Openings

Congratulations to our long-time friend Sam Lau on his newest business venture: ViVi Bubble Tea at Mills 50 – it is such a cute little bubble tea shop that you need to check out asap!  They officially open tomorrow and will be running a buy one, get one free special on select drinks.  My big sister Krystle & I enjoyed their Blue Galaxy (pictured above) a caffeine-free herbal tea beverage with no artificial coloring.

Tiramisu Slush

Signature fruit tea

Blue Galaxy

Be sure to check out ViVi Bubble Tea soon!

ViVi Bubble Tea
1111 E Colonial Dr. Orlando, Florida
(321) 310-4147
vivibubbletea.com

Pictured: Chicken gyro bowl

We were invited to a media preview today at The Simple Greek – Oviedo as seen on CNBC’s “The Profit” – one of my favorite show that comes on after my favorite show, Shark Tank.  The food was so good and fresh and the restaurant was very clean.  They will be running a Grand Opening special tomorrow 3/9 of $1 GYROS ($7.95 value) from 11am-3pm, limit one.

The Simple Greek redefines the traditional Greek restaurants with an interactive concept that combines fresh, high-quality ingredients and Greek atmosphere in a fast casual setting. The concept utilizes a build-your-own assembly line style set up in an open kitchen to show off all of the fresh food being prepared.  The menu features a variety of dishes such as build your own bowls, salads, pitas and Greek yogurt with a variety of proteins, toppings and sides to choose from at an affordable price.

The Oviedo location is owned by Jonathan Tonn.   Jonathon opened his own franchise after witnessing its success on “The Profit” and he is in partnership with DeSisto Restaurant Group.  DeSisto Restaurant Group also owns The Simple Greek locations in Tampa, FL & East Providence, RI.

Build-Your-Own Gyro Bowl

Top to Bottom:
Gyro Bowl
Greek Fries
Chicken Gyro Whole Wheat Wrap

House-Made Sauces: Hummus, Spicy Hummus, Tzatziki (middle)

Dolmades – rice & herbs rolled in grape leaves

Avgolemono Soup – traditional rice soup

Lentil soup (vegetarian) – lentils & vegetables in a vegetable broth

Baklava – crispy golden filo dough, walnuts, honey.  I highly recommend this dessert!

(Source credit: The Simple Greek)

Be sure to check out The Simple Greek – Oviedo soon to discover your inner Greek!

The Simple Greek
945 City Plaza Way, Oviedo, FL 32765
(407) 542-0106
thesimplegreek.com

My sister and I got to meet Food Network Chef Roberto Treviño from Iron Chef America (he battled against and beat Mario Batali) at his new restaurant El Buda on Church Street and we enjoyed trying some of his delicious and flavorful Latin-Asian food that he prepared for us.  Chef Roberto Treviño’s concept of blending two cultures together is so unique and the fusion of flavors in all of his dishes were all on point, I really appreciated and loved it.  Overall, I give five stars to the food, service, ambiance, and the entertainment at El Buda.  You must check them out next time you are in the Downtown Orlando area.

El Buda has a Daily Happy Hour from 4-7pm and includes 2 for $5 Draft Beers, $9 Craft Cocktails (they are normally $11 and feature top shelf liquors) and$5 Sangria. 

Sunday Brunch (Saturday coming soon!) is from 11am – 4pm.  $22 Brunch includes unlimited top shelf mimosa and top shelf craft cocktails. 
Guava Gelee Gimlet. They offer nightly drink specials at “The Cellar” downstairs, a speakeasy type atmosphere. 
Herame Con Coco
Pork Dumplings
Duck Nachos
Prawn Tempura with Forbidden Rice
Ho Fun with Grilled Churrassco
Peking Style Duck Confit with Scallion Pancake and Seasoned Vegetables
Churro
Be sure to check out El Buda – Downtown Orlando soon!  You will love it!
El Buda
116 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 203-8171

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We were invited to check out the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Winter Park and we got to try a few of their menu items.  I LOVE smoothies.  They are my favorite thing to consume whether I am at work, home, or just finished a grueling workout and want something ice-cold and replenishing in my system to hold me over until I get ahold of some food.  Fortunately, Tropical Smoothie Cafe sells smoothies and hot items, so you can get both on the same stop.  The new Winter Park store is beautiful, bright, clean, and inviting and the smoothie and hot items were fresh and delicious.  You can expect to see me in line tomorrow morning trying to win free smoothies for a whole year!

Detox Island Green (seasonal) – Spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, banana & fresh ginger (naturally sweetened).   The serving is generous, the smoothie had a great consistency and it tasted fresh.  I really enjoyed the fresh ginger in it too, since it’s so good for you!

Cali Chicken Club Flatbread – Bacon, smashed avocado, tomatoes, romaine, mozzarella & basil garlic mayo.  This was my favorite!

Buffalo Chicken Wrap – Made it vegetarian by substituting the chicken strips with Beyond Meat®Chicken-Free Strips, no lite ranch & mozzarella, and adding extra avocado & veggies.  It includes tomatoes, romaine and buffalo sauce.  This was my second favorite!

Turkey Bacon Ranch Sandwich – Bacon, tomatoes, a romaine spinach blend, swiss & lite ranch on ciabatta

Kale & Apple Slaw – It was really good.  The best kale & apple slaw that I have ever had in my life.  I loved the flavors of their sweet dressing, apple slices and julienne carrot married together to balance out the kale which is naturally bitter but so good for you as well!

Be sure to drop by the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Winter Park early tomorrow,  January 10, for your chance to win FREE smoothies for a year!  They open at 7:00 A.M.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Winter Park
501 N Orlando Ave. Ste. 209B Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 637-5002
tropicalsmoothiecafe.com

We were invited to the media preview and grand opening of Maria and Enzo’s Ristorante with a special dedication moment including leadership from Disney, Patina Restaurant Group and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.  Following the dedication, we went inside the brand new Italian restaurant for a media reception and we celebrated National Spaghetti Day with some apps, pasta, wines, cocktails and sweet treats; perfect for the occasion.  Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is a warm and dreamy restaurant with friendly staff, delicious food, and airline themed aesthetics that is adventurous and playful.

The backstory is that the building was a once-abandoned Disney Springs airline terminal from the 1930s.  Italian immigrants Maria and Enzo owned a small bakery business inside the airline terminal and they purchased the entire building after the airline terminal closed down.  As an airline pilot, Enzo was drawn to the abandoned airline terminal and to open a spacious restaurant in it was a dream of his and Maria, who both wanted to introduce Italian cuisine to guests at Disney Springs.

CACIOCAVALLO FRITTO – fried sicilian cheese, spicy tomato and pomodoro sauce

SPAGHETTI ALLA CHITARRA – burrata and meatballs

ARANCINI DI CARNE – fried rice stuffed with meat ragù, peas and mozzarella.  They were delicious!

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED BREADSTICKS

CHERRY TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA SKEWERS

Delicious TIRAMISU!

These were the best CHEESECAKE POPS that I have ever had in my life!

CANNOLI– sheep’s milk ricotta, chocolate chips, candied orange.  It was the best cannoli that I have ever had in my life!

Randomly selected guests will be upgraded upon arrival to the First Class Lounge and will receive a more upgraded level of service.  Guests 21 years of age or older will be served a complimentary glass of Prosecco and kids will receive a complimentary airline pin.

Be sure to book a reservation at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, link below, so you can experience this amazing new restaurant for yourself!
BONUS:
We also got to take a tour around the new Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar.
…and The Edison.
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante
The Landing, Disney Springs, 1570 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 560-8466

mariaandenzos.com

Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar
1570 E. Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
(407) 560-9288
enzoshideawayfla.com

The Edison
1570 E. Buena Vista Dr. Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
(407) 560-9288
theedisonfla.com

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Outback Steakhouse, the Tampa-based Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant chain, has recently moved from its original Oviedo spot down the street to a new location just across the way from Sushi Pop. It was previously the location for Bojangles Fried Chicken.

One of their newest dishes is: Big Aussie Bloom

NEW Address: 215 W Mitchell Hammock Rd, Oviedo, FL 32765

Mon-Thu: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Fri-Sat: 11:00 AM-11:00 PM
Sun: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
for more info, visit:
https://www.outback.com/locations/fl/oviedo

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We were invited to check out F&D Cantina – Lake Mary in Colonial TownPark which recently just opened in August.  The restaurant is owned by the same owners as F&D Kitchen and Bar.

