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Newsy Nuggets: New Neighbors coming and going

Written By Scott Joseph On July 28, 2021

Neighbors collage

This article has been updated with information from the owner of Finnhenry’s in downtown Orlando.

We have new details about the changes to the upstairs event space at East End Market we told you about in April.

It will be called The Neighbors but somehow doesn’t involve being able to borrow a wheel barrow or to complain about keeping kids off of your damn lawn.

It will be a triad of businesses, two of which (a duad?) will be food and beverage. The third will be a retail store that features only locally made goods. You know, like things you could buy from your neighbors other than Girl Scout Cookies.

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Jacob Zepf, owner of Freehand Goods on the market’s lower level, will spearhead the retail aspect.

Brittany DiIorio, former manager of Domu, also downstairs, will head up the bar program with a list of classic cocktails and seasonal drink specials.

Sonny Nguyen and Johnny Tung will oversee the food part, to be called Domu Lab (I’m sorry, wasn’t that the name of the evil organization on the tv series “Lost”?). Anyway, DL will be a chef’s incubator, which brings to mind too many egg jokes. The idea is to offer a rotation of not-yet-hatched chefs a space to cook professionally in a chef’s table setting. The first chef has been selected but has not been named. I hope he or she is a neighbor. Late summer or early fall.

  • Amy Drew Thompson reports that Red-Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse will open an outpost in Sanford’s Henry’s Depot. October is the aim.
  • It was reported in May that downtown bar Finnhenry’s was in danger of being evicted due to back rent owed. Owner Caitlin Van Voorhis said at the time that she was waiting to hear about her application for the Restaurant Revitalization Funds program, which could be used to pay the rent. Finnhenry’s is one of three businesses operated by Orlando Public Houses along with Ollie’s in College Park and Vanbarry Public House in SoSoDo. Vanbarry’s name appeared on the list of local restaurants that received revitalization funds – $367,421.66. I reached out to Van Voorhis to ask if the money was specific to Vanbarry’s or if it could be spread among the three but she has not responded. In any event, Finnhenry’s is closing, probably this weekend.

Update: Van Voorhis replied in a detailed email that Vanbarry’s was the only one of the three entities that she owned completely. And although she applied for revitalization funds for all three, only Vanbarry’s was awarded monies. (The first three weeks of the application process were focused on businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans, so Van Voorhis’ full ownership of Vanbarry’s likely aided in receiving the funds.) She also wrote in her email that the challenges of downtown Orlando during the pandemic (younger crowds, shootings, including the death of a man outside her door, and a decrease in police presence) have had a negative effect on business. And when Finnhenry’s was turned down for SBA funds, she was expected to pay $89,000 in back rent immediately. She has since bought out her partner’s in Ollie’s and will continue to operate it and Vanbarry’s, which she notes both have Covid-friendly patios, as the sole owner.

  • If you’ve been thinking, “Gosh, I just haven’t been getting enough geopolitics when I go out for a drink,” this is for you. Cuba Libre, the restaurant and rum bar at Pointe Orlando, will feature “Cuba Libre for Cuba Libre” during the month of August, which is also National Rum Month. Anyway, when you buy a Cuba libre, the rum and cola cocktail, you’ll help support Cuba libre, the move for freedom in the island nation. Fifty percent of proceeds will go to Cuba Decide, a nonprofit advocating for change in Cuba’s political system.
  • Orlando Science Center’s 4Roots Cafe, an initiative of 4Roots Farm Campus, a nonprofit founded by John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, is now open to the public without admission fee to OSC. Non-ticket-holders can access the cafe via the Loch Haven Park side of the building. I’ll have a review of 4Roots Cafe soon.
  • We’re currently in the nominating phase for the Best Burger Foodster Award for Indepencent Restaurants. See the list of semifinalists and place your vote now.

We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

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