Melissa Sallman has been named executive chef for the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek and will take over duties at Sear + Sea, pictured at top, the indoor/outdoor steak and seafood restaurant overlooking the actual Bonnet Creek. Sallman, left, has been with the Marriott organization for 20 years, most recently as executive sous chef at the JW Marriott Marco Island. By the way, Illume, the new rooftop restaurant and lounge at the JWM Bonnet Creek is now open and I’ll have my review tomorrow.
The 808, a Hawaiian themed restaurant in the former Dexter’s of Thornton Park space, is scheduled to open [checks watch] right about now. Hawaii’s area code is 808, so that’s how the owners, Wendy Conner and Todd Ulmer, came up with the theme. It also happens to be the building’s address on Washington Street. It’s a good thing it wasn’t next door at 810 or we’d be looking at a menu inspired by the cuisine of Flint, Mich. As it is, I’m guessing (because no menu has been posted yet) the 808 will feature poke bowls and, I don’t know, maybe spam?
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Restaurant Row is back open today after a gas leak forced it to close for two days. According to a manager, the leak was outside the restaurant and did not affect any of the other Dellagio Town Center tenants.
And word comes that Cuba Libre, the bigger-than-Havana restaurant at Pointe Orlando, will reopen early next month after being pandemically closed. Like most restaurants, Cuba Libre is struggling to find workers, so it’s offering a “welcome bonus” of $1000 to new hires plus giving thousands in referral bonuses to staffers who recruit others. Better than a toaster oven. July 2 is the reopening date, and it will serve dinner Wed. through Sun.
Finally, according to a post by Bruce Woodburn, the loan arranger (get it?) at Woodburn Team at CrossCountry Mortgage in Winter Park, you should never order a salad to go from Hillstone in Winter Park. In a video posted on his Facebook page, Woodburn recounts how he asked for two salads to go and then was threatened with arrest (and actually issued a trespass warning by Winter Park Police. Woodburn mentions in the video that he’s been going to the popular lakefront restaurant since it was known as Houston’s, which causes me to wonder why he was surprised at what happened – surely he’s experience the surliness from the management staff before; it’s kind of legendary. A manager who answered the phone at Hillstone Wednesday afternoon said, “We have no comment at this time.”
But wouldn’t you just love to see Jack Nicholson visit Hillstone Winter Park and recreate his famous diner scene from Five Easy Pieces?