The Mexican-inspired decor was eclectic and spectacular.  I recently celebrated The Day of The Dead for the first time so I do understand the skeletons aesthetics while some others may not – The Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition in remembering deceased ancestors and friends.

The staff was very accommodating.  The food came out very timely, they don’t play, which I appreciated and the presentation of the food is unique and well thought out.  I tried the bacon wrapped jalapeño, sizzling chicken enchiladas, and the shrimp and chorizo street tacos (that was my favorite!).

Bacon wrapped jalapeño – 4 stuffed jalapeños with Chihuahua cheese and glazed with jalapeño jelly


Sizzling chicken enchiladas – Served with habanero/jalapeños pesto cream sauce topped with cotija cheese, pickled red onion and green onion

Shrimp and chorizo street taco – red peppers, sautéed onions, avocado, and chili de arbol aioli

Be sure to check out F&D Cantina – Lake Mary soon!

F&D Cantina – Lake Mary
1125 Townpark Ave Unit 1071
Lake Mary, FL 32746
(407) 915-7012
fdcantinalakemary.com

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The most popular and most requested burger, Drunken Monk – Angry Orchard onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, smoked bacon, herb mayo, provolone cheese & Teak chips topped with melted white cheddar cheese served on a pretzel bun.  It was fresh and savory.  Whenever I order burgers I never eat the entire bun but I ate both pretzel buns on the Drunken Monk and I was craving for more.

We were invited to check out the new Teak Neighborhood Grill – Maitland in the Village at Lake Lily and as soon as we arrived we were immediately impressed with how gorgeous the restaurant was, it is a certainly a great addition to the Maitland area. We chose to sit in the outdoor patio which was clean, crisp and overlooks the breathtaking Lake Lily nearby. The quality and presentation of our food was top notch. The service was friendly and attentive and management was knowledgeable and flawless. We highly recommend this new restaurant and we will be coming back to try the other dishes.

We ordered some of their popular menu items such as the Drunken Monk, Garlic Bistro Side Winders, Cedar Plank Scottish Salmon and The Ultimate Cronie for dessert and they did not disappoint.  Other popular dishes include: loaded peirogies, veggie burgers, flatbreads, and mussels.

They also have a secret burger menu called the “Underground Menu” which you need a password to obtain.  You can get the password (it changes every month) on their facebook page here.  Both menus has a combined total of 40 creative and delicious burgers.

Food & drink specials are available from open to close on Teak-uila Tuesdays and every Saturday and Sunday they offer a brunch menu.

The pet-friendly outdoor patio that overlooks Lake Lily.

Garlic Bistro Side Winders – with a side of marinara-based ketchup (Very tasty and addicting!  We could have eaten this all day!)

Caesar Salad

Cedar Plank Scottish Salmon – roasted garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, lemon dill Buerre Blanc sauce. (Gluten-free and healthy!)

Scalloped Potatoes

The Ultimate Cronie – French doughnut deep fried then tossed with cinnamon-sugar topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce & powdered sugar. (Cronie burger also available!)

Be sure to check out the new Teak Neighborhood Grill – Maitland at the Village in Lake Lily soon!  You will love it!

Teak Neighborhood Grill
901 S Orlando Ave, Maitland, FL 32751
(407) 335-4835
http://teakorlando.com

Fast-casual chain Cafe Rio Mexican Grill will give a free meal and drink to the first 300 people that are at the ribbon cutting ceremony promptly at 10:30AM on Wednesday, October 4.  Cafe Rio Mexican Grill will be opening its first Florida location at 1050 N. Orlando Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789, located in the same plaza as the new Whole Foods.  The new Winter Park restaurant will mark the company’s 111th national location.

Cafe Rio and the Winter Park chamber welcomes the public and the media to join them for their grand opening.  The restaurant will host their signature “giant burrito” and ribbon cutting.  In keeping with their tradition of giving back to the community, Cafe Rio will give a $2,500 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida during the grand opening festivities of events.  “This demonstration of social responsibility on the part of Cafe Rio is a great indicator of their approach to service and to community-building,” said Greg Higgerson, Vice President of Development at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “Because they care, more than ten thousand meals will reach the plates of low-income families, children, seniors, veterans, and others who are struggling,” he added.

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been serving its loyal customers fresh Mexican food since 1997.  Their menu is inspired by the traditional Mexican cooking found in the Rio Grande region of Northern Mexico, Southern Texas, and New Mexico.  Cafe Rio specializes in serving its customers the highest-quality, made from scratch Mexican meals, using only the freshest ingredients.

They are a scratch kitchen with a strict “no freezer and no microwaves” policy in all of their locations.

Each Cafe Rio restaurant features a wide-open kitchen.

Guests can clearly view sauces simmering, team members hand scooping avocados, chopping tomatoes, grilling meats and squeezing over 1000 fresh limes each and every day.

Fresh tortillas are made in house and are available in flour, corn, or wheat.

Nachos – Crispy handmade tortilla chips piled high with a blend of Mexican cheeses or chile con queso, your choice of beef, chicken, or pork, black or pinto beans, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, and fresh guacamole.

Tostada – A corn tortilla topped with your choice of meat, cilantro lime rice, black or pinto beans, fresh cut romaine lettuce, Pico de Gallo, crispy tortilla strips, cilantro, sour cream, and cotija cheese. Choose your dressing, but they recommend the house dressing.

Salad – A large freshmade flour tortilla, baked with cheese and filled with black or pinto beans, cilantro lime rice, your choice of chicken, pork, beef and romaine lettuce. Topped with Pico de Gallo, fresh guacamole, tortilla strips, cilantro, cotija cheese and your choice of insanely delicious dressing.

Enchilada – Fresh corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, sauce, and your choice of beef, chicken, or pork. Baked in an oven, served with black or pinto beans, and topped with additional cheese and sauce.

Tacos – Fresh flour tortillas, stuffed and overflowing with your choice of mouth-watering beef, chicken or pork, a blend of Mexican cheeses, crisp romaine lettuce, and Pico de Gallo. Homemade, handmade and handheld.

Burrito A delicious, hand-made tortilla stuffed full with cilantro-lime rice, black or pinto beans, cheese and your choice of meat, then baked in an oven. Optional side of pico de gallo and shredded romaine lettuce.  Get it Enchilada Style – baked with Cheese & Sauce.

Fresh Lime Pie – Fresh Squeezed Lime Mixed into a Creamy Blend, Baked in a Crumb Crust.  Made fresh every morning with hand-squeezed limes and a graham cracker crust, this one’s a fan favorite.

Famous Tres Leches – A light, creamy, fluffy cake baked fresh every morning and soaked in three types of milk

 The Horchata beverage is a must try!

Children six and under eat FREE!

Download the free CAFE RIO app and get a free $5 food credit.

Promo codes for $5 more food credit: wpflcp, wpfljb, wpflid.  One code only.  Expires October 22.

Be sure to make it out to the grand opening of Cafe Rio Mexican Grill in Winter Park on October 4 at 10:30am to snag your free meal and drink!

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill – Winter Park
1050 N. Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
(321) 422-2099
www.caferio.com

 

We are so happy to announce that Miami’s very popular Bocas Grill has finally arrived to Orlando bringing its fusion of vibrant Latin contemporary food, with an addition of a full bar.

The Venezuelan restaurant features all the classic favorites like arepas, wagyu burgers, and the crazy shakes they are known for like the churro shake.

Bocas Grill & Bar is a classy establishment with unforgettable high quality flavors, it is exactly what Orlando needed.  All meats are USDA prime.

Strawberry Juice

Appetizer Sampler – 8 mini Arepas, 5 Cheese Fingers, White Guayanés Cheese, Cream, Cilantro Aioli

Arepa Llanera – Beef, Chopped Avocado,  Tomato, Red Onions, and Soft White Cheese


La Levin Truffle Burger – 10 ounces of hand-cut Picanha 100% Wagyu with Lettuce, Tomato, Truffle Oil, Ketchup, Bacon, and Truffle Mayonnaise on a homemade black Bun

Churros with Nutella, Condensed Milk, Dulce De Leche

Bocas Grill Milkshake – Chocolate Flips Milkshake with Nutella and Flips all around the rim, crowned with Galleta María, a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, a Nutella Brownie Donut, Brigadeiro de Toddy and a homemade Nutella popsicle on top

Follow @bocasgrill on instagram and be sure to visit them soon and meet all of their delicious flavors!  Reservations are recommended.

