I don't know what Garp & Fuss is. I don't mean the name. Well, yes, I do mean the name, too. But I also mean that I don't know how to classify it as a restaurant.
The menu is kind of all over the place. There's a pasta dish right next to a schnitzel. Tacos, natch. Burgers, of course. A Cuban sandwich right above a Vietnamese Bahn Mi (though it's spelled on an online menu as bahni mi, which I thought might be a clever play on the French term bon ami, but apparently was just a misspelling because it is correct on the in-house menu).
There is a sandwich called Fuss that features fried chicken and another called Garp with Italian beef. Maybe I'm just overanalyzing it but I don't know what it all means.
And I didn't find the Garp sandwich to be worthy of naming half a restaurant after. It's meant to be, so says the menu, a spin on a Chicago style Italian beef sandwich. The chopped meat here was a bit dry, making the ramekin of jus a welcome addition. It was topped with house-made giardinara.
The schnitzel was more like a Milanese, but to be fair it's listed as The Schnitz on the menu so I suppose that leaves room for interpretation. G&F's version uses chicken cutlets, breaded and fried and topped with arugula and parmesan. It was all OK, although the fried egg that was promised on the menu was missing from my plate. Isn't that just the schnitz!
On another visit I had the Riggies & Ricotta, a plate of rigatoni tossed in a marinara and dolloped with ricotta cheese. The sauce needed some extra seasoning, and I was glad I opted to add the meatball for and extra three bucks (!) because it was the star of the plate.
I liked the Cuban sandwich, or El Cubano to be exact. It was a classic Cuban but with ample amounts of ham and pork and pickles on the side. It was accompanied by chips and salsa (because Cubans like Mexican food?). The salsa was good but the chips need work.
I sampled the Italian Sweetheart from the list of flatbreads. It was small and doughy and without much prosciutto or artichoke hearts but a bit too much honey, which presumably is the sweet part of the name.
I was intrigued by the Buffalo Cauliflower, and I did like the breaded and deep-fried cauliflorets, which were good and firm. But the Buffalo part consisted of two ramekins, one with a hot sauce and one with blue cheese dressing, served on the side. Maybe it should be renamed Just Outside Buffalo.
Garp & Fuss, which is a project of chef Liz Zucco and general manager Nikki Nielsen, occupies the space that most recently was Bistro on Park Avenue and for many years before that Maison des Crepes. Little about the place seems to have changed except that on my most recent visit the place was packed. Haven't seen that for a long time there.
And a mostly young crowd, too, so maybe they understand what all the Garp & Fuss is about.
Garp & Fuss is at 348 N. Park Ave., Winter Park. It's open for lunch Friday through Sunday and for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The phone number is 407-960-5560. And by the way, the name is a reference to the nicknames of Zucco's sisters.