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Carmel Kitchen Wine Bar Closes in Winter Park

Written By Scott Joseph On January 30, 2018

carmel kitchen logo

Maybe they should have offered tacos.

Carmel Kitchen Wine Bar, a fledgling chain out of the Tampa area, has closed its Winter Park location barely five years after opening there. The casually upscale concept had previously tried a second Central Florida location, in Altamonte Springs, that was shorter lived.

Reviewed here in 2013, Carmel, which opened with the name Carmel Cafe but changed to Kitchen, presumably to ease its way into other states where the name might already be in use, was warmly accepted for its food and atmosphere, if not immediately for its service. When it opened, it featured menus and wine lists on iPads, with varying results — the information was not always accurate and some guests recoiled at the thought of using devices that had just been finger-swiped by guests at another table.

South Steel SJO March AD copy

Carmel cafe interior

The space, at 160 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, had previously been an office building. When Carmel opened there were relatively few restaurants nearby, Rocco’s Italian, El Bodegon and Hillstone among them. (Italio had just opened and Marlow’s Tavern was soon to. Italio is now where Glass Knife recently started caking.)

Carmel was founded by father and son team Chris and Alex Sullivan; the elder Sullivan was co-founder of the Outback Steakhouse chain.

The Carmel Kitchen website currently lists five locations, four in Florida and one in Allentown, Penn. The Winter Park location has been removed from the site, although the page with employment opportunities still lists it as having openings in all areas. The phone number rings through with no answer, but then so do the phones at some of the other locations.

Attempts to contact managers involved in the Winter Park Carmel were not immediately successful.

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