 

Bocas Grill & Bar
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 723-8351
bocasgrill.com

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Local entrepreneurs and mother/daughter team, Jane
Livelsberger & Cate O’Brien (pictured above) have opened the doors to their steampunk 1920’s inspired Celebration Tea Room near Disney.

We were invited to their soft opening this past Saturday and it was a truly beautiful and breathtaking establishment with great food, amazing teas, and a delightful staff.  Celebration Tea Room has become one of my new favorite family businesses and I cannot wait to go back there with more friends.   I live near the University of Central Florida, almost an hour away from Celebration Tea Room, but since I am a frequent Disney Springs junkie, I am excited to add more Celebration Tea Room experiences to my upcoming trips.  This spectacular Victorian tea room is located in The Shoppes at Celebration Place located next to Holler and Dash and in the same building as the new Buca Di Beppo.

Celebration’s locals and visitors will enjoy a tea bar area that is decorated in reclaimed wood, brick, and very cool copper steam punk elements.  Jeremy, Cate’s husband leads the bar crafting, serving specialty tea smoothies along with hand-shaken iced teas and their trademark tea snow.

Any tea can be turned into a tea snow, so I choose a  tea that was more on the sweeter side.

Bingo Blueberry Tea Snow
A full-flavored tea with superb and well-defined blueberry highlights
Luxury ingredients: Elderberry, raisin, & apple pieces, hibiscus & cornflower petals, natural flavors

Guest will enjoy a beautiful décor in the main fine dining room where they can certainly order the traditional English tea service with a pot of their favorite type and flavor of tea, traditional tea sandwiches, scones, and of course a sweet dessert.

I got to try a few dishes and they were all delicious!  I love that it is a scratch kitchen so everything is made when you order.  My favorite was the “The Mad Hatter” special which consists of:
• A pot of tea
• Cup of soup
• Assortment of shaved imported and domestic cheeses with fresh fruit and honey
• Four assorted tea sandwiches
• Scone and pastry with whipped butter, honey, jam
• Premium dessert

Goji Berry oolong tea

Assortment of shaved imported and domestic cheeses with fresh strawberry and honey + broccoli cheddar soup (vegetarian)

I also got to try the following soups below:

Potato leek soup (vegan) + Butternut squash soup (vegetarian)

For dessert, I got this:

Mini acorn cake

The menu is diversified and will have daily house specialty soups along with special offerings with an emphasis on wholesome seasonal ingredients. Great salads with entrees include cottage pie, quiche, and strawberry stuffed French toast, Cuban sliders, cheeseburger wraps with a special house sauce and salmon Wellington among others.  The diverse and wholesome menu was developed with Jane’s traditional family recipes and Chef Yamira Lee “Mira” Johnson’s whole-hearted take on traditional staples.


As part of Cate’s vision, Celebration Tea Room’s over the top décor includes a special private room that transports you into the woods with the Cheshire cat for a special Whimsical Wonderland tea party. The banquet/party room will be available for birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, and any other special occasion when a small group might like a special venue to meet in.

The family owned Celebration Tea Room, invites the community to visit and enjoy the laid-back vibe and tea room offerings, doors opened on Monday, August 28, 2017.  A scrumptious Brunch Menu is available Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

(Source credit: Celebration Tea Room)

Celebration Tea Room
6266 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway
Kissimmee, FL 34747
407-507-8304

We were invited to a media event at a new lakefront restaurant named The Waterfront.  This American restaurant was bought in February and opened in April.  Everything is made in house except the bread.  It is important to support independent restaurants in Orlando, Florida so make sure you check them out!

Adult Swim Saturdays every Saturday in August at 2pm.


Outdoor patio with a roof to protect you from the sun or rain.  Or both.  Florida weather.



Food, brews, and views.

Chips & Pimento Dip – Salsa, Jalapeños, Corn Tortillas.  The pimento dip is prepared with pimento cheese, poblano peppers, garlic, and baked in the oven.

Wings – House Hot

Paired with the “Florida Crush” – Effen Blood Orange Vodka, Triple Sec, Fresh-Squeezed Florida Oranges, Lemon-Lime Soda

Crab Cake Sliders  – Arugula, Tomato, Pickled Red Onion, Avocado, Remoulade.  The blue crab is from Gulf of Mexico and they use the meat from its claws.

Tuna Poke Salad – Ahi Tuna, Seaweed Salad, Arugula, Romaine, Cucumber, Tomato, Radish, Avocado, Sesame Seeds, Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

Paired with the “Jennie Jewel” -Effen Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, Fresh-Squeezed Lemon, Simple Syrup and Lime, Mint

The Waterfront Burger – Ground Chuck, Swiss, Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Arugula

French Dip – Roast Sirloin, Swiss Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Au Jus, Horseradish Mayo

Paired with the “Dixie Belle” – Jim Beam Black, Muddled Mint + Cucumber, Simple Syrup, Fresh-Squeezed Lime

Pan Roasted Catfish – Sautéed Kale, Cheddar Grits, Remoulade, Pickled Red Onion
Fried Chicken Thigh – Hot Honey, Cheddar Grits, Pickled Green Beans


Steak Frites – Pan Roasted Sirloin, Cut Fries, Blue Cheese Butter

Paired with House Red Wine – 2015 Drumheller Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie  – Whipped Cream
Bread Pudding – Key Lime Syrup, Whipped Cream

Paired with a sampling of the “Margaret” – Jim Beam Vanilla, Butterscotch, Cocoa, Licor 43, Irish Cream

The Waterfront
4201 South Orange Ave
Orlando, Florida, FL 32806
(407) 866-0468
@TheWaterfront

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SNOWBEAN Cafe at Colonial And Semoran

Korean Dessert Cafe “SNOWBEAN” is now open at 5310 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, sharing the same address as Izziban Sushi and Korean BBQ.

Snowbean is a “Dessert & Coffee Cafe, serving coffee beans locally sourced from Roasters located in Orlando Florida. Serving a modern twist on a traditional Pat-bing-soo”

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SNOWBEAN Cafe
5310 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32807
(407) 270-8811
https://www.instagram.com/snowbean_orlando/

Halal Guys at Waterford

The Halal Guys began in 1990, when the three founding partners opened up a hot dog cart on West 53rd & 6th Avenue in New York City. The Halal Guys became famous for their chicken and rice with special white sauce on late nights in the city – and has made a huge push for expansion in recent years.

They will now be coming to the Orlando Waterford area in early 2017 (March/April) and are looking to expand to more than 15 locations. Look out for more updates from us here

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Halal Guys Orlando at Waterford
626 North Alafaya Trail suite 103
Orlando, Florida
(347) 527-1505
http://thehalalguys.com/
17053082_1482987062-9494_funddescriptionGOFUNDME
Help Achilles Art Cafe in Winter Garden get back on its feet after a destructive fire
https://www.gofundme.com/ashandthecoffeeshop?u=12119866

Capa steakhouse at Four Seasons Resort Orlando offers a “From Matsusaka With Love” special for Valentine’s Day weekend –

In February 2016, for the first time in history, Matsusaka beef, the ultimate within the Japanese beef industry, will be directly imported from the Matsusaka Region of Mie Prefecture, Japan and introduced at Capa restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

For six evenings, February 10 to 15, 2016, the Matsusaka beef will be on the menu at Capa in a special tasting called “From Matsusaka with Love.”

Read more from their Press Release below:

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Japanese beef, known as wagyu, is famed for its soft, buttery texture, high marbling ratio and superior taste.

Matsusaka beef from Mie Prefecture has been recognized and honored with the highest rankings for decades in the Japanese beef market. Four Seasons Resort Orlando Executive Sous Chef Sam Faggetti travelled to Japan in March 2015 to learn about Matsusaka beef.

Later this January, Stephen Wancha, Director of Food and Beverage for Four Seasons Resort Orlando, will travel to Japan as well.

“We strive to offer a variety of exceptional meats on the menu at Capa, and our wood burning grill gives our steaks an amazing flavour profile,” says Faggetti. “It has been a privilege to travel to Japan to learn more about the care and preparation of the Matsusaka beef, and we are honoured to offer this special tasting at Capa.”

For six evenings, February 10 to 15, 2016, the Matsusaka beef will be on the menu at Capa in a special tasting called “From Matsusaka with Love.”

The tasting menu is offered for USD 250 per couple, with an optional wine pairing available for USD 75 per person.

