will close on Thursday and reopen Friday.

Big Fin Seafood: Closing Wed. at 7:30 p.m.; open regular hours Thursday.

Soco Thornton Park: May close early Wed.; phone ahead. Closed Thursday.

Se7en Bites: Closed Thursday if storm continues on current track. Reopening Friday.

Pizzeria Valdiano (all 3 locations): Reopening Thursday at noon.

Hangry Bison (both locations): Open Thursday at noon.

Disney Springs Restaurants: All restaurants will close at 7 p.m. Wed. and likely remain closed through Thursday morning, possibly reopening later in the day.

Aurora at the Celeste: From chef Mike Trudnak: "Aurora @ The Celeste Hotel, open with business as usual 7am until 10pm offering full service. We are more reliable than the post man. Running our new Fall/winter menu."

Nauti Lobstah: Open at 3 p.m. Thursday.


Newsy Nuggets: Anniversaries edition

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Kudos to Quantum Leap Winery on its 10th anniversary.

Owners Jill Ramsier and David Forrester managed to do what no other Florida based winery had done before or since: produce wines worth drinking. They key to QL’s success is that it doesn’t use Florida-grown grapes to make its wines but rather imports grape juice, shipped in large vats, from small producers around the world. Once its at the Mills 50 facility, it’s blended, stored in tanks and barrels, aged and bottled or transferred to kegs, pouches or boxes. (Quantum Leap was one of the first to pioneer wines-on-tap in the Orlando area.)

Why doesn’t it use Florida grapes? Due to something called Pierce’s Disease, most of the grapes that can be grown here disease-free tend to be overly sweet varietals. Sweet grapes, sweet wine.

Treviño to open Puerto Rican themed restaurant Chicharron Grill

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Marketplace exterior

TrevinoRoberto Treviño plans to open a Puertorriqueño concept at Marketplace at Avalon Park Dec. 1.

The new concept, Chicharron Grill, will feature such items as empanadas rellenas; pinchos; mofongos; garlic shrimp; pork chicharron; and chicharron de pollo. Chicharron Grill will take the place of BBQ50, one of the original vendors at the Marketplace.

Treviño, a California native known for his Iron Chef appearances, made his culinary mark in San Juan and moved to the Orlando area several years ago, opening El Buda Latin Asian restaurant in downtown Orlando in 2018. It also closed that year. Since then, Treviño has worked with Don Julio’s Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar to create a ceviche menu and with Tapa Toro/Taverna Opa at Pointe Orlando. Most recently, he’s been helping to develop a lounge for a Chinese company in the new Terminal C at Orlando International Airport.

David Ramirez Chocolates offers an outlet for its less-than-perfect candies

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Ramirez dirty dozen

David Ramirez is a perfectionist. Anyone who has seen his elaborate chocolate sculptures (there’s one below) or the jewel-like candies he crafts at David Ramirez Chocolates will know that. Each one is a delicious work of art from a meticulous master chef.

So it won’t be a surprise that occasionally something will happen in the production of the chocolates that raises his creatively demanding hackles. Call them chocolates, chipped; or faulty friandises; or bruised bonbons. Whatever, if they don’t meet Ramirez’s standards, they can’t be sold alongside the flawless confections.

But the flavor is the same, each one made with the same imported European fair-trade chocolate, Madagascar vanilla beans and top-shelf liqueurs. Close your eyes and you wouldn’t even know you were eating one of the nicked nuggets.