Dharma Southern Kitchen launches investment initiative to fund expansion

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Dharma logo

Dharma Southern Kitchen, the plant-based restaurant that arose from a vegan hot dog cart, launched as a mobile food trailer and then opened as a brick and mortar anchor of the South Street Market, has big plans for expansion, and it's looking for investors in a serious, grownup and governmentally regulated way.

Dharma has established a page on StartEngine, a website that provides a platform and resources for companies seeking investors through a process known as equity crowdfunding. But Shaun Noonan, Dharma’s founder and CEO, is quick to point out that this isn’t the type of fundraising site that most people are familiar with.

“This is not like crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe where people are being charitable and maybe get a free t-shirt,” he told me. “This is an actual equity or stock sale in the company. This is an SEC-regulated platform that allows everyone – internationally, nationally or locally – to become a stockholder in Dharma Southern Kitchen.”

That doesn’t mean that Dharma Southern Kitchen is going public – there won’t be an initial public offering (IPO) and it won’t show up on a stock exchange board. But investors can purchase real shares in the company and potentially make money on the investment.

Though Noonan won’t make any promises. Mostly because it's forbidden by the Security and Exchange Commission.

Newsy Nuggets

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Hangry Bison WG ext

After numerous delays due to the pandemically hobbled supply chain, the Winter Garden outpost of the Hangry Bison will finally open Tues., Mar. 8. The restaurant is at 250 W. Plant St. You can expect the same crafted cocktails and award-winning burgers you know from the original HB in Winter Park. I wonder if there are other locations in the works and, if so, will they only be in cities with Winter in the name?

Bao’s Castle, the SoDo baotisserie, has also opened a second location...sort of. It has joined the ghostly Collab Kitchens confab in Conway Plaza. I’m not sure if the Curry Ford West district extends that far. If so, it would be Curry Ford West East.

Tornatore's owners Eat the World one podcast at a time

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Denny and Maria

Denny Tornatore, the owner and operator of Tornatore’s Ristorante and Italian Market in College Park, and his partner, Maria Mancia, have started a weekly podcast called Denny and Maria Eat the World, because running one of the city’s most popular Italian restaurants apparently isn’t time consuming enough.

Tornatore told me recently that they started the project as a hobby. “We came up with the idea because we’re obviously both foodies,” he said. “It’s us traveling, eating, doing restaurant reviews, including some in Orlando, and there’s usually a recipe.”

But the hobby has grown and the podcast is gaining a following, with listeners now in the thousands. According to one source, Tornatore said, Denny and Maria Eat the World is the sixtieth most popular food podcast in the nation – and believe me, there is no dearth of food podcasts.

Matchbook Memories: Positano

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Positano matches

You’re probably familiar with Caffe Positano, especially if you live in the Apopka area where the restaurant has been in business since 1997 and will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

And of course you’ll recall that Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria in College Park was originally called Caffe Positano. There was also one in Lake Mary for a time.

But you may not remember that there was a Positano on West Colonial Drive that in a way begat the others.

It was in a strip mall at the corner of Good Homes Road and when it opened, in 1991, it was about the only place in that area where you could find something that might qualify as fine dining. (The matchbook cover says the address is in Orlando but Google Maps indicates it is in Ocoee.)