Jack & Honey’s, the new tenant in the space that most recently was Hawaiian themed The 808 but for decades before that was Dexter’s of Thornton Park, bills itself as an “upscale diner.” What does that mean? Instead of grits they serve polenta? Does the waitress Flo have a French accent?
As near as I can tell, an upscale diner means restaurant. And in the case of Jack & Honey’s, a pleasant one at that.
The name derives from the grandparents of one of the owners, Jason Lambert, who also owns the Hammered Lamb bar in Ivanhoe Village. He partnered with Wendy Connor, who was also an owner of the 808.
I met a friend for lunch and the greeter invited us to sit wherever we wished. My friend chose the Cobb salad, and it was refreshing to see that the particular chef here, Hannah Wicker, actually knows what a Cobb salad is. It had nicely chopped bacon and avocado, blue cheese crumbles, sliced eggs, diced cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions on top of lightly vinaigretted romaine lettuce. A very nice entree salad.
I chose the pork belly BLT, the belly standing in for bacon and fried green tomatoes representing the T. Arugula was the lettuce, and it all sat on fresh focaccia with a sweetish soy glaze. I guess a sandwich like that would qualify as an upscale diner item. The accompanying fries were passable.
The staff were diner-friendly, too, and no fake French accents.
The surfboards that hung around 808’s bar are gone, as are the tropical-print barstools and the seascape mural. Jack & Honey’s decor, accented with a honeybee logo, is more austere and clean looking, with a grass and moss wall over a row of banquettes.
You can think of this as an upscale diner or just as a casual restaurant (though I think a diner would be open for breakfast). But Jack & Honey’s is a nice addition to the neighborhood.
Jack & Honey’s is at 808 E. Washington St., Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. A website is not yet activated. The phone number is 407-440-4079.