The Matsusaka Beef Tasting for Two includes:

– Trio of wood grilled special grade Matsusaka beef: 3-ounce strip loin, tenderloin and ribeye
– Served with side dishes of patatas bravas, blistered pimientos, roasted asparagus and truffle aioli
– Trio of steak sauces: rioja, peppercorn and verde

By definition, Matsusaka beef cattle can only be virgin female cows of the Japanese black wagyu variety that have spent the majority of their lifespan, up until the time of slaughter, in Matsusaka City and its surrounding area and are registered under the Matsusaka Beef Identification and Management System.

Some cattle farmers provide beer to cows to stimulate their appetites and give them thorough massages to improve blood circulation and encourage even fat distribution. Many farms raise their cows in individual rooms so they can be finely managed and assure a comfortable, stress-free life for their cows.

Matsusaka beef producers spare no effort to produce the highest quality, richest, most finely dispersed marbling possible while managing their cows on a day to day basis. The rich marbling results in an exquisite taste.

Reservations to experience the Matsusaka Beef Tasting for Two at Capa can be made by calling 407 313 6161.

Here are some photos from a recent media preview of the Matsusaka Beef Tasting at Capa:

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New York Strip Tataki Nigiri
Filet Flash Seared Sushi Roll
Raw Filet Maki Roll
Hand Roll

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48 Hour Sous Vide Short Rib
Served with a Red Wine Natural Reduction and Baby Tatsoi (Micro Green)

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Grilled New York Strip (left) Filet Ribeye Seasoned with Maldon Salt (middle) Filet Seasoned with Maldon Salt (right)

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Dessert from Assistant Pastry Chef Peter Whitley. An Open Face Macaroon with Green Tea Cream and Raspberry Jelly.

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Staff and chefs of Four Seasons Resort Orlando and Capa

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Best of Orlando award!

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By Gina Nguyen

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My sweet tooth was satisfied at Sugar Factory’s media event last Thursday. Sugar Factory is located right next to the Orlando Eye on International Drive. One side is a candy store and the other side has a bar and seating area. I heard of Sugar Factory just this year while researching places to visit in Chicago a few months back. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stop by during my trip so as you can imagine, I was ecstatic when I found out Sugar Factory was coming to Orlando, Florida. I got to taste popular drinks, milkshakes, food, $99 ice-cream, and took a bag full of candy home. Extra bonus for parents – these drinks featured here all come virgin for the kiddos!

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Started it off with the Ocean Blue. Hpnotiq cocktail featuring gummy sharks and dry ice!

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Next was the Mai Tai. A Tahitian style drink. Fresh orange and pineapple juices blended with coconut and light rum and then topped with a oat of Dark Myers rum, with dry ice!

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My personal favorite is the White Gummy. A fruity cocktail that was so delicious! Comes with dry ice of course!

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Lastly, the most visually stunning, Lollipop Passion. A mix of melon, coconut and pineapple. Garnished with lollipops and dry ice!

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Fried Macaroni and Cheese with Tomato Bacon Jam.

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Meatballs with Marinara, Fontina Fondue, and Polenta.

 

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Red Velvet Pancakes

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From left to right, Chocolate Milkshake, Birthday Cake Milkshake with a candle, and Berry Milkshake with candies.

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Sugar Factory’s World Famous King Kong Sundae $99. Includes 24 scoops of ice cream, topped with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce, Whipped Cream, Gummy Bears, Waffle Cones, Oreo Crumbles, Brownie Chunks, Chocolate Chips, Bananas, Toasted Marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Giant Lollipops, and sparklers!

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By Gina Nguyen

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The 105,000 square-foot Dining Pavilion at the Florida Mall will feature unique dining options, additional retailers and an expanded seating area, opening in phases throughout the summer. Also of note, Wassabi, the sushi conveyor belt restaurant near the center of the mall has closed. A new business will take its place soon.

On June 1st, Puerto-Rico based El Meson Sandwiches, named one of the top restaurant chains in the world by Travel + Leisure, opened with huge lines – and no signs of abating. Either they’re really good at what they are doing with sandwiches, or they need to get more efficient with their lines. El Meson features unique options like all-day breakfast and healthy vegetarian menu items. The Florida Mall restaurant is El Meson’s first U.S. location.

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Located between American Girl and Dillard’s on the north side of the mall, the Dining Pavilion will offer a total of 23 restaurants, five of which are new-to-market concepts, including El Meson Sandwiches, CARVERA Argentinian Grill, Carlo’s Bakery, la Madeleine and Bubbleology. The additional restaurants to join the Dining Pavilion include Tobu, Five Guys Burger and Fries, Charley’s Philly Steaks, Dumpling and Noodle Bar, Chicken Now, A&W All American Food, Asian Chao, Sbarro, Taco Bell, Häagen-Dazs, Spoleto Italian Kitchen, Nature’s Table, FRESH – Healthy Café, Jamba Juice, Ugrean, and SUBWAY.

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Boasting more than 1,400 indoor and outdoor seats, the Dining Pavilion will exude a contemporary feel, featuring bright floors and impressive millwork, in addition to numerous first-class amenities such as a large seating lounge featuring 85-inch TVs, LED lighting, expansive restrooms and two family rooms, new way-finding signage, enhanced Wi-Fi throughout the mall, and outlets with USB connectivity to charge electronic devices. Guests will find a redesigned exterior entrance at the front of the space, which will better accommodate customer flow into The Florida Mall and the pavilion.

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In addition to new dining options, the Dining Pavilion will also feature five new retailers, including Morana, SportsAction, Inc., Ron Jon Surf Shop, Yankee Candle, GNC and Delores Jewelers.

“The addition of unique restaurant concepts, new retailers and enhanced amenities within the new Dining Pavilion will provide our shoppers with more choices when they visit The Florida Mall,” said Brian Hanson, general manager of The Florida Mall. “We look forward to introducing the sleek, reimagined space to our community and visitors, offering a fresh new customer experience that is well-suited to our market.”

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New-to-Market Concepts

Name: El Meson Sandwiches
Description: Puerto-Rico based El Meson Sandwiches is renowned for its Caribbean-inspired grilled sandwiches on artisan bread and its 100 percent Arabica coffee. Named one of the top restaurant chains in the world by Travel + Leisure, El Meson features unique options like all-day breakfast and healthy vegetarian menu items. The Florida Mall restaurant will be El Meson’s first U.S. location.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 717

Name: CARVERA Argentinian Grill
Description: CARVERA Argentinian Grill will open its first location outside of Puerto Rico in a modern space at The Florida Mall. CARVERA is a neighborhood fast-casual grill restaurant with a diverse menu based on traditional Argentinean comfort food. It will offer the local community the quality and flavor of exquisite meats cooked to perfection on the grill. CARVERA creatively adapts the Argentinean cuisine with a fusion of regional dishes to bring the perfect balance from diverse cultures to any table; thus, offering a compelling alternative to traditional ethnic style venues. CARVERA’s mission is to provide a flavorful hint of the Argentinean spice in Hispanic and US markets by offering customers a typically ethnic array of the best Argentinean made-to-order dishes with fresh ingredients from the highest quality, at reasonably family-affordable prices. Combine a casual friendly ambiance, with a diligent staff, to create a sense of ‘place’ in order to reach the goal of overall value in the lunch/ dining experience.
Opening Date: Summer 2015
Square Footage: 1,778

Name: Carlo’s Bakery
Description: Carlo’s Bakery is known for our delicious pastries, desserts & cakes. Originally opened by Carlo Guastaffero in 1910, Carlo’s is a family owned bakery featured on the TLC hit show Cake Boss. The Florida Mall concept will be its first location in the state of Florida.
Opening Date: Summer 2015
Square Footage: 2,231

Name: la Madeleine
Description: The popular la Madeleine will make its Florida debut with the new Florida Mall location. From the signature fireplace to crave-worthy food, each la Madeleine welcomes guests to relax, visit with friends and family, and enjoy their country French fare.
Opening Date: Fall 2015
Square Footage: 4,517

Name: Bubbleology
Description: Hailing from London, Bubbleology offers bubble tea, a refreshing flavored fruit and milk tea served ice cold or piping hot and filled with chewy natural tapioca balls. The teas are rich with antioxidants and have a base of green tea, black/red tea or white tea. Customers can enhance the flavor with natural fruit flavors and/or milk.
Opening Date: Summer 2015
Square Footage: 120

