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Newsy Nuggets: Restored lakefront dining, word about Luma replacement and a new chicken chain

Written By Scott Joseph On June 4, 2021


Lakefront dining has returned to Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe. You’ll recall that when Russell’s and company took over the former Mesa 21 and Gargi’s Lakeside space they enclosed the outside patio overlooking the lake, incorporating those seats into the main dining room. Now, outside dining has been restored with the addition of new tables and chairs. Should be a perfect place for weekend brunching.

Got a press release about Ava, the restaurant that will be moving into the former Luma on Park space. Not a whole lot of details, but renovations have begun and it appears the basement space will be turned into a bar and VIP lounge with a secret entrance, much like the restrooms at Luma. The press release included a couple of photos, but it turns out those are of ChristnersPrimeSteakAndLobster.com, a sister (or perhaps brother) restaurant in South Florida. I was told the design will be similar. Still, that’s sort of like announcing you’re pregnant and showing pictures of your other kids because the new one will probably look like these. One encouraging note: the release did not refer to Ava’s cuisine as MediterrAgean as a previous announcement did.

It’s been days since a chicken chain announced that it would be moving into the area. That long dry spell is over with word that Slim Chickens, an Arkansas business, wants in on Central Florida’s fowl phenomenon. Interesting name. Most chickenmongers tout their birds as big and plump. Not for Slim Chickens, apparently. They must be proud of their puny poultry.

South Steel SJO March AD copy

Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobsters is celebrating its 28th anniversary with a fundraising dinner on June 11. One hundred percent of food sales that day will be go to Aspire Health Partners to support prevention, intervention and treatment services for people with mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders in Central Florida. Reservations can be made by calling 407-645-4443 or at ChristnersPrimeSteakAndLobster.com

Much like the Brood X cicadas, Brad’s is emerging from underground. For those unfamiliar – and that should include most of Greater Orlando – Brad’s Underground Pizza is a unique operation. People request a pie via Brad’s Instagram page and wait – days, weeks, months – for Brad to respond and grant them the honor of receiving one of his pizzas. Just read some of the social media posts from people lamenting the lack of a response from Brad, doubting their worthiness, but still hoping to be notified and you’ll realize what a marketing genius Brad must surely be. Now he’ll be moving into a space at at 4400 Curry Ford Road in Orlando, but that’s no indication that he’ll move to a pizza on demand model. I’m guessing the door will be locked most of the time.

Those of you still waiting for Brad to respond will be heartened to know that Donato’s pizza chain is planning to move back to the area. It had a few locations in Central Florida but left many years ago.

Friends and fans of chef Francisco “Chico” Mendonça, who died last month at 57, will gather at his restaurant Bem Bom on Monday, June 7, to celebrate his life. People are invited to stop by between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.

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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