I recently took a trip over to Orange Center Boulevard, a street I did not previously know existed. It’s sort of, kind of an extension of West Gore Street, and if you follow it along to the corner of Goldwyn Avenue (didn’t know about that one, either), you’ll come to Chef Eddie’s, a Southern and soul food restaurant that’s worth the trip. You’ll be able to spot the place by the barbecue smoker the size of a locomotive engine out front.
It’s an unassuming space that could be more brightly lit. There are several used and unused and very large aquariums throughout the space. And the dining tables are big, blocky things, suitable for family dining rooms, which is probably where they came from.
I was warmly greeted and shown to one of those tables. I looked over the menu but it didn’t take me long to decide what I wanted: smothered pork chops. It was a little harder narrowing down my two side items, but my server said the macaroni and cheese and greens were specialties, so that’s what I landed on, even though the chops came with yellow rice and I probably didn’t need the double starch.
There were three pork chops, nicely cooked and laid out over the rice. The gravy that smothered them was dark and rich and not floury at all. I like the gravy with the rice as much as with the pork chops.
The sides were, indeed, tasty, and the mac and cheese worth the added starches. The collards had a delicious pungency. The cornbread muffin that also came with the dish was a bit too sweet for my taste and had a cakey texture that made it more of a dessert style cupcake.
Service was pleasant, and more than one person stopped by to ask if everything was to my liking.
Chef Eddie’s is at 3214 Orange Center Blvd., Orlando. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The menus on the website — autoplay video alert! — do not include the main lunch or dinner menus, just the chicken and waffle offerings, wings and daily specials. My dish came to about $12. The phone number is 407-505-6802.