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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On February 18, 2021

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News from the Flog  

Recent Reviews

Seana’s

Seanas ext

During February, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.

The most interesting thing I learned about Seana’s, a Caribbean and soul food restaurant in West Orlando, is that there is no Seana. Owner Joshua Johnson said that it was just “a name I’ve always loved; it just feels like a warm embrace.” That’s a pretty good description of the restaurant itself.

Seana’s occupies a small space in a little strip mall at the corner of Good Homes Road and Colonial Drive. A counter-service operation with the menu hand-written on a white board that also serves as a screen to the kitchen area, Seana’s gained some renown when it was chosen as one of the local restaurants to serve members of the National Basketball Association during its stay in a pandemic “bubble” at Walt Disney World Resort last season.

The teams ate well.

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Boku Sushi & Grill

Boku sign

During February, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.

Albert Eugene DeSue, formerly chef at the now defunct Yuki Hana, has taken over kitchen duties at Boku Sushi & Grill, one of several restaurants at the new Maitland City Centre.

Maitland City Centre (which I’m pretty sure is pronounced SAHN-tray, is a big new multi-use complex that is now the hamlet’s de facto downtown. The Centre’s website reads, “You might feel as though you’ve been transported to a dynamic, open-air plaza straight out of your favorite European escape.”

Um, no.

But you might feel like you’re not in Maitland anymore.

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 News

Maitland First Watch closing Sunday. Winter Park opening announced.

First Watch sign

Above, workers recently installed signs on the soon-to-open flagship First Watch restaurant in Winter Park.

After more than 25 years, the Maitland location of First Watch, the popular breakfast and lunch restaurant, will close after lunch service on Sunday, Feb. 21.

 

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Other Stuff

Newsy Nuggets: Flavortown’s in O-town and other stuff

GF Flavortown Kitchen 1

Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen is the latest brand to join Virtual Dining Concepts, the don’t-call-it-a-ghost-kitchen project from Robert Earl. The shock-haired celebrity chef’s menu features such things as jalapeño pig poppers, s-m-cheesesteak egg rolls (the s-m apparently means super melty), and a variety of burgers and sandwiches, including the Chicken Guy! classic. Chicken Guy!, of course, is the Chick-fil-A-like fast-fooder that Fieri and Earl opened at Disney Springs.

Unlike ghost kitchen operations, Virtual Dining Concepts utilizes the kitchens of existing restaurants, and its foods are available only for delivery. Even so, Flavortown Kitchen’s website lists locations at Florida Mall, Millenia Mall, and in Maitland, all of which happen to be locations for Buca di Beppos (Bucas di Beppo? Bucas di Beppi?). Buca di Beppo is one of Earl Enterprises’ brands, so that makes sense. But the Virtual Dining Concept isn’t exclusive to EE kitchens – any restaurant may apply to cook the food of one of its brands.

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Newsy Nuggets: HomeCourt by Tracy McGrady, sky-high bars,

HomeCourt by Tracy McGrady Exterior Photo copy

Former Orlando Magic player Tracy McGrady is getting into the restaurant business with the opening of HomeCourt by Tracy McGrady in Lakeland. The restaurant will be basketball themed (duh) but will also feature an “immersive golf simulator.” Decor will showcase Magic memorabilia, including jerseys and an Adidas show wall, which I can almost smell.

A 40-seat bar will have a top made of reclaimed planks from a basketball court. I’m hoping that whenever someone spills a drink, several guys with oversized mops will rush out to clean it up.

The restaurant, which will debut Wed., Feb. 24, is in conjunction with Salt Partners Group of San Francisco. So why Lakeland? McGrady is a native of Bartow, so where else would he put his HomeCourt?

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Matchbook Memories: Joe Allen: New York loses a legendary restaurateur, and Orlando loses a great friend

JoeAllen front

I was rifling through my stashes of restaurant matchbooks, the pocketable souvenirs I’ve saved over the years, even though I’m not a smoker, and came across one for Joe Allen, the theater district restaurant. It seemed coincidental given that Joe Allen, the owner, died last week at the age of 87.

The stretch of 46th Street west of eighth Avenue has been known as Restaurant Row for decades, but Joe Allen was one of the first to move in to the rundown neighborhood and offer dining and drinking options to theatergoers and the people who worked on the shows, actors, playwrights, stagehands alike.

Joe Allen, which is currently closed because of the pandemic, is a small, cramped space a couple of steps below street level. Its gimmick was that its wall were lined with the posters of Broadway shows, but unlike those in other restaurants, Allen hung only the posters of bona fide flops.

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