First Watch Winter Park

Written By Scott Joseph On April 6, 2021

FW2020 peacock

I finally had a chance to experience the newest First Watch, the current flagship and prototype restaurant for the Florida based daytime cafe, and to taste the dishes added to the spring menu.

As you know, First Watch closed its longtime Maitland location and moved that operation down Orlando Avenue to the former Cinco Tacos + Tequila and Carmel Kitchen building in Winter Park. The new location had been long planned, but the circumstances of the pandemic and the changes it made to the way we dined caused the First Watch team to change the design.

For example, because takeout and delivery became so important to us, First Watch created a separate entry for customers and delivery drivers to pickup orders to go. What’s more, it reengineered the kitchen area to provide a separate cook line for those takeout orders. That allows for an efficiency of output, with to-go meals packaged apart from where dine-in orders are “plated.” But it also allows better spacing for the kitchen staff.

That’s important: When we hear about social distancing in restaurants we think about the spacing between tables, we seldom think about the often-cramped conditions in the kitchen where cooks regularly work elbow to elbow. And plexiglass partitions aren’t going to help back there.

But changes were also made to facilitate better spacing for diners, too, including an expanded patio area, which is where I sat when I was invited to sample the spring menu items.

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Brick & Spoon

Written By Scott Joseph On February 9, 2021

Brickspoon ext

During February, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.

As coincidence would have it, Brick & Spoon opened its Maitland location almost exactly one year ago – on Feb. 11 and got a good several weeks in before the bottom fell out.

It has survived and is thrumming along, apparently attracting a loyal fanbase among Maitlanders.

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CFS Coffee

Written By Scott Joseph On July 2, 2020

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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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Keke’s Breakfast Cafe

Written By Scott Joseph On June 25, 2020

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My but Keke’s Breakfast Cafe certainly has grown.

In just a little over 10 years it has grown from two Central Florida locations – first near the Mall at Millenia then on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park – to a franchise with nearly 50 restaurants throughout the state.

It didn’t start out as Keke’s, you may remember. That first restaurant on Conroy Road was originally called Florida Waffle House, and that opened more like circa 2007. But of course that name was eventually challenged. So the owners, brothers Keith and Kevin Mahen, took their shared first two initials and cobbled them into Keke’s.

I hadn’t visited a Keke’s since 2010 when I reviewed the one on Fairbanks Avenue (which had previously been Bakely’s). So when I decided recently that I wanted a big breakfast, including pancakes, but not the cleanup (or the trouble), I gave a call to the location at Conway Avenue and Curry Ford Road in Orlando.

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Buttermilk Bakery

Written By Scott Joseph On November 14, 2017

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I stopped by Buttermilk Bakery on a recent Saturday and found it bustling with people patiently waiting in a line that snaked through the shop.

Of course, we’re not talking about a big shop, so the snake would be more like a large garter than, say, an anaconda. Or maybe more like a racer because the line moved pretty fast.

Buttermilk pastries

A little too fast. You can’t really make your decision about what to get until you’re right up to the glass that separates the drooling public from the tempting array of freshly baked goods.

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Se7en Bites Wins Gold Foodster Award for Best Breakfast

Written By Scott Joseph On July 25, 2017

Se7ev award

Boy, did I choose the right time to visit Se7en Bites, the “Sweet & Savory Bake Shop” on Primrose Drive in Orlando’s Milk District.

Not that there’s a bad time to visit. There’s always something good being baked or assembled by pastry chef and owner Trina Gregory-Propst and her team.

But I chose Sunday morning brunch time to stop by and present Gregory-Propst with her Foodster Award plaque. Se7en Bites was voted the Gold Award for Best Breakfast in the first annual program that recognizes excellence in the area’s independent restaurants.

And even better than choosing Sunday brunch, I happened to be there shortly after 10:30 a.m. That’s the approximate time that Cinnamon Bun Sunday occurs. Gregory-Propst explained that each Sunday she bakes some cinnamon buns — different recipes, but clearly cinnamon buns — and she makes only two sets of two dozen. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

And I got one!

Should have grabbed two. Dozen.

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Shakers American Cafe

Written By Scott Joseph On May 30, 2017

Shakers Grandas

I stopped by Shakers American Cafe the other day to present the Foodster Award for Best Breakfast to owners Greg and Terry Granda. They won the platinum award, as voted on my readers of ScottJosephOrlando.

While I was there, I figured I’d have a little breakfast myself. And I have to agree with the majority: this is a darned fine breakfast.

Shakers full breakfast

I had the Mexican Omelet, which had big chunks of sausage with green chilies and black beans, served with some salsa on the side. It came with hash brown potatoes, nicely crisped, and I requested a biscuit, which was fried to give it a little extra butteryness.

As long as I had the biscuit, I thought I should get some gravy to go with it. Sufficiently thick and unctuous, a fine accompaniment.

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Omelet Bar

Written By Scott Joseph On March 22, 2017

Omelet Bar exterior

I’m sitting at Omelet Bar, a new restaurant across from the main UCF campus that specializes in breakfast and lunch. Or as its tagline says, “Breakfast. Munch. Lunch.” Those of you who associate the urge to munch with late night will be disappointed to know that OB is open only until 2:30 p.m. every day, so you’ll have to satisfy the munchie urge elsewhere.

And it’s not like the name implies other than morning meals, but the menu does feature more than carefully coagulated eggs. Once the lunch hour rolls around there’s an array of burgers, sandwiches and wraps from which to choose. And the early closing hour also doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink — everything from mimosas to bloodies to whiskey sours are yours for the sipping. (College proximity drives demand.)

An early morning appointment brought me to the east side of town, so I decided to stop in for breakfast.

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Tamale Co.

Written By Scott Joseph On April 1, 2016

Tamale Co. breakfast

If you’re in the vicinity of the Winter Park Farmer’s Market Saturday, do yourself a favor and find a parking space (try Maitland) and visit the Tamale Co. food truck.

I happened upon the truck — which is more van-like, if you want to be technical — while I was strolling along looking for something breakfasty. You might be thinking, “Tamales don’t sound like something for breakfast,” to which I say, “You must be new here.”

Besides, all you have to do is crack a couple of eggs onto just about anything and, wah-la, as they say in France, breakfast. (By the way, the French lessons are going great, thanks for asking.)

So anyway, I happened upon the tamale truckvan — shiny black with orange lettering, and poster hanging from the ordering window of two peppered eggs sitting on a couple of tamales with rice and beans. The sign said that it was called Tamale Sunrise. Perfect, I thought, and I placed an order, though I held no delusion that what I would be handed through the window would look anything like what was in the picture.

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Shannon’s Casual Cafe

Written By Scott Joseph On December 23, 2015

Shannons chow hound

To be perfectly honest with you, I never really thought that Shannon’s Casual Cafe would make it. I had breakfast there recently, and it wasn’t until I was leaving and turned around to leave a tip on the table that I noticed I had been sitting beneath a framed copy of the Chow Hound column I wrote when the place first opened.

The publication date in the Orlando Sentinel was January 8, 1993.

So I guess they’ve lasted longer than I expected.

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