Things are really starting to pop in the Fort Gatlin shopping center in SoSoDo. The much anticipated Gatlin Hall Brewing food market is oh-so-much-closer to opening, maybe even this weekend, with food vendors Frenchy’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Willy’s Original smash burgers, and DaKine Poke, as well as the brewed-on-site beers.
We’ve already told you about Buttercrust Pizza. Nearby, Raptor’s Meals, a takeout-only dinner provider has made room for Clara Jean’s Polish Cuisine to work out of the same space. Brazas Chicken has been there longer than any of them (and I’ll have some news about Brazas soon).
But today we’re visiting The Porch South Orange, an outpost of the original Porch bar and restaurant in Winter Park (on North Orange) .
The menus are similar if not identical. It’s a larger-than-needed collection of bar bites, sandwiches, salads, burgers and a handful of fuller entrees.
I met someone for lunch and focused on the array of burgers for myself. I queried the server about my two finalists, the Southern “Mama Jama” and the Truck Stop. Both had bacon, cheese and onions in one form or another, but the server counseled that I should go with the Mama Jama because I could order a side of potatoes to go with it but the Truck Stop already was topped with fries.
Mama Jama it was. And it was a gloriously gloppy presentation of a thick patty smothered beneath melting pimento cheese, crisp fried onions and bacon jam, the jama, I’m guessing, though I have no clue where the mama comes in. My request to have the burger cooked medium-rare was granted, and it was served on a grilled bun just barely big enough to hold everything together. For my side dish, I ordered the totted potatoes and left a good deal of them behind. (Not that there was anything wrong with them but the burger was enough to eat.)
My lunch companion had the Porch tacos and chose blackened grouper over the other options of chicken, sub steak or shrimp. The three tacos were presented in a rack, each in a grilled flour tortilla with the seasoned fish topped with pickled red onions, chopped tomatoes and sour cream infused with cilantro and lime. I preferred my burger but the macaroni and cheese may have been a better side selection.
I was impressed with the unflapability of our server. We spent a lot of time talking before even looking at the menu but she never once gave any notion of impatience.
The Porch on South Orange is a brighter, less barroomy atmosphere, though there certainly is a large bar that dominates the big room. Horizontal pine paneling, bare bulb lighting and many large-screen tvs provide the designer touches. Seating is at high-top tables, low-top tables and booths. There is also outdoor seating available.