Now or Soon-to-be Open

Written By Scott Joseph On January 30, 2017


Paddlefish concept

Those of you who enjoy chasing the newest and shiniest restaurants are going to be busy.

We’ve already seen the opening of Luke’s Kitchen and Bar in Maitland. (Watch for my review of the new restaurant from the owners of Prato and Luma on Park soon.)

Planet Hollywood Observatory last week opened more quietly than you’d expect a Robert Earl property to. One of the reasons for that may have been that a splashier opening — or at least a more fanciful pre-party featuring menu contributor Guy Fieri — was canceled when Earl’s daughter went into labor. Beth and baby girl are fine, but grandpa Earl opened the doors to the Disney Springs behemoth without attendant hoopla. I somehow pictured him in the style of a vintage Hollywood movie throwing a huge switch and declaring, “It’s Alive!” Maybe there will be something later, but in the meantime you can step right up and try out Fieri’s frighteningly large burgers. And don’t worry, the Cap’n Crunch chicken (though it seems to be called only World Famous Crunch on the current menu.) You can see video of the interior of Planet Hollywood Observatory and my interview with Guy Fieri, wherein I pronounce his name correctly after he corrected me on our first take.

Southeast 9 23 Bosch

Also at Disney Springs, Paddlefish is scheduled to dock on Saturday, Feb. 4. Of course that’s only metaphorically speaking. The structure of an old paddlewheel steamship is as seaworthy as a concrete canoe and has been lagoonside for decades, first as the Empress Lily and then as Fulton’s Crab House. As with Fulton’s, Paddlefish will be operated by Levy Restaurants. And as with Planet Hollywood, the original structure has undergone major renovations that have added balcony dining spaces. I plan to Facebook Live from Paddlefish on Friday evening during a pre-opening event. I’m most interested in hearing the Disney mandated legend that will explain how a multi-deck riverboat made its way into the Springs.

Not all recent openings were spearheaded by large corporations. Nonno’s, the Italian restaurant that is bringing local favorite Stefano LaCommare out of retirement, has opened in Altamonte Springs. Although LaCommare and his son, Leonardo, have been serving their pastas and classic Italian dishes since the last week in December, its official grand opening is Wednesday, featuring the owner of Mezzacorona Vineyards in Tuscany.

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