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Recent Restaurant Reviews and News

Written By Scott Joseph On February 1, 2018

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News from the Flog  

Recent Restaurant Reviews

Chela Tequila & Tacos

Chela interior

This week’s review of a taco restaurant is Chela Tequila & Tacos in downtown Orlando.

Until very recently, this restaurant was known as Kasa, which did not focus on tacos. It did, however, specialize in small plates, but there wasn’t anything about the experience I could recommend.

I can recommend Chela. The food is good, the service is personable, and while the atmosphere is a bit cold and institutional it at least reflects the urban environment in which it is located.

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Grills Lakeside Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar

Grills exterior


whiskeybannerI’ve lost track of all the businesses that have occupied the space at 4315 N. Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. I’m pretty sure my first encounter with the massive property on the shore of Lake Fairview was with Shooters Waterfront, an Orlando version of the Intracoastal Waterway hot spot from Ft. Lauderdale that opened here in 1990.

I know that it was a nightclub called Park Avenue, and I seem to remember that it was also known as Empire at one point.

Tim Webber, who operated a popular catering business for years in Orlando took over the space in 1996. Tim Webber’s Pavilion by the Lake was a catering commissary as well as a place for private functions and parties. When I wrote in the Orlando Sentinel in November 1996 about a Sunday brunch he offered at his new place, I began the review, “What a smart thing Tim Webber has done.” Two months later he filed for


So to say that the property has had a troubled past is perhaps an understatement.

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Rupert Named Executive Chef at Wine Bar George

Ron and George

George Miliotes has announced the appointment of Ron Rupert as executive chef for his long-awaited Wine Bar George at Disney Springs. Along with the announcement came word that the restaurant is now scheduled for a spring opening. The statement even specified spring of 2018, so that’s encouraging.

WBG was first announced here in Dec. 2015, when Miliotes was still getting his paychecks from Darden Restaurants. We covered the ground breaking ceremony in Nov. 2016 and may have even mentioned in the middle of last year that the wine bar would be open by now.

But the delays are probably an indication of the scope of the project. Don’t confuse “wine bar” with a small operation. Wine Bar George will be a two-story operation with seating for 210 guests. When he first announced the concept, Miliotes estimated it would cost between $4 and $6 million.

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Mykonos Returning to Longwood’s Springs Plaza


Mykonos ext

Fans of Mykonos, the popular little Greek restaurant that closed more than 15 months ago, take heart: If the permitting gods smile on the Longwood eatery’s new hood, it could reopen sometime in March.

According to owner Tina Karoutsos, the restaurant was forced to close when the management of Springs Plaza, where the restaurant had been since 2000, did not renew its lease. She said that the space was needed so that a medical clinic could expand.


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Carmel Kitchen Wine Bar Closes in Winter Park

carmel kitchen logo

Maybe they should have offered tacos.

Carmel Kitchen Wine Bar, a fledgling chain out of the Tampa area, has closed its Winter Park location barely five years after opening there. The casually upscale concept had previously tried a second Central Florida location, in Altamonte Springs, that was shorter lived.

Reviewed here in 2013, Carmel, which opened with the name Carmel Cafe but changed to Kitchen, presumably to ease its way into other states where the name might already be in use, was warmly accepted for its food and atmosphere, if not immediately for its service. When it opened, it featured menus and wine lists on iPads, with varying results — the information was not always accurate and some guests recoiled at the thought of using devices that had just been finger-swiped by guests at another table.

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Other Stuff

June Dates Announced for Trip to France

Paris spread 1

If you missed out on the April dates for our trip to France, take heart: New dates have been added for June.

We’ll be traveling to Paris and Lyon June 23 through 30. Chef Kevin Fonzo and I will lead the tour, which is being curated by Art in Voyage — Beyond Travel. We have a lot planned — even if you’re a frequent visitor to France, you’ll love some of the “insider” things we have planned, including an exclusive dinner at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, a day-trip to Champagne country, and a cooking class using the ingredients gathered from a local market. In Lyon, we’ll pay our respects to Paul Bocuse by visiting his famous restaurant.

I’m especially looking forward to showing you some of my favorite restaurants (they’re not all Michelin-starred, some are hidden neighborhood gems) and taking you on a tour of one of the area’s market streets to gather a picnic feast, like I did last month (photo above).

Click here for complete details and pricing information. Here are some of the things included in the excursion:

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Restaurants Experimenting with Surge Pricing

ubereats 1 copy

Well, here’s the latest trend to hit the restaurant industry: surge pricing.

This is the concept that says the more people want something the more it should cost. It’s a key element of supply and demand. And most people are familiar with it today as a ploy employed by ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. If you’ve used those services you probably know that the cost for a ride can vary depending on time of day — rush hour, say — or the weather. The next time it starts to sprinkle, open up your Uber app and watch the estimates for a ride start going up as the rain comes down.

But these gig economy giants didn’t invent surge pricing, it’s been around for ages. You’ve certainly have noticed that an airline ticket for will cost more if you’re flying on a holiday. Heck, tickets for the same route on the same day can be priced differently — you can usually save some money by agreeing to get to the airport at 5 a.m. instead of 9.

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