I finally made it out to Plant Street Market in Winter Garden. I know, I know. It’s been open for over a year; what took so long? I just wanted to give them some time to settle in.
I like the whole concept. It’s a terrific space, and judging from the crowd on a Thursday night, a very popular hangout.
Especially around the Crooked Can Brewery, which has one of the most serious sets of brewing tanks I’ve seen outside of Milwaukee. And they turn out some good and cold beers, too, under the direction of brewmaster Kent Waugh and head brewer Nolan Clark. (I’m not sure of the distinction between the two titles but I’m guessing it’s sort of like executive chef and chef de cuisine.)
CCB is at one end of market, which is all open under one large enclosed space. You’re free to wander through the market with a beer — I recommend the kolsch — and order food from one of the other vendors.
My friend and I went a little overboard with the ordering. We got a Boss, with pepperoni, sausage and kalamata olives, from Michael’s Ali Coal Fired Pizza. And we also ordered a Philly Cheesesteak and a burger with fries from Five Thymes Five, a mathematical conundrum.
The cheesesteak was the better of the two, mainly because it had big chunks of meat that you could actually get a chew on. Good sauteed onions and peppers and lots of cheese to cover the steak. Would have liked to have seen it all in a better roll, but overall it was good.
I don’t think it was quite worth $14, but the burger wasn’t worth $13, either. I might have been if it had been cooked to the requested temperature, but it went too far beyond that and the result a dry eight ounces of grass fed beef patty.
Both sandwiches came with hand-cut fries that looked great, all thick and brown. But they were soggy and flavorless.
The pizza looked terrific, too. I like the dark spots a crust takes on in a coal-fired oven. It was nice and crispy, and the toppings were ample enough and well distributed. Not a big pie for the $14 fee, but I enjoyed it.
I was glad to see the David Ramirez Chocolates booth, but unfortunately they had closed for the evening before I arrived. Actually, it’s probably just as well because I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from overdoing it with the chocolates.
Some of the other vendors had also closed early on that Thursday — most stay open later on weekend evenings — though if that crowd is typical they may want to reconsider business hours.
Plant Street Market is at 426 W. Plant St., Winter Garden. Check the website for a list of vendors and their operating hours, but don’t expect to find a lot of information like menus and prices. You’ll find seating inside, especially around Crooked Can, and also a sizable outdoor patio.