(Updated to correct time line with Pointe Orlando)
Funky Monkey Wine Company, the apt-named restaurant in the Mills 50 neighborhood will open a second location at Pointe Orlando. Co-owner Eddie Nickell told the flog that he is taking over the space formerly occupied by the Grape, a wine bar with food, that closed a couple of months ago (who had noticed, did you? I didn’t).
Nickell, who owns the business with Nick Olivieri, says that Pointe Orlando approached him as much as six months ago to consider the old Dan Marino’s space. During that time it became apparent that the Grape had squeezed everything it could out of the space. For the record, the Grape was a nice concept that focused on wine but also served food. They had a good selection of wines to taste, and they also featured a retail area so they could sell you a bottle to take home. The food, however, was usually very wine-unfriendly, as though no one paid any attention to what would be served.
FMWC at the Pointe will open in early September if all goes to plan. Nickell says he has several bookings for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show the second week in September.
While it’s big news that Funky Monkey is expanding after just under two years in its funky digs on Mills Avenue, it’s even more notable that they are going in to the Pointe, where they will be the first local, nonchain restaurant. Their neighbors will include the Capital Grill, Oceaniare Seafood Room, Taverna Opa, B.B. King’s, Red Rock Canyon, Tommy Bahama Tropical Cafe and Maggiano’s.
Nickell says they will do some painting and move some things around. They’ll replace the retail area with living room style furniture. There will be outdoor seating, and the extra space will allow them to offer more live entertainment. And with a massive parking garage attached to the Pointe, parking will not be a problem.
I’ll have more details when it gets closer to opening day.
Also on today’s Buffet: