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4th of July at Grande Lakes plus Recent Restaurant Reviews

Written By Scott Joseph On July 2, 2020

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News from the Flog  

Socially Distanced Fireworks Saturday at Grande Lakes Orlando


GL Fireworks

Fireworks displays are going to be scarce this year. That’s understandable.

But Grande Lakes Orlando, home of the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott, will host a fireworks display, and you can see it and enjoy a socially distanced dinner, as well.

Here’s the plan. Make a dinner reservation for Saturday, July 4, at Highball & Harvest (or Primo, Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen or Bleu) and when it’s time for the fireworks (9 p.m. sharp), you’ll be invited to a separated area where you and your family can enjoy the show safely.

And if your dinner table has a view of the lake, as many of them at H&H do, you can just stay seated and watch from there.

Grande Lakes has put together a comprehensive set of safety guidelines that include staff screening, frequent cleansing, traffic control, and mandatory face coverings for staff.

You’ll be asked to wear a mask, too. So during the fireworks, those muffled oohs and ahhs might sound more like muuh and ahhm, but the effect will be the same.

You’re definitely going to want to make a reservation, so visit the resort’s dining pages for information.

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Recent Reviews

CFS Coffee

CFS ext

It was a whim stop. Driving through Winter Park’s Hannibal Square, my companion and I spotted an isolated table outside Café Frustos Selectos, more commonly known as CFS Coffee. It was brunchtime, Sunday, and we were weary of takeout. So we took a chance on dining onsite.

But there being no table service, we did have to go inside to order our food (which we preselected from a paper menu outside the front door.

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Vanbarry’s Public House

Vanbarry taco cu

Vanbarry’s Public House, on a hill above Orange Avenue overlooking Lake Jennie Jewel, has always been a pleasant place to sit, especially with its beachy atmosphere. And it might be a good choice for those looking to transition to onsite dining – it has lots of outside seating and the indoor dining area feels like it’s outside, thanks to open walls that give good circulation.

But if you’re like me and still hesitant about venturing out, the food is takeout worthy; you just have to provide your own beachside mien.

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Bars Ordered Closed

Beshears Tweet

Following a report of nearly 9,000 new cases of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation has ordered the suspension of on-premises consumption at all bars in the state.

The announcement was made in a tweet from department secretary Halsey Beshears.

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Wahlburgers Downtown Orlando Permanently Closed

Wahlburgers Opening

The downtown location of Wahlburgers, the burger franchise started by the celebrities Paul, Donny and Mark Wahlberg, has permanently closed.

A statement from the public relations firm representing Wahlburgers said: “The restaurant industry has been impacted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately, the Wahlburgers franchisee for the downtown Orlando Wahlburgers restaurant has made the difficult decision to permanently close its doors.”

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RESTAURANTS Act introduced to Save Restaurants

Save Restaurants

If you’ve been following along on these pages lately you know that restaurants are in dire financial straits. We’re already seeing permanent closings and I fear more are to come.

But a bill with bipartisan support has been introduced in in the Congress that would provide financial support to restaurants.

It has a longwinded name (Congress, as I pointed out): the Real Economic Support that Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive Act of 2020.

Call it the RESTAURANTS Act for short.


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Tornatore’s Reopens

tornatores ext

After closing his restaurant on Wednesday so that all staff members could be tested for COVID-19, Denny Tornatore, owner of Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria, announced that enough staff results have come back – all negative – to begin serving again. The popular College Park restaurant has reopened

However, Tornatore said in an email message that he would go back to offering only takeout and delivery for the foreseeable future; the dining room will remain closed. As more staff members get their test results, they will be added back on to the work roster.

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The Whiskey Closed Until Further Notice

Whiskey logo

Note: Consider this further notice: The Whiskey will reopen on Friday, July 3.


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Other Stuff

Takeout, Take Two

Takeout sack

As COVID-19 numbers increase throughout the state, restaurant owners are learning that staff or customers or both have potentially brought the coronavirus inside their newly reopened dining rooms. The responsible ones are choosing to close for deep cleaning and full-staff testing. Some, according to anonymous and unverified reports, choose to continue with business as usual.

Among those that have reclosed, most have indicated that when they are cleared to reopen, they will go back to offering only takeout and delivery. They seem to think it was too soon to start offering on-premises dining.

I’m staying with takeout, for the more part, too. So let’s go over some things to consider when ordering takeout or delivery.

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Wine Bar George Finds Room for Whiskey

HY Whiskey Horizontal

How does Whiskey Bar George sound?

Wine Bar George, the Disney Springs restaurant and grape juice outlet owned and operated by master sommelier Geroge Miliotes, has added a signature whiskey to its portfolio: Hooten Young American Whiskey.

The whiskey is being distributed by Hooten Young Wine and Sprits, a local company that was previously known mostly for cigars. It’s owned by Tim Young and Norm Hooten, the latter a former special operations soldier with the singular distinction of having been portrayed by Eric Bana in the movie Black Hawk Down.

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Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide | P.O. Box 568344 | Orlando | FL | 32856




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