Jax Fifth Avenue has returned to downtown Orlando. Except that it's no longer called Jax Fifth Avenue, which is fine because it isn't on Fifth Avenue. But then, it never was on Fifth Avenue, it was on South Court Avenue. But who would name a restaurant Jax South Court Avenue?
The same person who would name the new restaurant Jax Thornton Park, I suppose. That would be Jack Thompson. The original name was meant to be a tongue in cheek play on Saks Fifth Avenue's name. And no, I don't know why the original wasn't Jaks. Ask Thompson.
Those who are old enough to remember the first Jax and who are still able to consume solid food will find that a lot is the same at the new place, which is in the former Baoery/City Fish space on Central Boulevard.
In fact, Thompson said he was going for nostalgia. You'll see it mostly in the menu, which has the same look and feel as the one from the old days. There might be some new items -- I don't think the original menu had a sandwich called the Thornton Park. I'm not sure Thornton Park was even called Thornton Park back then.
The Winter Park jab is still there with the sandwich called The Park Avenue. Or maybe that's a jab at New York. Whatever, it comes with Dom Perignon, a ham sandwich and a Harley Davidson, though the punchline with the price is missing. (I think it was $25,000 with a two-week delivery, but that was the price in early 1990s dollars.)
I don't recall there being one called the "Filly" Steak because I almost certainly would have pointed out how ill-advised it would be to call a horse to mind when naming a meat sandwich.
But I'm pretty sure The Legend sandwich was there because it's noted on this new menu as the "Original Jax." It's essentially an Italian, with Genoa salami, ham, Prosciutto and capicollo, along with provolone, lettuce, tomato and onion and a good drizzle of oil on a mayonnaise-slathered roll. The meats were ample and the bread was fresh.
It was accompanied, as it was in the old days, with a handful of bag-style potato chips.
Even better, it came with the hinged-lid jar of pickles that were a Jax signature. I remember them already being on every table at the old place; here the server asked if I wanted the house pickles. (I wanted to say, "I'm here, aren't I?" but instead I just said yes, please.)
Something else that's different: There is a big list of craft beers, which weren't a thing back then. Also, the new place is big enough that Jax serves full liquor.
A bigger space, however, doesn't mean it was full. In fact, on a midweek evening there were so few diners that the bartender was also serving the dining room.
Maybe it's still too new. Or too old? Nah, a good sandwich and a cold beer never go out of style.
Jax Thornton Park is at 617 E. Central Blvd., Orlando. It's open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number -- you know, so you can order the Park Avenue in advance -- is 407-440-4295.