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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On June 10, 2021

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News from the Flog  

Recent Reviews

The Monroe

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It’s been a long while since we’ve seen a restaurant the scale of The Monroe open up, at least outside of Disney Springs. The 4000-square-foot would be remarkable on its own just for the vastness of the space. But since this is the latest project from Good Salt Restaurant Group, the entity owned by Jason and Sue Chin who also have Reyes Mezcalaria, Osprey and Seito Sushi Baldwin Park, we expect more than decor, and it delivers.

The Monroe is closer in semblance to Reyes, the North Quarter restaurant that took over the space originally held by Citrus. Like Reyes, Monroe occupies the ground floor of an other-purposed building (offices for Reyes, an apartments for Monroe) with double-height ceilings and hard-surface floors decorated with the artistic stenciling that has become a signature of Sue Chin’s decorating skill. Wood paneling and furniture have a mid-century mien, though the wall of industrial grade windows bring it back to early 21st century. There is ample use of greenery, and in one particular dash of whimsy a graceful orchid sits in front of a large painted mural of swans that features silhouettes of the same flower.

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Papa Lozzi Italia

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I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss Papa Lozzi Italia until now – apparently it’s been operating in Waterford Lakes for a couple of years – but I’m glad to have finally found it.

Then again, it has the comfortable mien of a mom-and-pop (or papa) operationt that makes it feel as though it’s been there forever.

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 News

Luma on Park suing former landlord to reopen in former space

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Luma on Park has filed a lawsuit against William T. Battaglia and Foundry Commercial, a Florida limited liability company, in an attempt to reclaim its original location at 290 S. Park Avenue in Winter Park.

The suit, which was filed last month in Orange County, alleges: “This case arises out of Bill Battaglia’s improper attempt to use Luma, a fine dining institution on Winter Park’s acclaimed Park Avenue for 15 years, as [an] unsuspecting pawn in his diabolical plan to inflict financial pain and suffering upon his family members, with whom he is tied through a multitude of family companies and trusts…”

Battaglia and his brother, Robert, are the principals of Battaglia Group, which was Luma’s landlord.

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Fieri and Earl bringing Chicken Guy! to Winter Park

Chicken Guy Winter Park Rendering

The chickening of Central Florida continues.

Chicken Guy!, the exclamatively pointed concept from Robert Earl and celebrity chef and television personality Guy Fieri, will open its third Florida location in Winter Park this summer in a former Steak ’n Shake.

 

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Other Stuff

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

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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.

 

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Matchbook Memories: Bernard’s Surf

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For decades before there was anything called the Space Coast, long before the U.S. had a space program, there was Bernard’s Surf, a fine dining seafood restaurant at 2 S. Atlantic Ave. in Cocoa Beach.

Bernard Fischer, whose family owned a fleet of fishing boats that operated out of Port Canaveral, opened the restaurant on Oct. 31, 1948, a full decade before Dwight Eisenhower established NASA, but its legacy was tied to the space program and America’s fascination with astronauts, both real and fictitious.

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