Located in the heart of Orlando, Florida in the Thornton Park District, “Island Time” brings a laidback atmosphere to the neighborhood with their blend of Caribbean cuisine with influences from Florida and the Southern United States.
From jerk-spiced dishes to hearty Southern sides, Island Time provides a taste of the tropics in the Sunshine State. The restaurant recently completed outdoor patio renovations and are ready for the holiday season with outdoor dining and party rental availabilities. They also recently received their liquor license approval and are expanding their bar menu beyond the already fantastic daiquiris available.
We spoke with chef/owner Devon Tillman about his culinary journey as well as his plans for Island Time since first taking over right before the pandemic in 2019.
Island Time Menu Highlights
Curry Pickled Eggs, Caramelized Onions, Candied Bacon
Blackened Jumbo Shrimp over Cajun Corn
Southern Pork Belly
Honey Bourbon Glazed Pork Belly on a Corn and Black Eyed Pea Succotash with Pickled Mango
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Peppers, Onion and Slab Bacon (can be made vegan)Jerk Plantain Fries – Jerk Yellow Plantains with Pineapple Aioli
Jerk Wings – Whole Roasted Jumbo Jerk Wings with Pineapple Aioli
Baked Brie – Brie Baked in Pu? Pastry with Pepper Jelly, Berry Compote, Crackers and Dried Fruit, Nuts and Chocolate
Blackened NY Strip – 8oz Blackened NY Strip with Cajun Buter over a Black Eyed Pea Succotash with Corn and Brussel Sprouts
Pumpkin Curry – Roasted Caribbean Pumpkin with Peppers, Onions, Tomato, Okra and Callaloo in a Coconut Curry Sauce with Adobo Rice (Vegan)
Smothered Pork Chop – Roasted Pork Chops in a Butermilk Onion Gravy with Coconut Plantain Mashed Potatoes and Collards
Fish and Grits – Blackened Snapper over Stone Ground Cheddar Grits with a Rich Creole Sauce
Citrus Mojo Roasted Chicken – Citrus Mojo Roasted Chicken Leg Quarter with Coconut Plantain Mashed Potatoes and Collards Caribbean Shrimp Pasta – Blackened Jumbo Shrimp on a bed of Linguini with a Caribbean Sauce of Peppers, Onions, Tomatoes and Coconut Milk
Sancocho – Chicken, Beef and Chorizo Stew with Veggies, Potato, Corn, Plantain, Yucca with Adobo Rice
Tasty Chomps Interview with Owner/Chef Devon Tillman, Island Time
Ricky Ly, Tasty Chomps: What led you to pursue a career in the culinary arts? Can you share a bit about your culinary journey?
Devon Tillman: I consider myself more than just a Chef. I feel that I am more of a restauranteur because I enjoy all aspects of the restaurant industry. For the first part of my career I was a server in casual and upscale restaurants. I got out of the industry for a few years and was in customer service. When I decided to get back into the industry, Cordon Bleu was just opening so I decided to get a culinary degree so that I could round out my knowledge and become more of a valuable asset. After graduating my first job was as a sous chef and it’s just grown from there.
For those who have never had the pleasure of dining at Island Time, how would you describe it to them?
Island Time is a State of Mind. Island Time means, relax, chill, slow down. It has nothing really to do with the food but more about the atmosphere. When we talk about the food. We are Caribbean inspired with a southern accent. That’s just my way of saying that we are Florida. A mixture of Southern and Caribbean. All of our beer offerings are just from Florida. Our wine is mostly restaurant only or low retail presence. And our liquor is no major mainstream brands. We are a small, unique Florida restaurant.
What are the most popular dishes right now on the menu?
For the appetizers there are three that have been here since the beginning, and I don’t think I can ever take them off without some blowback. Jerk plantain fries. Jerk roasted yellow plantains with pineapple aioli. Deviled Eggs, Curry pickled eggs with caramelized onions and candied bacon. And Jerk Wings. Whole jerk roasted wings with pineapple aioli. For the entrees it would be the Smothered Pork Chop, Pumpkin Curry and Sancocho.
Were there any significant influences or experiences in your early life that ignited your passion for cooking?
My influence for the industry as a whole I believe came from when I was younger. I grew up in the south and would stay with cousins, aunts and uncles over the summers out in the country. All meals were homemade from scratch and everyone ate together. Hunting, fishing, gardening, raising livestock all for the purpose of being able to eat. If there is one thing in the world that everyone has is common is that we all eat and drink to stay alive.
Can you share some of your most cherished culinary memories or experiences that have shaped your approach to cooking?
I have worked in some upscale places but I prefer more casual. I am more interested in having a place where people can come and enjoy themselves multiple times instead of just once or twice a year for special occasions. I like taking common foods and changing them some but keeping the original aesthetic of the dish.
Are there any chefs, mentors, or culinary figures who have had a profound impact on your career and cooking philosophy?
All of them. You can learn something from anyone.
How do you go about finding inspiration for these new dishes or menu concepts?
I look back at my past growing up and seeing what I can bring into today. I like taking traditional dishes and putting spins on them with keeping the same feel of the dish. And, I ask people what they remember from their pasts. Comfort food is different for everyone.
What culinary trends or movements are you currently most excited about, and how do they influence your work?
I don’t follow culinary trends. I think mostly because, to me, you loose your individuality when you do. I think it panders to the masses instead of having you be yourself.
Why is Orlando a special place for you and your restaurant and team?
I have lived in Orlando for the better part of my life so its where I call home.
What plans do you have coming up in the near future?
We just opened up The Garden in the back of our building, expanded seating and got our liquor license. We are looking forward to bringing a new dining experience to Thornton Park.
Island Time Menus
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
Cocktail and Beer Menu
Address: 712 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: (407) 930-2640
Monday – Tuesday Closed
Wednesday – Thursday 4:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday 4:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday 11:00am – 3:00pm
Wednesday – Friday 4:00pm – 6:30pm
Saturday 11:00am – 3:00pm
Sunday 11:00am – 3:00pm