Meza isn't anything like Cafe Annie, but it's that late lamented eatery from downtown Orlando that gave rise to this Baldwin Park mediterranean newcomer.
In fact, although there is still a Facebook page for Cafe Annie, the address it gives is the one for Meza in Baldwin Park.
You remember Cafe Annie, don't you? If you worked in downtown Orlando over tha past three decades it was probably one of your reliable lunch spots. If you partied there, you may have included a stop at Annie for sustenance to carry on. It occupied a space on North Orange Ave. for nearly 29 years before closing in the final days of 2016. (It wasn't a continuous run; Annie closed for a time when the building on the corner was renovated for a car dealership. That's where Orange County Brewers is now.)
Lease issues, not to mention the announcement that Hubbly Bubbly, a falafel franchise, would be moving in next door, prompted owner Nabil Sebaali to look elsewhere.
He found a space on Jake Street just off the main thoroughfare of New Broad Street. Why he named it Meza instead of Cafe Annie is not known. (If you want to dive deeper into the history, Sebaali bought a restaurant called Cafe Fareed and renamed it Cafe Annie. Ironically, Cafe Fareed served American food. Sebaali named the restaurant after his wife figuring it would make her want to come in and help out. "It didn't work," he told me.)
Meza is bigger and brighter than the old place, and the menu is more ambitious. And it's all wonderfully delicious.
Watch a video of this review here.