2023 Best Burger Foodster Award Winners

Written By Scott Joseph On August 21, 2023

Hangry Bison burger

The Hangry Bison, the beef and bourbon restaurant in Winter Park and Winter Garden, has been voted Best Burger in our 2023 Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. It is a previous winner of the award, as is the Tap Room at Dubsdread, which earned the second highest number of votes.

The Whiskey and Johnny’s Fillin’ Station tied for third place.

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2022 Best New Restaurant Foodster Award

Written By Scott Joseph On January 2, 2023

2022 Best New Flamingos

Four Flamingos: A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen has been voted Best New Restaurant of 2022 in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

The Monroe, the Creative Village newcomer from Good Salt Restaurant Group, was second and The Pinery in Ivanhoe Village was third.

Only two votes separated first place from third.


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2022 Best Tacos

Written By Scott Joseph On September 27, 2022

Maritas Tacos

Tuesday seems to be an appropriate day to announce that Marita’s Latin Bites is the winner of the 2022 Best Tacos Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants. Black Rooster Taqueria was voted second with Hunger Street Tacos only a few votes behind.

Marita’s, reviewed here in 2017, is a tiny slip of a place on Colonial Drive in East Orlando serving some pretty tasty, um, bites.

Black Rooster opened a second location recently in the Curry Ford West District and was re-reviewed here.

Hunger Street on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park also recently opened a second outlet, inside Plant St. Market in Winter Garden. So, yes, that’s Hunger Street Plant Street.

By the way, all of these tacos are just as delicious on any other day of the week.


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2022 Best Outdoor Dining Foodster Award

Written By Scott Joseph On July 18, 2022

taproom outdoor

The Tap Room at Dubsdread has been voted Best Outdoor Dining in our 2022 Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants. Maxine’s On Shine was second and The Garlic in New Smyrna Beach third. Only one vote separated second and third places.

Tap Room was a runaway first place winner. Its wraparound veranda has long been a favorite for lunches, dinners and Sunday brunches.

In placing her vote, Betsy Landesman Jacobs wrote: “Picked The Tap Room for their beautiful porch overlooking the golf course. A bit different from the rest, and so peaceful. Good food, great staff and service.”

Maxine’s On Shine, which was also recently honored as a Bib Gourmand recommendation in the inaugural Florida Michelin Guide, expanded its outdoor dining area beyond its front sidewalk area during the pandemic to include gazebos in the small side parking lot. Although the expanded outdoor dining was meant to be temporary, Maxine’s management has petitioned the city to make it permanent.

The Garlic, an Italian restaurant, is known for its overgrown garden dining area.


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2022 Best Pizza Foodster Award

Written By Scott Joseph On June 6, 2022

Tornatore pizza

Tornatore’s, the popular College Park restaurant and pizzeria, has been voted first place in our 2022 Best Pizza Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

Bella Roma of Saint Cloud was second and Stone Fired Pizza, Edgewood, came in third.

“Tornatore’s reminds me of New York,” wrote Ross Recchion after placing his vote. Wendy N. Lowe said: “The product is always very fresh and delicious. The staff is amazing. Best around.”

Rosa Jimenez called Bella Pizza “awesome” and mentioned the “great service.” “We enjoy it there every time,” she wrote in her comment. Kaitlyn Gardner said, “Stone Fired is fairly priced and delicious.”

Read more comments on the winners and the other finalists here.

Congratulations to all the participants.


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2021 Best New Restaurant Foodster Award

Written By Scott Joseph On December 27, 2021

Russells exterior

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe was the runaway favorite of voters for the 2021 Best New Restaurant Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants. The Pinery and The Monroe tied for second place.

Other top vote getters included Tabla Winter Park and Saffron Indian Cuisine.

Because no Best New Restaurant Foodster was awarded last year, the eligibility for the 2021 award was extended to restaurants that also opened the previous year.

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe opened in late October of 2020. It took over and remodeled the space that had previously been Mesa 21 and, before that, Gargi’s Lakeside. It is owned by the same team that has the estimable Big Fin Seafood Kitchen and the menu is under the direction of chef/partner Emmanuel Clement.


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2021 Best Sandwich Foodster Award

Written By Scott Joseph On November 12, 2021

Pammies int

Pammie’s Sammies, the Winter Garden sandwicherie, is the runaway winner of the 2021 Best Sandwich Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha was second and sentimental favorite Beefy King was third.

