I got a note in my inbox yesterday that made me sit up and take notice. It was an invitation to the reopening of Maison et Jardin.
I just got your attention, too, didn’t I?
Even more intriguing was that the note was from Bill Beuret, the owner, along with his wife, Judy, of the elegant country club-like restaurant in Altamonte Springs. If you haven’t lived in Central Florida more than 10 years, you’re likely unfamiliar with Maison et Jardin. Or if you’ve heard old timers refer to it, they may have called it the Mason Jar, the tongue-in-cheek name locals gave it as a wink to its upscale mien.
Other names you might have heard include the Empress Room, Atlantis, Arthur’s 27, Manuel’s on the 28th, Dux and La Coquina. They were all once part of the Central Florida dining scene before the upscale dining sector was all but depleted, part of a national trend away from long, fancy dinners as the younger but well-financed dining public began to influence which restaurants became popular. (Today, only the Venetian Room, Norman’s and Victoria & Albert’s would qualify as old-style fine dining.)
Beuret announced in 2006 that Maison et Jardin would no longer be open as an a la carte restaurant and would focus solely on its profitable catering business. The announcement was made in October of that year, but technically the restaurant had been closed since July when M&J took a summer hiatus.
So anyway, the note that I got yesterday. Maison et Jardin has been sold to a Texas company called Culinaire, which will operate here as Culinaire of Florida and Food Glorious Food Catering Orlando. Beuret, who is leasing the land and building, said the company began holding events at the facility on Wymore Road in October, and now they’re ready to hold a grand opening event later this month.
But, sadly, although the facility will still be called Maison et Jardin, it will not be reopened as a restaurant. You may tell friends and family that they’re invited to your wedding or anniversary celebration at Maison et Jardin but they may not order from the old menu or select a wine from the award-winning cellar.
Oh well, I needed to sit up anyway.
What are your memories of Mmaison et Jardin? And what other special occasion restaurants do you miss? Leave a note below.