If you’ve been thinking to yourself that life in Central Florida would be heaven if it only had a restaurant that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches, get ready for nirvana. Toasted, a “crafted grilled cheese” restaurant, will open next month in Winter Park. The eatery, which also has a menu of burgers to fall back on, just in case, will take over the space where Green Lemon Cafe space at the corner of Lakemont and Aloma Avenues. Look for things like truffle melt grilled cheese sandwiches, plus vegan options. The menu also touts natural cut fries, as opposed to the unnatural cut fries, which are an abomination. This will be a quick-serve concept.
Over on Orlando Avenue (U.S. Highway 17-92), Italio Modern Italian Kitchen is under construction, suspiciously close to Rocco’s Italian Grille, one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town. Italio is a new concept out of Boca Raton, where it opened its first restaurant last summer. The Winter Park restaurant will be its second, with others planned for Orlando, Coconut Creek, Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale. As near as I can tell, Italio is bringing the Moe’s experience to Italian cuisine, with name-your-ingredient entree building for salads, pasta bowls and sandwiches, here called piadinas. Quick-serve at best; looks more like it will be fast food.
Finally, back over in the Toasted neighborhood, Winter Park is getting its first First Watch. Opening in summer, the breakfast specialty — full service! — will occupy a former Blockbuster video store in the Publix shopping center just east of Lakemont Avenue. I’m pretty sure that’s near Mellow Mushroom. So we’ve got Mellow Mushroom and Toasted in the same neighborhood. It might remind you of the ‘60s, though as they say, if you can remember the ‘60s you probably weren’t there.