Other top vote getters included Bad As’s Sandwich, which was a previous winner of the Best Sandwich Foodster Award, LaSpada’s Original Cheesesteaks & Hoagies and George’s Cafe.

Pammie’s Sammies opened its Winter Garden shop just minutes before the coronavirus necessitated a shutdown and general disruption of restaurants. But owners Pam and Thorp Thomas persevered, and their restaurant has become a popular hangout. (I reviewed Pammie’s Sammies in Sept.)

Besides its ample sandwiches, Pammie’s is known for its musical atmosphere – even the menus are printed on the backs of vintage rock album covers. “Great atmosphere, food, and service,” wrote on commenter.

In voting for Yellow Dog Eats, Steve Alcorn said, “The creative combinations at Yellow Dog are always gourmet quality!”

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who voted.


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Best Burger Foodster Award 2021

Written By Scott Joseph On August 13, 2021

Hangry Bison burger

Note: This article has been updated with the names of some of the other top vote-getters.

The readers of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide have voted the Hangry Bison the winner of Best Burger 2021 in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

Perennial favorite and top winner of the 2020 award Tap Room at Dubsdread was second and Kiwi’s Pub & Grill of Altamonte Springs dropped from second to third.

“Hangry Bison has a wide variety of burgers and all of them are delicious and mouth-watering!” wrote Constance Samuelson after placing her vote. “You can choose from the menu of creative burgers and design your own!”

Corrina Skye Quesada said Hangry Bison’s burger were “the definition of a food-gasm” and that the restaurant had converted her “from veganism to a meat-loving woman.”

Hangry Bison opened three years ago in Winter Park Village and will open a second location in Winter Garden later this year.

Teak Neighborhood Grill  and Mason Jar Provisions tied for fourth place. The Whiskey followed with the next highest number of votes.

Scott Joseph’s Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants celebrate excellence in Central Florida’s nonchain culinary community and are open to businesses with three or fewer locations. Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees.


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Best Takeout 2020

Written By Scott Joseph On June 15, 2020

Best Takeout 2020 Platinum

The readers of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide overwhelmingly voted Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria for Best Takeout 2020 in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

Kiwi’s Pub & Grill was second and Soco Thornton Park was third.

In casting his vote, Franco Castelluccio commented: “Tornatores Pizzeria hands down, service and curbside tent and pick up was efficient and safe the entire time – you drove up and they brought it to your car, there was contactless delivery available also, girls on the phone were knowledgeable, thorough, and friendly. everything came out tasting perfect as if I ordered it there and ate there. bagged appropriately and handled with care. They’ve donated lunch to first responders every Thursday since covid! Highly recommend.”

Leonard VanCleave agreed: “No other choice in my opinion. They were on top of it from day one. Contactless delivery curbside tent service always clean always good and always accurate.”

Kiwi’s, which closed temporarily on Friday due to concerns with a patron who tested positive for COVID-19, was a favorite of Kaye Niccum, who said, “Kiwi’s is the best by far, food is awesome and the detail on their take out packaging was amazing!”

“I voted for Soco,” wrote Frieda Lefor. “Dinners were so tasteful. Packaging well done, and excellent service. We felt as if we were dining at Soco’s as we ate dinner. The best!!!!!”

Best Takeout is a new category for the Foodster Awards, inspired by the many restaurants that had to switch gears and learn the intricacies of providing good food to go. It isn’t easy, and the many votes for the 18 finalists as well as the passionate comments of appreciation show that the efforts have been appreciated.


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Best Tacos Foodster Award 2020

Written By Scott Joseph On March 23, 2020

MX Taco carnitas

Mx Taco is the winner of the 2020 Foodster Award for Best Tacos.

Black Rooster Taqueria was voted second and Fuego Tacos was third.

MX Taco opened last year in downtown Orlando’s Milk District and chef and owner Ryan Manning followed up with a second location in Waterford Lakes. As reviewed here and in this Tasting Table episode, Mx Taco features authentic dishes from various regions throughout Mexico, where Manning worked as a chef for Ritz-Carlton.

Black Rooster Taqueria in the Mills 50 district is a previous Foodster Award winner. In placing her vote, Stephanie Wood wrote: “Black Rooster is delicious! The best guacamole I have had locally and tacos are very innovative and delicious. The food here is the closest thing to authentic Mexican food that we have in the Central Florida.”

Taylor Shelby wrote: “Fuego Tacos is the bomb. Tastes like homemade cali-Mexican food.”

Congratulations to all the winners.


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