Newsy Nuggets: Southern Box, A La Cart, Persimmon Hollow, Lamp Shades and MedTaste

Written By Scott Joseph On May 29, 2024

Great Southern Box exterior

Great Southern Box Company food hall opened over the Memorial Day weekend in College Park’s nascent Packing District. It is, appropriately enough, a big, boxy building with the food hall in the center and two large spaces on either end. One will be a microbrewery and the other will be an event space capable of handling large crowds. 

The food hall is reminiscent of an upscale mall’s food court – Mall at Millenia came to mind when I visited for a preview last week – with the various vendors ringing the space. But unlike a mall, GBSC features a central bar and rather comfy-looking seating, including spacious booths.

Continue Reading

Hamburger Mary’s leaving Church Street and Downtown Orlando

Written By Scott Joseph On May 24, 2024

HamburgerMary ext

John Paonessa and Mike Rogier, owners of the Orlando Hamburger Mary’s franchise, announced this week that they close the restaurant in the historic Church Street Station on June 2. So that’s kind of a drag, but take heart – the duo pledge to reopen in another location as yet to be decided.

In a post on HM’s Facebook page, Paonessa wrote: “Downtown Orlando has been great to us. However, times have changed. The hustle and bustle of Downtown Orlando has given way to a sleepy city with few people working downtown and opting for remote, and less traffic in the evenings.”

Continue Reading

Dinner Party Redux: illume

Written By Scott Joseph On May 23, 2024

Illume Dinner Party martini

Our latest Dinner Party was held Wednesday at the illustrious illume, the ninth-floor rooftop restaurant and lounge at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek, and as they have before, the staff went our of their way and over the top to impress everyone who attended.

We were whisked to the rooftop by express elevator at precisely 6 o’clock and greeted by servers with lychee martinis, elegant cocktails made with Empress 1908 gin and Giffard Lychee liqueur, a lovely fuchsia hue and garnished with an orchid.

Continue Reading

Save on tickets and a room for Taste! Central Florida

Written By Scott Joseph On May 20, 2024

TAstecfl logo

Taste! Central Florida, the annual fundraiser to end childhood hunger, is Aug. 10 and in a new location – Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (that’s the hotel next to the Waldorf-Astoria).

It’s a lovely hotel and it’s going to be a great place for the event, which includes lots of eating and drinking opportunities. And so instead of drawing straws to see who in your group will be the designated driver, you should just book a room at the Signia for the night. And to make that more attractive, Taste! has partnered with Signia to offer $100 off the room rate for that evening. Just go to this link and fill in the reservation form.

And to make it an even better deal, when you go to this link to purchase your tickets, enter code SJO25 at checkout to get $25 off each ticket. (Coupon code valid through Aug. 1.)

Continue Reading

Mid Drive Dive

Written By Scott Joseph On May 16, 2024

Mid Drive Dive interior

I wonder about the etymology of the word dive, at least in its use to define a place. I assume it refers to an establishment, usually a bar, that was once reputable but has gone downhill, taken a dive, in quality. Personally, I’ve always relied on the clientele to be the real defining factor. Sleaziness isn’t required but it helps.

So can you declare yourself a dive? Is it something to aspire to? The owners of Mid Drive Dive apparently think so. It’s a new restaurant on Edgewater Drive in College Park that is a joint project of Jacob Zepf of Freehand Goods and Matt Hinckley of Hinckley’s Fancy Meats at East End Market.

It takes over the space that had been a Graffiti Junktion – the burger chain with its own aspirations of diviness – on the corner of Vassar Street (named for a tony college with few if any dive bars nearby). The space is open and bright – dives are notoriously dark – and any graffito from the previous tenant has been excised. A central bar is the focus of the room with seating there as well as at tables, high and low, about the room and out front. The floor features what was likely the building’s original terrazzo, some of it patched and in the sort of disrepair that would be the envy of any dive.

Continue Reading
Scott's Newsletter