Name: Morana
Description: The Florida Mall will be the first Florida location, and one of the first US boutiques outside of California for the Brazilian accessories brand. The boutique is known for high-end fashion jewelry and accessories that are synonymous with style and sophistication.
Opening Date: Summer 2015
Square Footage: 768

Name: SportsAction, Inc.
Description: SportsAction, Inc. is an athletic footwear retailer with several stores located in south Florida in the most important and premium malls. SportsAction specializes in providing quality products and great styles in a variety of brand name performance, sports lifestyle and soccer footwear, apparel and accessories. SportsAction is in the process of expanding and continued growth with the opening of this new location in Central Florida, helping to achieve their mission.
Opening Date: Fall 2015
Square Footage: 4,489

Casual Dining
Name: Tobu
Description: This quick service Asian concept sets the bar for the next generation of fast food concepts by offering a variety of distinct and delicious menu items presented in a clean, eye-catching store. The menu includes your choice of fresh chicken, beef, pork, tofu, and sushi rolls served alongside delicious sides such as mixed vegetables, egg rolls, steamed or fried rice, salad and more. Tobu provides an innovative style and unique alternative at malls by serving only the finest ingredients presenting the best possible dining experience.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 1,419

Name: Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Description: Five Guys Burgers and Fries specializes in handmade burgers cooked to perfection on a grill, served with fresh-cut fries cooked in pure peanut oil. The popular fast-casual concept uses the freshest of ground beef to create 250,000 possible burger options with all the toppings you could stuff between fresh-baked buns.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 732

Name: Charley’s Philly Steaks
Description: Charley’s Philly Steaks are made with 100 percent USDA choice steak, 100 percent all-white meat chicken breast and fresh deli meats. Each Philly steak is grilled fresh, right when it’s ordered.
Opening Date: June 2015
Square Footage: 732

Name: Dumpling and Noodle Bar
Description: Dumpling and Noodle Bar brings the noodle bowl concept into the 21st century by combining a modern and appealing restaurant aesthetic, dynamic ordering system and exciting “kitchen to bar” service offerings with diverse Asian fusion inspired by udon and ramen options. Each menu item can be paired with unique and deliciously-blended teas and slushes. The concept has been designed, from top to bottom, to attract customers with a fresh and modern brand and design, and an even-flow trendy and social atmosphere that keeps coming back for more. This is a lunch and dinner experience you won’t want to miss!
Opening Date: June 2015
Square Footage: 400

Name: Chicken Now
Description: Chicken Now is a counter-serve concept known for its chicken fingers served in sandwiches, wraps and salads. Original or grilled, this delicious concept serves only the freshest chicken, cooked to order the way you like it. Chicken Now is dedicated to providing customers with the highest quality service, catering to families and people of all ages.
Opening Date: June 2015
Square Footage: 795

Name: A&W All American Food
Description: A&W All American Food is a fast-food outlet serving namesake root beer and floats that can be paired with a variety of delicious burgers, lightly breaded chicken fingers, hot dogs and French fries. Satisfy your taste buds and grab a soft-serve blended dessert treat to finish off your meal.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 600

Name: Asian Chao
Description: Asian Chao delivers healthy alternatives with zesty and tangy flavors like Orange Chicken, Beef & Broccoli, Vegetable Medley, and other popular dishes. The first Asian Chao opened at The Florida Mall in 1991.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 600

Name: Sbarro
Description: As the pre-eminent, quick service New York pizza place worldwide, Sbarro serves made-from-scratch dough prepared daily, San Marzano style tomato sauce, and hand-shredded 100 percent whole milk mozzarella. The restaurant also prides itself on offering other Italian-American cuisine including spaghetti, lasagna and baked ziti served with Carmela Sbarro’s signature sauce.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 618

Name: Taco Bell
Description: Taco Bell is the nation’s leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant chain serving made to order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties like the exclusive Doritos® Locos Tacos, gourmet inspired Cantina Power Menu and lower calorie Fresco Menu.
Opening Date: June 2015
Square Footage: 623

Name: Häagen-Dazs
Description: Häagen-Dazs is a counter-service chain offering the purest and finest of ice cream sorbet and frozen yogurt. Originating in New York, Häagen-Dazs went from offering only three flavors – vanilla, chocolate and coffee – to innovating the frozen dessert experience with distinctive flavors such as vanilla swiss almond, butter pecan, and dulce de leche, among others.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 240

Health-Conscious
Name: Spoleto Italian Kitchen
Description: Spoleto Italian Kitchen is an international brand with restaurants located in Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica. The Florida Mall location is an interactive eatery where diners can create their own pastas, flatbreads, salads and desserts.
Opening Date: June 2015
Square Footage: 2,509

Name: Nature’s Table
Description: Nature’s Table offers great menu choices such as gourmet wraps and paninis, classic sandwiches, salads and delicious protein bowls. It’s a perfect blend of the traditional and the new, the healthy and the indulgent. The restaurant recently introduced a new menu this year featuring many flavorful options.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 718

Name: FRESH – Healthy Café
Description: FRESH – Healthy Café features a wide variety of fresh and healthy foods, including wraps, grilled paninis, salads and soups. Pair these delectable offerings with the concept’s renowned smoothies or fresh squeezed juices for the perfect health experience. FRESH also offers a delicious kids’ menu that all kids will enjoy!
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 224

Name: Jamba Juice
Description: Jamba Juice offers smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, yogurt and fruit blends, wheat grass shots, slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal made with 100% organic oats, and healthy baked goods.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 280

Name: Ugrean
Description: Ugrean strives to provide a healthy and flavorsome dining experience that will surprise both your senses and expectations. All food is sourced from the most responsible local farmers, suppliers and traders to meet and exceed customer’s expectations. Ugrean’s menu includes signature salads, fresh juices, and create-your-own salads with fresh ingredients, in addition to tarts, gelato, macaroons and more for the sweet tooth. The concept will be reintroduced under the new brand name, ugrean, previously known as ‘Fifth Avenue Bistro’.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 607

Name: SUBWAY
Description: SUBWAY sandwiches are made to order right in front of the customer, precisely the way they want – using freshly baked breads, select sauces and a variety of delicious veggies and toppings. Top off your sandwich with a sweet-tooth satisfying dessert.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 797

Retailers
Name: Ron Jon Surf Shop
Description: Ron Jon Surf Shop, the World’s Most Famous® surf shop brings the beach to you! All the great names and assortments in swimwear, casual clothing, surfboards, skateboards and beach accessories you’ve come to expect from Ron Jon can be found at Ron Jon Surf Shop at The Florida Mall.
Opening Date: Fall 2015
Square Footage: 8,343

Name: Delores Jewelers
Description: Delores Jewelers is a family owned and operated high-end jewelry store that has been in business since 1975. The retailer that specializes in one-of-a-kind custom jewelry designs and creation, and also offers fine jewelry pieces from authorized dealers for PANDORA, Alex & Ani, Vanna K, Simon G, Artcarved, Camelot, Benchmark, Mars and more. Delores Jewelers promises to provide excellent customer service and looks forward to assisting customers in finding the best jewelry.
Opening Date: Summer 2015
Square Footage: 1,691

Name: Yankee Candle
Description: The Yankee Candle Company, Inc. is a leading designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of premium scented candles. Yankee Candle has more than a 40-year history of offering distinctive products and marketing them as affordable luxuries and consumable gifts.
Opening Date: June 1, 2015
Square Footage: 1,422

Name: GNC
Description: GNC sets the standard in the health and nutrition industry by demanding truth in labeling, ingredient safety and product potency, all while remaining on the cutting edge of nutritional science. General Nutrition Centers is the world’s largest company of its kind devoted exclusively to helping its customers improve their quality of life. The new GNC will be the second location for the brand at The Florida Mall.
Opening Date: Summer 2015
Square Footage: 2,080

Photos from a recent trip to The Florida Mall

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The Old Food Court
The Old Food Court

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Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi has finally opened this week at the UCF / University location.

This is their 7th location in Florida, with other Bentos in Gainesville and Jacksonville.

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Bento Cafe was founded in Gainesville 13 years ago by University of Florida alumni Jimmy Tung, Johnny Tung and David Yu. This is the third location in Orlando, following the debut of Bento at the Plaza downtown and on Sand Lake Road.

The restaurant features entrees, such as Bento Boxes and noodle and rice bowls, alongside sushi options including sashimi, vegetarian or classical sushi varieties, with most of the dishes in the $7 to $9 range. There is also a full bar at this location.

