Newsy Nuggets (and tipsy tidbits)

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Brass Tap

  • Some beer news to note: The Brass Tap in Mills 50 ceased to be a Brass Tap Sunday after more than five years there. A note on its Facebook page says that the owners will rebrand and reopen with the same staff. No word on what it will be, but I’m guessing it will have something to do with beer on tap. A location in Waterford Lakes continues to be Brass Tappy.
  • There’s no guessing about Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company at Lake Eola. The DeLand-based brewers opened their new location, on the corner of N. Eola Drive and Robinson Street, in the former Panera Bread space in the EO Inn Monday. Many beers on tap, some exclusive to this location. Food will be available, too.
  • As long as we’re discussing alcohol...Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a meeting with restaurateurs in Ft. Myers Thursday that he would support making “alcohol to go” permanent after the pandemic crisis. The provision instituted under DeSantis’s pandemic emergency order allows bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises imbibing. It’s not up to him – the Florida legislature would have to, um, legislate that.
  • And in nondrinking news, Luby’s, the parent company of the spooneristically named Fuddruckers, caused a panic among its burger fans when it announced the company would disband. That caused Luby’s chief operating officer to issue a statement saying that 80 Luby’s and Fuddruckers remain open and may continue to be operated by franchisees. Fast food history buffs, if they exist, may note that Beefy King was once a franchise. When it dissolved the Orlando franchisees kept the Bumby Avenue roast beef sandwicherie open. And the rest is history.

Roy's Restaurant is permanently closed

Written by Scott Joseph on .

roys ext

Roy’s Restaurant, the Hawaiianesque fine dining venue on Sand Lake Road, has closed permanently.

The restaurant closed in March when all on-premises dining was forbidden and did not offer takeout and delivery as many others did. It had recently reopened for in-house dining and people were reported being seen there as recently as Monday.

Efforts to reach the corporate offices were not immediately successful. A manager at a neighboring restaurant said that he was unaware that the restaurant had permanently closed but had heard that it was struggling.

Roy’s was started in 1988 in Hawaii by James Beard Award-winning chef Roy Yamaguchi. The Orlando Roy’s opened in 2006 with Greg Richie, who trained with Yamaguchi in Hawaii, as the chef/partner. Richie is now the chef/partner of Soco in downtown’s Thornton Park.

Roy’s, in its heydays, was one of venues that elevated Restaurant Row to a dining destination for locals as well as for tourists and conventioneers. It had undergone some ownership changes that some say contributed to a decline in the quality of the experience. 

Newsy Nuggets: New restaurants coming, and if you want to drink to that, bars reopen Monday

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Russels exterior

  • Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe is set to open its doors on Friday, Sept. 19. The new restaurant is owned by Philippe Villain and Kevin O’Donnell, who also own Big Fin Seafood Kitchen. They’ve brought on Emmanuel Clement as chef/partner. Clement worked with Villain at various Meridien properties, including the Parker Meridien in New York; at European Planet Hollywoods (Planets Hollywood?); and in the opening of Euro Disney. The menu is described by Villain as continental and will draw on Clement’s restaurant experiences of his native France and Spain, where he also owned restaurants. Steak tartare will be a signature dish, Clement told me.

Lombardi's Seafood reels in two big chefs

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Lombardi’s Seafood, one of the area’s premier fishmongers, is beefing up its cafe offerings with the hiring of two high-profile chefs: Austin Boyd and Yoshi Pintar.

Boyd was most recently part of Jason and Sue Chin’s Good Salt Restaurant Group (Osprey, Seito Sushi, Reyes) and left after a recent restructuring. Pintar is known by many in the area as Chef Yoshi.

Pintar, who has worked at JW Marriott and Four Seasons, started at the Fairbanks Avenue seafood shop Friday rolling sushi and preparing fresh poke bowls. Boyd will begin developing items for the cafe menu as well as food kits and prepared dishes customers can take home to make or reheat.

Lombardis casesOwner Mike Lombardi said by phone Friday that he had known both chefs for a long time and their availability worked for his longterm plans for the 50-year-old business.

“Austin and I have been talking for a while,” he said. “I have been trying to find the right person that can really bring fresh ideas to not only the cafe but is also interested in making items for retail so that we can help our customers have a better experience cooking seafood at home.”

Lombardi said he has no plans to become a fine dining restaurant, or even an evening dinner destination. “We’re working on a late afternoon, happy hour kind of thing,” he said, eventually featuring a raw bar and tapas menu.

Boyd will also be introducing nonseafood items, including a house burger and a Nashville hot chicken sandwich.

Lombardi said he’s bringing in more refrigeration units to showcase the chefs’ items. He’ll also be featuring recipe cards and purchasing guidance for seafood-cooking novices.

Lombardi's Seafood moved to its current location at 1888 W. Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park five years ago from its original location near the corner of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Orange Avenue. It has been in operation since 1961.