Here’s another sign that things are returning to the way they were in the years p.c. (pre covid) – people are taking vacations again. And that includes restaurants. Two of our favorites have announced they are taking some time off to relax and regenerate. Soco, the Thornton Park southern contemporary, is closed through July 8, reopening on Friday, July 9. Over in College Park, Tornatore’s Ristorante and Italian Market will be on vacation beginning Saturday, July 3, and reopening on the 8th. I had a craving for carrot cake last week and went to Tornatore’s to get a couple of slices of Ron James’ (Mr. Sugarbuzz). I don’t know what I’m going to do if the craving hits again next week while the restaurant is closed.
I also had a nice version of carrot cake at the end of my meal at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster recently. By the way, Christner’s raised $32,000 for Aspire Health Partners during its 28th anniversary dinner on June 11.
In honor of Independence Day, we’ll have TWO drawings on Monday for restaurant gift certificates, either $50 to Tap Room at Dubsdread or $50 to Big Fin Seafood Kitchen. If you get my weekly News from the Flog eletter, you’re entered to win. If not, sign up at this link. Just like a Covid vaccine, the eletter is painless – and everybody should be getting one.
I neglected previously to announce that MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company closed its Maitland City Centre location in May, a little over two years after it had its grand opening. It billed its end as a grand closing, so it gets extra points in my book for having a good sense of humor about it.
There was a grand opening in Clermont last weekend. Former NFL player and Orlando native Chris Johnson opened a Just Love Coffee Cafe franchise in Clermont. The Just Love website quotes its roastmaster, Jason Smith, saying, “We wanted our space to be welcoming to everyone, whether they like high-end coffee or like Folgers,” a line that Folger’s probably won’t be using in its next marketing campaign. Just Love doesn’t serve just love, or just coffee for that matter. It also has a menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, including a roast beef and cheddar melt, chicken quesadilla, and something called a womelette (your guess is as good as mine).
Red Lobster, the downtown Orlando based super seafooder, has appointed Kelli Valade its next CEO, replacing the retiring Kim Lopdrup. Lopdrup has been CEO since Darden sold the brand off in 2014. Valade was previously brand president for Chili’s Grill & Bar, so expect great things ahead at Red Lobster.
And against all odds, Shin Jung has reopened in the same structure that was all but destroyed by a fire just two years ago on June 26, 2019. In fact, the city of Orlando slapped a bright orange CONDEMNED sign on the front door as soon as it stopped smoldering. Anyone who saw the small wood structure, which was originally a house, after the fire would have guessed the only solution would be a bulldozer. But the owners saw potential and raised it from its literal and proverbial ashes. It opened earlier this week for takeout orders only. Dine in hours will be announced soon.