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Some of my favorite dishes at Bento Cafe include the Chirashi sushi bowl, Spicy Korean chicken, teriyaki chicken, and the Cantonese pork chop. While in college, Bento Cafe was actually one of the first places where I tried many of the various cuisines from Asia for the very first time, at a very college budget friendly price. For that, I am forever grateful to them for opening up the doors to Asian cuisine, not only to me, but to thousands of college students around Florida.

We’ll be updating this post as more information comes in.

SPICY TUNA-SALMON DON 8.75
An assortment of fresh Sashimi on a bed of rice with masago, avocado, slices of cucumber, sesame seeds and wakame
Bento Asian Kitchen and Sushi
12101 University Blvd Ste 408
Orlando, FL 32817
(407) 658-8088

SUSHI HAPPY HOUR
Monday – Friday | 4 pm – 7 pm
Buy 2 rolls, get 1 Free!
SUSHI COMBO BOX
$8.75 from Open to 5 pm

Full bar at the UCF location
Full bar at the UCF location
Line is quite busy on the first day
Line is quite busy on the first day

Bento Café on Urbanspoon

Bbq, Bacon & Cheddar burger – BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar & haystack onions on an egg bun.

“Smashed fresh.  Served delicious.”  Smashburger brings its adventurous flavors to Florida and its first stop: Orlando, FL.  Although Smashburger is not a recognized brand yet in Florida, founder Tom Ryan has a vision for Smashburger and he is bringing his concept to life a burger at a time, with ten developing restaurants in Florida from Jacksonville to Kissiminee to Brevard.  First location on 3162 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL and the second location on 334 North Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL.  I was invited (last minute – excuse the low-quality iPhone 4s photos!  Hopefully they do some justice) to attend Smashburger’s media preview at the Alafaya location, presented by founder Tom Ryan.  He goes down the entire menu and tells us a story behind each burger, reminding us that food with a story is important, and regardless of the contents in the burger the three main components: burger, cheese, and bun always has to be good.  He wants you to still be able to taste the burger in every bite.

Tasting menu

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Fried pickles

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Smashfries

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Founder Tom Ryan tells us a story

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Every bun at Smashburger is buttered.  “In the cooking process we keep so much juice (in the burger) that we keep butter (on the bun) to hold it.”  Every market has its own local burger so you can find the “Central Florida burger” in the Orlando locations.  For control freaks,  they have a create your own burger menu.

Grilled chicken sandwich – piccato style – beat out flat.  Break out a piece of chicken and find it juicy and savory.  Smashburger took it off menu and after popular demand brought it back quickly.

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Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

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What’s Ryan’s favorite?  The Buffalo & Blue Cheese Crispy chicken sandwich – fried to give it a crispy coating and features Frank’s Red Hot Sauce topped with blue cheese that bites through everything.  Ryan says this is the sandwich to drink an IPA with, which they also sell at all their locations.

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The handspun shakes are rich and creamy contains 14% butter fat and made with Hagaan-Daz ice cream, YUM.

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Those are sample sizes, of course.  Smashburger is now open go check it out for yourself and tell me what you think below!

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

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Swine & Sons Provisions Marks Latest Endeavor from Acclaimed Florida Chefs James and Julie Petrakis

Winter Park, Fla. – Swine & Sons Provisions, a new endeavor from James and Julie Petrakis, chefs/owners of The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, is slated to open February 2015. The third Winter Park operation from the James Beard-nominated husband/wife tandem will reflect Cask & Larder’s sophisticated southern cuisine and Ravenous Pig’s innovative flare for modern fine dining, while introducing a novel takeout concept to Central Florida.

Located immediately west of Cask & Larder on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park, Swine & Sons Provisions will specialize in takeout charcuterie, butcher sandwiches, seasonally inspired homemade ice creams, signature spices and rubs, scratch-made biscuits, daily pastry offerings and more.

S&S Rendering 1Swine & Sons Provisions will also offer growlers of beer sourced from Cask & Larder’s Brewery. Favorites from The Brewery, including the Red Drum, IPA and Wit varietals will be available, along with a handpicked selection of boutique wines.

“Since opening Ravenous Pig seven years ago and on the heels of celebrating Cask & Larder’s second anniversary, we’ve not only been humbled by the community’s support, but also its encouragement to keep growing,” said Julie Petrakis. “Swine & Sons Provisions is an extension of our first two locations but geared more to people with limited time or to those looking to recreate some of their favorite dishes at home.”

Longtime Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder Chef de Cuisine Rhys Gawlak will join the Petrakises as a partner in Swine & Sons Provisions. Additionally, he will spearhead the charcuterie program at the store as well as oversee daily operations. Gawlak will showcase a collection of cured meats and cheeses as part of the charcuterie offerings and regularly incorporate seasonally fresh local ingredients into the daily selections.

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Fellow Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder alum, Koralyss Dominguez, will join Gawlak at Swine & Sons Provisions to oversee its delectable pastry and dessert items. Dominguez will feature some of the most popular sweet treats created during her tenure at both restaurants, which have a cult-like following, while also unveiling new works of culinary art.

Keeping it in the “Swine Family,” Kailey Krips, currently a manager at Ravenous Pig, will also be part of the Swine & Sons Provisions launch team as its store manager.

“It’s a passion of Julie and I to keep our hometown on the forefront of the most progressive culinary trends,” said James Petrakis. “When conceptualizing Swine & Sons Provisions, we pulled inspiration from places like Craftsman & Wolves, Boccalone, Star Provisions and Two Boroughs Larder. We’re giving it a Florida twist and couldn’t be more excited to debut the new concept in Winter Park.”

Pig Board

WHERE WILL YOU BE LOCATED?
Look for their new space located in the same plaza as Cask & Larder on the corner of Fairbanks and Pennsylvania (in the old UBreakiFix next to the cleaners).

Swine & Sons Provisions is also proud to announce the launch of its website at www.SwineandSons.com. Branding for the store, including its website, is being led by Orlando-based Hatchet Design. The team at Hatchet has been involved with numerous design and branding efforts at Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder since their inceptions.

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Regular Swine & Sons Provisions updates are also available via social media at:
http://www.swineandsons.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/swineandsons
Twitter – @SwineandSons
Instagram – @SwineandSons

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The Osprey Tavern will open in Baldwin Park at 4899 New Broad Street, Orlando, Florida 32814 this fall, according to sources.

It will be run by the owners of the sleek Seito Sushi, the wildly popular Japanese restaurant, also in Baldwin Park.

Jason Chin, owner, tells us, “The place will be featuring seasonal new American cuisine, a raw bar, charcuterie and cheese, craft beer, fine wine and scratch cocktails featuring small batch spirits. The chefs will be announced soon and we hope to be opening around October of this year.”

The restaurant will take over the place once occupied by Bullfish, a merchandise and post office store on the corner. There have been quite a few closings along the New Broad Street corridor in Baldwin Park these past few years, but Seito Sushi has been one of the few restaurants able to remain very popular with the local residents for its quality sushi and sophisticated atmosphere.

You can follow The Osprey Tavern on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Osprey-Tavern/459200480850163.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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East End Market is going to be a game changer, and probably the most significant thing to happen to the local Central Florida and Orlando food scene in years. East End Market will truly be a food lovers’ delight.

And hopefully they will open very soon, most likely this August if construction efforts remain on schedule. It’s been a long time coming.

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East End Market is a neighborhood market and food hub in the Audubon Park Garden District of Orlando, Florida. The Market showcases some of Central Florida’s top food entrepreneurs, tradespeople, artists, and chefs.

I recently went to visit the construction site and meet with a few of the local food artisans and chefs at the East End Market during a press event.

The two-story structure is home to a dozen merchants, a large event space, a demonstration kitchen, an incubator kitchen, offices, retail shops, a full-time, award-winning caterer and a world-class restaurant.

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The first floor hosts ten independently-owned businesses offering local produce, meats, daily baked bread, Italian prepared meals and sweets, Kombucha, organic juice, raw food specialties, artisan cheeses, savory soups and sauces, and more.

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Contiguous to the market hall is a farm-fresh restaurant, Txokos Basque Kitchen, a new culinary concept from the owners of Spanish River Grill.

James Beard award nominated Chef Henry Salgado of Spanish River Grill in New Smyrna Beach explains about the upcoming Txokos Basque Kitchen at East End Market.

