Schmankerl Stub’n

Written By Scott Joseph On June 13, 2024

Schmankerl interior

You won’t see any of the stereotypical trappings usually associated with German restaurants in America, or Germany for that matter, at Schmankerl Stub’n, a new restaurant in Downtown Orlando. No knotty pine or rough hewn timbers cross-hatched on stuccoed walls. No kegs or barrels to be rolled out. The servers don’t wear lederhosen or dirndl dresses, though they do have shoulder pouches like their Bavarian brothers, which, in Germany, are used to carry bills and coins to make change, something unnecessary here because the restaurant does not accept cash.

Instead, the decor is cool and serene, modernistic, with warm wood flooring, stylish light fixtures over booths and the bar, and bare wood tabletops decorated with white hydrangeas. And German-language radio plays in the background with pop music instead of polkas.

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Next Dinner Party – a special one – at Tap Room at Dubsdread, July 24

Written By Scott Joseph On June 12, 2024

Dinner party banner

The next Scott Joseph’s Dinner Party will be a special one, for a number of reasons. Foremost, it will be the first one at the popular Tap Room at Dubsdread in College Park. What’s more, it promises to go beyond – and surprisingly above – the already good food you’ve come to expect from Tap Room.

You’re invited to join me Wednesday, July 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Florida Room at Historic Dubsdread. Tickets are $159.75 – that includes tax and gratuity – and can be purchased here.

We’ll start with a reception that will include an amuse bouche and a welcome drink, then we’ll be seated, at 7 o’clock, for the multi-course dinner with wine pairings.

And what a dinner they have planned for us. Here’s the menu:

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Beard Awards bypass Orlando (this headline is recycled)

Written By Scott Joseph On June 11, 2024

Kaya crew
The staff of Kaya, including in center Lordfer Lalicon and Jamilyn Salonga Bailey, on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago ahead of Monday night’s James Beard Foundation Awards. (Photo from Kaya’s Facebook page)

The James Beard Foundation held its annual awards presentation Monday night in Chicago. The event is often referred to as the Academy Awards for the culinary industry, though not necessarily because both have issues with diversity and tend to recognize restaurants and chefs that already enjoy a certain popularity.

This year’s great hope for Central Florida was Kaya, the Filipino restaurant in the Mills 50 District that already has the distinction of having a Michelin Green Star. Kaya was a finalist for Best New Restaurant, a category that pit it against nine others across the nation. In regional awards, Central Florida competes in Best Chef – South, which also includes Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Louisiana. With Louisiana in the mix, the Best Chef award goes to someone in New Orleans more times than it does not.

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Caffe Positano

Written By Scott Joseph On June 6, 2024

Positano exterior

In New York last week, I had a chance encounter with a man named Melvin Agui, who helped open the restaurant Positano with brothers Pasquale and Roberto Barba in Ocoee in 1991. ( I wrote about the encounter here.) Agui is now manager at La Grenouille, the storied Manhattan restaurant. 

We spent much of the night reminiscing about the old days. And I came to realize that it had been many years, maybe a couple of decades, since I’d visited Positano – now called Caffe Positano and in Apopka. So the day after I got back, I headed up to check it out.

How did I stay away so long? The food is still some of the best in town, and it’s offered at bargain prices. (Hey, Michelin, you’re missing a great Bib Gourmand candidate).

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Newsy Nuggets: Mary’s taking her burgers to Kissimmee and other stuff

Written By Scott Joseph On June 4, 2024

Hamburger mary logo

Hamburger Mary’s Orlando, the fun little restaurant that closed Sunday after announcing it would relocate, has been inextricably associated with Downtown Orlando (see logo above with a mermaid Mary resting on the Lake Eola fountain). But it’s extricating itself from that venue and moving to Kissimmee, of all places, according to the HBO Facebook page. No exact location or timeline yet, but I’m wondering how many loyal Mary’s fans will follow her south.

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