Newsy Nuggets: New exec chef at Caribe Royale and other stuff

Written By Scott Joseph On December 21, 2020

Kona Poke Express Mills 50 Photo 1 copy

  • Chef Hackett       Caribe Royale has a new executive chef. David Hackett, who most recently was the executive chef at the Four Diamond Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland, has joined the Disney-area resort whose restaurants include the estimable Venetian Chop House. Hackett, who has also worked at properties owned by Marriott, Kessler, Starwood, Biltmore and Walt Disney World – he’s obviously a hotel man – has one multiple culinary awards, including the Brillat-Savarin Medaille de Merite. You know an award is prestigious when you can’t pronounce it.
  •        Disney has announced a flock of new restaurants for its under-development Flamingo Crossings Town Center and boy does it sound like just about every other strip mall in town. You’ve got your Wendy’s, your Domino’s, a Firehouse Subs, Five Guys, PDQ and other chains. There will be a Pieology Pizzeria, another franchise with its first Central Florida location. (That Domino’s didn’t have an exclusive pizza clause in its lease agreement is surprising.) Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ, an Ocoee and Clermont restaurant, will open its third location at Flamingo Crossings – whose portmanteaunic name may or may not become Flam-ings – as will Persimmon Hollow Brewing, the DeLand beer maker that opened recently in downtown Orlando in the former Lake Eola Panera location. Nice that Disney included a couple of local businesses, but they’re growing fast enough to soon qualify as chains, too.
  •        Kona Poké, which has become its own little chainlet, opened its first Orlando Kona Poké Express, seen at top, last weekend outside Quantum Leap Winery in the Mills 50 district. Why does Poké Express sound like a contradiction in terms?
  •       The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that restaurant workers be in the third group of Americans in line for a Covid-19 vaccine. So servers, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers will have to wait, unless any of them are over 74 years old, which is one of the criteria for the second group to receive the shots. When the shots can be given depends on the availability of doses and how many people who qualify for early vaccinations get them. The guidelines are only recommendations and the final say on prioritization is being left up to individual states. That doesn’t sound encouraging, does it, Florida?
  •      Now would be a good time to suggest that if you have a favorite restaurant you should consider buying gift cards – as many as you can – to help a struggling business with some cash flow. And believe me, if a restaurant is still open, it’s struggling. Normally my advice on gift cards is to use them immediately because you never know when someone will go out of business. This year I’m recommending that you buy as many as you can and just sit on them until the pandemic is over. Then pass them out to all your vaccinated friends and have them meet you at the restaurant for a big party.
  •        If you still need dining information for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, check out our Holiday Dining listings.

Southeast 9 23 Bosch

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