Mango’s Tropical Cafe, the massive entertainment complex imported from the foreign country known as South Beach, has opened near the corner of Sand Lake Road and International Drive in the kingdom of Tourist World.
Everything about this place is big. If you’re familiar with the original Mango’s in Miami Beach, know that this one is about two and a half times larger. And it’s not just the space of the two-story building that’s outsized. So is the stage with twin stairways for performers to make lavish entrances. So are the headdresses that dancers wear during show numbers.
So is the list of tropical drinks that constitutes the first six pages of the menu. There is a food menu after the drinks, but, trust me, no one is going to come here for the food. Not, at least, if what I sampled at a media preview in December is any indication. There are sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and even some items that fit the Caribbean and Latin American theme, but the quality was such that it made the food at Disney Spring’s Bongos look good.
But I’m not telling you to stay away. By all means, come to Mango’s and experience the fun and exuberance of the entertainers.
It’s impossible not to think of Barry Manilow’s song Copacabana when you’re hear. You have the beautiful women in skimpy attire.
Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl, with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there.
But before you start crying sexism you should know that there are plenty of hunky guys, including the bartenders who work bare-chested with skimpy.
And while she tried to be a star Tony always tended bar across the crowded floor, they worked from eight to four, they were young and they had each other, who could ask for more?
So it’s equal opportunity exploitation, and I didn’t hear anyone complaining.
There are multiple bars throughout the complex and numerous “Tonys.” They’re all affable and eager to please, and they’ve obviously been instructed to never stand still. Even cocktail servers with no customers constantly move in place to the music.
The show was quite entertaining. The live band keeps the music going, and there’s a constant stream of dancers and singers, some with Carmen Miranda-like headwear.
The show even starts with a song called “Come Fall in Love at Mango’s,” that keeps the Copa even more in mind. Luckily, there was no Rico, with or without a diamond, causing trouble and getting Tony killed. So maybe the Lolas here will turn out better than the one in the song.
With all the millions that have apparently been put into the facility (it’s roughly in the space that was formerly Front Row by TGI Friday’s) and the payroll for the staff and entertainers, I only wish more resources and attention had been given to the kitchen. What a grand place it would be to have a dinner and show right out of old world Havana.
Mango’s Tropical Cafe is at 8126 International Drive, Orlando. It is open nightly. (Thursday, Jan. 14, is a private VIP Grand Opening.) The phone number is 407-673-4422.