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A working Market Garden will take the space of the sizeable lawn off of Corrine drive. My Yard Farm, Central Florida’s premier Edible Landscape Company, will design the garden to be a functional garden, whichTxokos Basque Kitchen can use as a source for fresh vegetables and herbs. My Yard Farm provides a vast array of services and knowledge for both residential and commercial business, such as the Whisper Creek Farm at the Grande Lakes Marriott Resort. Their expertise in farm planning and implementation has allowed them the reputation for growing high quality, local, orgaincally produced specialty crops to support the area’s local food scene.

Vendors at East End Market will include:

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Txokos Basque Kitchen
Michele Salgado: michele@thespanishrivergrill.com
A Txokos (cho-kos) refers to the underground gastronomic clubs that emerged in the Basque region of Spain during the Franco regime. Not allowed to enjoy their language, customs or food, the men would gather secretly to cook, speak their native tongue and sing their time honored songs together. Today the Basque country is recognized not only for its rich culture and heritage but for its outstanding food and creative chefs. With an open kitchen, and an Asador for grilling, Txokos Basque Kitchen will celebrate the proud spirit of this special part of Spain with food that is both traditional and fresh. With a year round growing season, Txokos will source as many ingredients as possible from its East End Market neighbors and from the abundant and talented local farmers in Central Florida.

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Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events
Jamie McFadden: Info@cuisinierscater.com
“Constantly striving for Perfection,” has been Cuisiniers Executive Chef Jamie McFadden’s goal over the past decade. His culinary education and travels throughout Europe and the United States have enabled him to build a solid foundation on which he continues to exceed expectations of palettes throughout Central Florida.
After graduating from Baltimore’s International Culinary College and La Varenne Cooking School in Burgundy, France, Jamie worked abroad under Master Chef Petter Timmins at the Park Hotel in County Cavan, Ireland. His reputation as an award-winning chef in Central Florida was earned at various high profile restaurants including his own restaurant, Mimi’s Cafe & Wine Bar.

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Fatto In Casa
Elisa Scarpa: elisa@fattoincasa.us
Fatto in Casa, Italian for “homemade,” was founded in 2009 in Winter Park by Italian born and raised Elisa Scarpa. From appetizers to desserts, using the highest quality ingredients, original & seasonal recipes, Fatto in Casa thrives to provide outstanding authentic Italian food to the greater Orlando area. Freshly prepared specialties will be available daily.

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Houndstooth Sauce Company
David Bressler: david@houndstoothsauces.com
David Bressler of Houndstooth Sauce Company will serve his famous red & white BBQ sauces, marinades, dressings, glazes, dipping sauces, rubs, soups, sandwiches, salads & apparel.

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La Femme Du Fromage
Tonda Corrente: tonda@tondaskitchen.com
Tonda Corrente is a local cheese and wine enthusiast with a passion for food and the everyday celebration of life that happens around the dining table. She is a self taught chef and the owner of Tonda’s Kitchen, a catering company. She is committed to using local and organic products. La Femme Du Fromage will be Orlando’s premier destination for learning about and obtaining artisan cheeses. The shop will provide guests with high quality, hand crafted and unique cheeses, and a friendly and passionate retail experience.

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Local Roots Farm Store
Emily Rankin: emily@localrootsdistribution.com
The Local Roots Farm Store brings together Florida farmers, artisans, and local food lovers. From the farm to the city, local roots offers “all Florida, all year.” You can pick-up your farm-fresh eggs, local honey, a bounty of fresh Florida seasonal produce, as well as an unparalleled selection of Florida naturally raised meats. Bringing the farm to your table! Within the store, The Roots Cellar will be offering craft beer on tap and wine by the glass. The beer selection will include Florida craft beers, as well as a beautiful selection of wine from domestic boutique producers. Come enjoy the flavors of Florida!

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Olde Hearth Bread Company
Shannon Talty: shannon@oldehearthbreadcompany.com
A family-owned artisan bakery committed to bringing you the most natural, hand-crafted breads and pastries that you can get your hands on in Central Florida. No Perservatives. No artificial flavors. When simple is good. Shannon and Janice Talty created the Olde Hearth Bread Company in 1998. The original vision was to establish a retail and wholesale business offering high quality artisan breads and pastries. However, the demands by chefs in Central Florida for quality breads, previously unavailable to them, ignited the wholesale business and gave the company its direction.

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Skyebird
Devin Edwards: devin@skyebird.com
Skyebird is a locally owned and operated juice bar and experimental kitchen that uses the best mix of local and organic produce to make fresh juices, smoothies, house brewed Kombucha and a full raw food menu. Skyebird’s goal is to provide a healthy alternative to support a variety of nutrition and lifestyle based diets. The term ‘experimental’ refers to their approach to food, which brings a constantly evolving menu as they work with new seasonal ingredients, equipment and processes to challenge themeselves and their customers’ appetites. Skyebird will serve a vegetarian & vegan friendly breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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99 Market
Jennifer Crotty: jennifer@99market.org
99 Market provides inspired plantings and florals as well as gifts for the home and embellishments for celebrations. Offering gifts honoring nature and all of its curiosities, we feature local crafts, materials, art, and re-purposed items for the home and garden. Originally founded in Charleston with the making of old world troughs, fountains, and topiary, we have traveled the flower show circuit and found a cozy home in the East End Market. 99 Market will continue to serve customers at local farmers markets and at East End Market by combining the worlds of landscape and floral design to make people happy by making beautiful things.

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Wild Ocean Seafood Market
Cinthia Sandoval: cinthias@wildoceanmarket.com
For over four generations, Wild Ocean Seafood Market has provided local, wild-caught seafood from the Florida coast, getting their start as the premiere provider of Florida Rock Shrimp. Their family-owned and operated markets in Titusville and Port Canaveral now carry a wide selection of the ocean’s best seafoods. Most of their seafood finds its way across their docks in Port Canaveral, but they also carry seafood from locations throughout the southeast from waterways such as the Indian River, the St. Johns River, and the Banana River.

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Winter Park Distilling Company
Paul Twyford: paul@wpdistilling.com
The Winter Park Distilling Company was established by Paul Twyford and Andrew Asher to cultivate the time-honored tradition of locally handmade distilled spirits within their community. Both hometown boys and natives to Winter Park, Paul and Andrew craft their fine distilled spirits in a manner that hearkens back to the days of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate distillery. Paul and
Andrew’s whiskies and vodkas reflect their simple commitment to using only the finest ingredients, as well as time-tested recipes developed over multiple generations. The Winter Park Distilling Company is the first genuine artisanal distillery in Winter Park and Metro-Orlando.

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I am excited to let you know about the expansion of Hawkers to a second location to be at 1001 Park Street in Five Points, Jacksonville with an anticipated opening of October 2013. This follows as 4 Rivers Smokehouse, another Orlando staple, readies to open their outpost in Jacksonville this year as well.

Press Release follows…

“Hawkers” Brings the Streets of Asia to Five Points
Orlando, Fla., (May 23, 2013) – The owners of Hawkers, a name derived from the term for street food vendors in Asia, are joining the “foodie” movement that is sweeping Jacksonville’s Riverside neighborhood. Currently operating their original restaurant in the Mills50 district of Orlando, Hawkers’ management has announced their second location to be at 1001 Park Street in Five Points, with an anticipated opening of October 2013.

Guests will enjoy a menu full of small plates that includes the most popular street foods from regions across Asia: Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Korea, to name a few. Each menu item is served with sharing plates, encouraging guests to experience new dishes together, as is the custom with traditional hawker centers.

“Asia is full of so many incredible cuisines that haven’t been introduced to Western culture,” says co-founder Allen Lo, who contributes Malaysian influence to Hawkers’ menu. “Our goal is for guests to experience authentic flavors, unique to their palette in an environment that is as comfortable as it is exciting.”

Traditional noodle soups, wok stir-fried noodles and small plates fill the menu with dishes ranging from $4-$8. A few of the most popular items include: Char Way Teo, a Malaysian stir-fried noodle; Siu Yuk, a Chinese roasted, crispy pork belly; and Roti Canai, a Southeast Asian flatbread served with a curry dipping sauce that is Hawkers’ self-proclaimed most popular dish.

To accompany Hawkers’ extensive food menu, the Jacksonville location will offer a craft beer selection of over 100 microbrews, many of which will be local to Jacksonville, as well as Asian imports and a hand-selected wine and sake list. “We all agreed from the onset that flavors of this depth deserve only the best paired wines, beers, and sakes,” says Kaleb Harrell, who procures an evolving drink menu for Hawkers’ guests.

