EXCLUSIVE — The Forbidden City Chinese Restaurant in the Mills 50 district will close no later than the end of November. That is when the current lease on the building, a ramshackle former gas station, runs out. The owners of the business have been told that the lease will not be renewed.
“I think we just needed new blood in there,” says Jeffrey Phillips, who purchased the property in January. Phillips says that he has already identified a new tenant but that he could not reveal the name or the concept just yet.
The Forbidden City has been a fixture on Mills Avenue for more than 27 years. When I was interviewing for the position of restaurant critic at the Orlando Sentinel, in early 1988, it was one of the restaurants I was taken to by a group of reporters at the paper. I didn’t say anything at the time — I didn’t have the job yet — but I really didn’t care for the food. But many people did like it, and it had quite a following.
According to Phillips, the customer base isn’t as robust these days.
This is the second longtime restaurant on this stretch of road to announce a closing in the past week. Tony’s Deli closed its business at 1323 N. Mills Ave. and is concentrating on its location in Sanford.
The Forbidden City Chinese Restaurant is at 948 N. Mills Ave., Orlando.
Were you a fan of Forbidden City? Leave a comment below.