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Newsy Nuggets: Aurora at the Celeste, Piggza, and brunch no-shows

Written By Scott Joseph On April 14, 2023


Mike Trudnak, executive chef at Aurora at the Celeste, is parting ways with the restaurant. His last day is Friday, April 14. Trudnak opened the restaurant along with the hotel, the only one on UCF’s campus, two and a half years ago in the fall of 2020. In a post on Facebook, Trudnak announced he was leaving and “will be taking on a bigger challenge and opportunity.” Whose challenge and what opportunity he did not say. Calls to his office number were not immediately returned.

Pigzza, the oddly named and much anticipated pizza project from Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa, will open on Tuesday, April 18, in a freshly renovated former gas station and buy here/pay here auto dealer facility. It looks nicer now.

South Steel SJO March AD copy

Pigzza, which in the vein of George Santos calls itself an “Italianish joint,” will serve other foods besides pizzas, though it has not yet published a menu or listed what hours they’ll be open.

You know you’ve behaved poorly when you tick off someone as easygoing as Steve Gunter. The owner of Tap Room at Dubsdread and his operating partner Barbara Teal announced that anyone wishing to make a reservation for one of its popular holiday brunch buffets will have to do so with a credit card guarantee.

It seems that at last week’s Easter Sunday brunch the restaurant was fully committed and even turned away hundreds of hopefuls. But then they had 300 no shows who did not call to cancel. “This affects staffing, creates substantial food waste, and creates an inability to accommodate our friends who really wish to be part of our experience,” the pair posted.

This problem is not new, for Tap Room or any other restaurant in town. But as Gunter and Teal note, it is becoming increasingly regular for people to make multiple reservations then choose which one to go to on the day of the event without bothering to cancel the others.

So, beginning with Mother’s Day, be prepared to give your credit card number when you’re making your reservation to take mom out for brunch. And look for a charge to that card if you don’t cancel within three days of the brunch date.

I remember in the late 1980s and early ‘90s being really annoyed with having to secure a reservation at Victoria & Albert’s with a credit card. I told the person taking the reservation that I didn’t own a credit card. The response: then you can’t dine here. I’ve come around since then. I fully support the practice of guaranteeing a reservation with a credit card – every day; not just holidays – and charging anyone without the common courtesy to call to cancel.

By the way, Mother’s Day is May 14.

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