Hawkers will accept reservations for parties of 8 or more. To stay updated with the latest progress on Hawkers’ Five Points location or to view a full menu at the current Orlando location, visit Hawkers’ Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/hawkersstreetfare.
Founded in 2011, Hawkers offers authentic Asian street food in a sharing-encouraged, full-service casual restaurant. With a menu that
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includes the most popular street food recipes from regions across Asia, Hawkers creates an environment that allows guests to experience unique cuisines at affordable prices with service that educates guests. For more information visit www.facebook.com/hawkersstreetfare.

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The Avenue Gastrobar is a new restaurant opened by The Bento Group in downtown Orlando at 13 South Orange Avenue. The menu is very reasonably priced, especially for the downtown locale, with most items under $10, and the most expensive dishes at $12 for the steak frites and the shrimp and grits. The space is open and airy with lots of dark woods and modern yet rustic lighting and a huge bar flanking the left side. The restaurant is having their grand opening this Friday May 24, 2013 downtown.

Below are a few sneak peek photos from a recent visit:

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Deviled eggs with bacon bits

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Crispy Pork Belly BLT on sourdough bread – a bit too dry for me

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Panko fried chicken and pumpkin waffles

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 Mac and cheese topped with bacon bits – A crowd favorite

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Giraffas was a small burger joint in Brazil when engineering student Carlos Guerra bought it 30 years ago. He kept the fanciful name and expanded it into one of the country’s largest quick-service burger chains. The first of Giraffas Brazilian Steaks & Burgers’ three U.S. locations opened in Miami in 2011 and the first in Orlando opened today May 15 on International Drive in the area that is becoming known as Orlando’s “Little Brazil”.

Giraffas Restaurant, named one of the top 10 Fast Casual Restaurants in the world by Travel & Leisure, joins other local Brazilian establishments such as Pao De Gostoso, Fogo De Chao, and Vittorio’s on the stretch of International Drive near Universal Studios.

Unlike other known Brazilian restaurants that feature rodizio all you can eat style with rotating gauchos, the menu at Giraffas focuses on burgers, priced from $7.90 for a Grilled Picanha Single up to $11.90 for the Giraff?o Filet Burger (with topping choices like ham, cheese bacon and egg), as well as steaks, pasta, fish and more.

The difference is that the burgers at Giraffa are made from a very Brazilian cut of beef called picanha, the cap of beef rump steak.

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Juicy 5oz Grilled Picanha Burger – Free toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. Choose two toppings: Gouda Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Ham, Egg or WMB (Wine, Mushroom and Bacon). Choose one sauce: Giramayo, Horseradish or Chipotle

giraffas top dishes (5)
10-oz Grilled Picanha – Served with one sauce, and three sides… Sauces: Chimi Churri, Brazilian Vinaigrette, Madeira, Black Pepper, or Maitre D’Butter. Sides: White rice, brown rice, black beans, Brazilian Farofa*, grilled veggies, mashed potatoes, fries, haricots, quinoa, or small salad.

Giraffas
5415 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: (407) 226-9191
Hours: Sun-Thu:11am-10pm Fri-Sat:11am-12 midnight
http://giraffas.com/location/giraffas-orlando-international-drive/

“With close to 400 locations in the South American country of Brazil and more than 30 years in action, Giraffas brings together a multi-cultural cuisine that combines a touch of American favorites with a dash of Brazilian tastiness.”

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James Beard Award nominated Taqueria del Sol (TDS), a twelve-year old fast-casual successful restaurant and franchise brand that features a winning combination of a simple menu with eclectic and flavorful dishes, announces plans to open its very first franchise location outside of the company-owned stores, all located in Georgia, in Orlando, Fla. on Oct. 1, 2012 just south of downtown. Franchise owners Brandon and Charlie Bengel of BRMGRP, LLC plan to open approximately 11Taqueria del Sol’s over the next several years in Central and South Florida and currently own and operate 17 Five Guys locations in Central Florida.

While the menu is driven by southwestern cuisine, many of the dishes feature cross-cultural flair with the spice of Mexican, the boldness of southwestern and the comfort of southern cuisines.

TACOS
(All tacos served in soft flour tortillas)
MEMPHIS
Chopped smoked pork with a spicy jalapeño coleslaw and tequila BBQ sauce.
BRISKET
Shredded beef brisket with pico de gallo.
FRIED CHICKEN Strips of fried chicken breast, lime jalapeño mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.
CARNITA A Mexican favorite. Twice cooked tender pork with salsa frita, cilantro & onions.
FISH Tilapia dipped in an egg wash, rolled in corn masa and bread crumbs and deep-fried. Served with poblano tartar sauce and pickled jalapeños.
VEGGIE Veggie jalapeño refried beans, queso blanco and roasted tomatillo salsa.

Taqueria del Sol also keeps fans returning with the rotation of weekly blue plate, seafood and taco specials. Popular specials include the Shrimp & Grits (sautéed shrimp with Eddie’s jalapeño-tomato salsa and creamy grits), Cheeseburger Taco (a mixture of ground beef, spices and jalapeños, served with cheese dip, lime jalapeño mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato in a flour tortilla), Bob Taco (fried shrimp with crayfish mayonnaise, lettuce and pickled jalapeños in a flour tortilla), Buttermilk Fried Chicken and the Crispy Chile Relleno (two New Mexico green chiles stuffed with cheese, breaded, crispy fried and served with salsa frita, white rice and refried beans), an annual special that runs for a limited time each summer when the restaurant receives its shipment of freshly-harvested green chiles from Hatch, New Mexico.

Unique to the fast casual arena, Taqueria del Sol has a full bar in each location for the perfect drink to complete any meal. In addition to a distinctive selection of bottled beers, Taqueria del Sol boasts an expansive tequila list, specialty margaritas and a “build-your-own margarita” option.


Taqueria Del Sol’s Ballpark Taco, a playful twist to the American favorite

The effort to create such an inventive and approachable restaurant has not gone unnoticed. Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated, “the fish tacos are as addictive as the Memphis pork barbecue tacos, and the red sauce over an enchilada will put you in chile heaven.” Frommer’s describes Taqueria del Sol as “what fast food ought to be – quick and good, not to mention affordable.” Garden & Gun listed the turnip greens as one of the “100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die,” and notable southern food writer, John T. Edge, describes the dish, saying “the result violates all the rules and, in turn, sets a new standard.” Furthermore, founder Mike Klank and chef Hernandez have been nominated twice for the James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence for Outstanding Restaurateur 2011 and 2012.

Taqueria del Sol is located at 3138 South Orange Ave., Orlando, Fla. 32806 and will be open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Visit the restaurant online at Orlando’s Facebook and Twitterpages and to contact the Orlando restaurant directly, call 407-412-5952. Stay informed on weekly specials and news for TDS Orlando by signing up for the email blast at http://tinyurl.com/TDSOrlandoEmailSignUp.

 

Interview with Brandon Bengel
TDS Orlando Franchise Owner

Tasty Chomps: What inspired you to bring  TAQUERIA DEL SOL  to Orlando? 

Brandon Bengel: The food quality and presentation for the price is simply out of this world. I think people will be amazed by how delicious the food is. Orlando has never experienced a restaurant like this!

TC: How did you get started in owning Five Guys franchisees? 

BB: The second Five Guys store to ever open was right down the street from my dad’s house when I was a kid. When Five Guys began franchising, it was a natural fit for us. We now have 17 locations across Central Florida.

TC: Were there obstacles and challenges faced? 

BB: Premium real estate locations are always hard to come by. We spend a lot of time trying to find ideal locations.

TC: What would your advice for success in the business world?  

BB: Surround yourself with great people. We are fortunate to have amazing, talented and hard working employees on our team. We also make a regular effort to show our employees how much we appreciate them.

TC: What is your fave item from Taqueria del Sol? 

BB: It’s hard to choose just one favorite! The menu is constantly changing too due to the fantastic weekly specials. If I had to choose a favorite taco, I’d have to go with the Memphis taco. It has a wonderful tequila BBQ sauce. I really love the shrimp corn chowder too.

TC: What are your hobbies outside of restaurant owning?  

BB: I enjoy spending time with my wife and two young kids. They keep me busy!

TC:  Any future plans for other franchises?  

BB: Not at the present time. We have our hands full right now—and are loving every minute of it.


Taqueria Del Sol’s Kimchi taco

 

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