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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On February 26, 2021

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News from the Flog  

Recent Reviews

Shantell’s Just Until

Shantells 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.

It seems fitting to end our monthlong focus on Black-owned restaurants with Shantell’s Just Until because of its location in Sanford’s Georgetown neighborhood. The area was established by the city’s Black business owners during in the 1880s during the Jim Crow era. Last year, Georgetown was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Despite the impermanence of its name, Shantell’s Just Until feels like an anchor of the neighborhood. At least it did when I visited on a balmy evening recently when when the owner, Shantell Williams, herself was seated at a table outside. My dining companion, dog and I took a table next to a large brick planter filled with colorful flowers. Nearby in a tall tree, an osprey stood watching over the restaurant.

The menu is a bit more Caribbean than it is Southern soul. My guest chose the jerk chicken and rice for an entree and I selected the fish & chips. I had a choice of tilapia or catfish but that’s really not an option – catfish is the only appropriate answer in this setting.

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Grandma’s BBQ

Grandmas 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.

I like this story.

The food truck known as Grandma’s BBQ was started by an actual grandma, Marcia Owens Ballard. Ballard was employed by the Orange County Public School System and also worked in daycare.

According to the website, Ballard would also prepare food for the families she worked for, and after getting so many requests to cater events, she decided to buy a food truck and go into business. (This is not terribly different from how 4Rivers Smokehouse came to be.)

That was 14 years ago and Ballard is no longer with us. But her grandson, Deodrick Ballard, continues to run the business and keeps the truck moving around to spread Grandma’s joy.

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Other Stuff

Newsy Nuggets: Second tenant for First Watch building, RusTeak downtown, plus Palestine, Jerusalem, Germany, Greece, UAE and Mexico

FW maitland

Word comes that the building that until Sunday held the Maitland First Watch will be taken over by Peach Valley Cafe, another breakfast-and-luncher. PVC was first developed by Ormond Beach-based Stonewood Restaurant Group but was sold to Winter Parker restaurateurs Eric and Diane Holm in 2019. First Watch moved out in advance of the opening of its new flagship and prototype restaurant opening March 1 in Winter Park. Peach Valley Cafe currently has a half dozen restaurants.

  • There may be a change at the Menagerie Eatery & Bar, the eatery and bar in Thornton Park. The owners are considering converting it to their RusTeak brand. Sounds like a good idea to me.

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Newsy Nuggets: Storming the Castle and other stuff

White Castle Rendering

Y’all managed to scare the the ghost kitchen when you stormed the White Castle website Tuesday. The sliderie thought it would be a fun bit of marketing to offer its menu through the Dollins Avenue virtual food hall while its Orlando location was still under construction. The website started taking orders Tuesday morning for delivery and pickup and was quickly overwhelmed, forcing it to shut down.

The order site remained closed Wednesday but a press release promised it would be open again on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. This time, however, it will be for pickup only. Well, that shouldn’t cause any problems for the neighbors around the Dollins Avenue business. You can order through the White Castle website – I’ll let you Google it – but seriously, if you need a slider that badly perhaps it’s time for an intervention.

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Not everything at the Winter Park First Watch will be brand new

MFW harriett

When the Maitland First Watch closes after lunch on Sunday, Harriett Issertell will lose the place she has eaten at several times a week since the daytime cafe first opened in 1993. Issertell, whom everyone calls Miss Harriett, dines at the popular breakfast and lunch cafe almost every day. In fact, I reached her by phone Friday as she was leaving First Watch.


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