This new upscale casual dining restaurant and bar features gorgeous craft cocktails and succulent, mouth-watering dishes recently opened on Friday September 18th in the Lake Ivanhoe District in the location (1414 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804) which once held Mesa 21 and Gargi’s Lakeside.
The restaurant, Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe is brought to us by partners Philippe Villain, Kevin O’ Donnell, and Chef Emmanuel Clement.
Mr. Philippe Villain has a long history in the restaurant industry working within the resorts, hotels, and food and beverage management.
Chef Emmanuel Clement apprenticed at “Le Grand Veneur”, the most prestigious restaurant in Barbizon, France. Then onto the luxurious “Le Mazagran” and “Chez Edgard” in Paris, working closely with famous Michelin starred master chefs such as Alain Senderens in Paris and Christian Delouvrier in New York.
As Area Managing Chef for Disneyland Paris, he ran the test kitchen, created, developed concepts and menus from fast casual to fine dining and gastronomic for all the restaurants on site. He also served as Executive Chef International for Planet Hollywood and most recently was the owner and chef of “La Bodeguita del Centro” in Mallorca, Spain.
We spoke with Owner Philippe Villain about the restaurant and their upcoming plans.
Interview with Philippe Villain, owning partner of Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe
What is the inspiration behind the Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe menu?
We wanted to draw upon our combined extensive fine dining background from New York City to around the world to deliver to our hometown Orlando an understated exceptional dining experience.
We are a local restaurant which benefits from our powerful international experience including the best traditional culinary methods , focusing on Fresh , Florida and Local sourcing .
Combined with this, we are dedicated to fine dining service details but all in a low key relaxed atmosphere .
It was key to our concept to not over charge ; we are less than our direct competitors. We also don’t charge for sides because we absolutely do not want to nickel & dime people. Also, our wine list has exceptionally low mark ups – Our Motto is Humbly Excellent !
How has the reception been so far since opening?
Amazingly positive , everyone has loved it and told us it is the best in town ahead of all their formerly regular spots .
Everyone gets it ! They savor great food and experiences with the relaxed feel .
How has the opening of Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe been compared to past restaurant openings?
It was very smooth . Construction took twice as long this year but we did do an extensive rebuild , training was perfectly executed and we were delighted to find many great new staff members .
What are some precautions you are taking for guests and staff for the current pandemic situation?
We are still following all the CDC guidelines plus daily temperature checks , extensive sanitation measures , 100% mask wearing ,and most importantly if you are sick don’t come now .
Growing up, what are some of your favorite childhood memories around food? What inspired you to get into the restaurant industry?
For Chef Emmanuel, it was growing up in a large family that traveled and dined out extensively ,and he loved working in the kitchen with his mother each day .
We both extensively travelled and are passionate gastronomes .
All the travel set ablaze our love for discovering nations and cultures through food .
What do you want the people of Orlando to know about Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe?
Come and enjoy great food , great service in a relaxed vibe with a gorgeous waterfront view . This is your best local spot !
What are some of the most popular dishes so far since opening?
Sautéed calamari , Steak tartare, our method on a Beef tenderloin , Grilled Swordfish , and Florida Spiny Lobster .
What are some upcoming plans for the menu for the holidays? any special catering menus?
We will launch Brunch on weekend at the end of October , and our Happy Hour continues to build and we are putting together great menus for all the December and New Year’s Eve inquiries we get daily …..so check back soon!
Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe
1414 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804