Jollibee, a popular Filipino chain, plans to open its first Orlando location by month’s end, taking over the former Chuan Lu Gardens on extreme East Colonial Drive. Jollibee, which unapologetically refers to itself as a fast food restaurant, is known for its “Chickenjoy,” a hand-breaded fried chicken that, according to the chain’s website, is crispylicious on the outside and juicylicious on the inside. Not to be pigeonholed, or even chickenholed, it also serves burgers and something called Jolly Spaghetti. One pictures smiling meatballs.
- Another chain, Crisp & Green, whose menu is comprised of things both crispy, if not crispylicious, and green, will open this weekend in Winter Park Village. It had planned to open last weekend but, well, you know. This is also a first Central Florida location for the Minnesota company – third in Florida – which plans a to have 40 statewide in the next two years. Menu highlights include salads, such as the No Prob Cobb, grain bowls, like the Bold & the Buffalo, and smoothies, including the Green Glow, which has [shudder] banana, pineapple, mango, spinach, ginger and plain pea protein. I wonder if there’s an option to upgrade to fancy pea protein to make it more pealicious.
- In other chain news, Orlando based Earl Enterprises (Planet Hollywood, Earl of Sandwich, Buca di Beppo, Chicken Guy!) announced that Michael Beacham has joined its leadership team. Beacham is a former president of Darden International and was also chief operating officer at both Hard Rock and Chuck E. Cheese, making him one of the highest-level executives in the country with a resumé that includes Chuck E. Cheese. Beacham will report directly to Earl Enterprises’ founder and CEO, Robert Earl, who said in a statement, “Michael’s experience and knowledge of the industry are top-notch, and, with his wide-ranging background, I know he will bring new, innovative tactics and ideas to our operation.”
- What is Chuck Cheese’s middle name?
- Here’s something that previously escaped my notice: Earl Enterprises now includes TooJay’s among its list of brands. The Florida based delicatessen restaurant had filed for bankruptcy protection during the pandemic.
- Something else I hadn’t noticed until recently: Rhys Gawlak, who owns Swine & Sons with his wife, Alexia, is now the executive sous chef at Primo at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes. Both Primo and Swine & Sons are Michelin-recommended restaurants, which makes a better resumé item than Chuck E. Cheese, I’m guessing.
- Bruno Zacchini will open a second location of his popular Curry Ford West District Pizza Bruno. The new one will be in College Park in a former Tin & Taco space. Although both will be called Pizza Bruno, the pies at the new place will be different – a New Jersey style – and will also offer fresh pastas and sandwiches that aren’t available on Curry Ford.
- Our last bit of chain news comes from the War Is Hell file. McDonald’s has announced it will reopen three locations in Ukraine.