Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On July 8, 2021

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Recent Reviews

Jaber Lebanese Cuisine

Jaber ext

Video screens inside Jaber Lebanese Cuisine in College Park were flashing photos of menu items, a helpful aid to people unfamiliar with labnehs, kibbehs and kaftas. But then the screens showed the restaurant’s name and logo, and underneath that “Since 1952.”

Hmmm, I thought. If Jaber’s been around since 1952 it hasn’t been in this space. Most recently this was the home of Peppy Bistro and before that, Paxia.

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Junior’s Diner & Mexican Grill

juniors exterior

I was thinking that Junior’s Diner, a breakfast and lunch place in Audubon Park, had been there forever. But I was reminded that it has only been Junior’s since late 2006. Before that it was Roger’s Diner. Roger who, I couldn’t say, but then I never knew who Junior was, either.

Now there’s been another change at the small storefront space on Corrine Drive at Winter Park Avenue. It’s still called Junior’s Diner but “& Mexican Grill” has been added to the sign out front. And it’s not just a breakfast and lunch spot anymore, it serves dinner as well. And, as you can probably guess, Mexican dishes have been added to the menu.

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Other Stuff

Newsy Nuggets: Downtown, Baldwin Park, chicken, wine and cocktails

Pepes church street

Pepe’s Cantina has closed its downtown Orlando location leaving only the original in Winter Park and another location in Clermont. Pepe’s occupied a small space in Church Street Station that previously had been home to Mary’s Side Bar Cafe, a companion to the popular Hamburger Mary’s next door; Church Street Tavern; and the Dessert Lady. Pepe’s opened in Winter Park in 2015 and in downtown Orlando in 2017, the same year it won the Foodster Award for Best Tex-Mex.

While we’re in downtown, word comes that the space vacated by Market on Magnolia last year will become Corner Pizza Bar sometime this summer.

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Newsy Nuggets: Gone Fishing and other stuff

Soco bar

Here’s another sign that things are returning to the way they were in the years p.c. (pre covid) – people are taking vacations again. And that includes restaurants. Two of our favorites have announced they are taking some time off to relax and regenerate. Soco, the Thornton Park southern contemporary, is closed through July 8, reopening on Friday, July 9. Over in College Park, Tornatore’s Ristorante and Italian Market will be on vacation beginning Saturday, July 3, and reopening on the 8th. I had a craving for carrot cake last week and went to Tornatore’s to get a couple of slices of Ron James’ (Mr. Sugarbuzz). I don’t know what I’m going to do if the craving hits again next week while the restaurant is closed.


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The last word on Saladgate

Guavate salad

Here’s the last word on Saladgate, mine anyway.

To recap, Saladgate is what I tongue-in-cheekily called an incident that occurred last month at Hillstone restaurant in Winter Park. Allegedly, a dine-in customer ended up being told to leave and received a trespass warning citation from Winter Park police after management told him he could not order a salad to go.

Some among the hundreds of people who commented here and on Facebook said that there had to be more to the story than that. I agree. But Hillstone management took the position that it would not comment, so we were left with the accounting of the incident from the customer, Bruce Woodburn, in a video he posted on Facebook along with selfies taken with the responding police officers, whose smiles seemed to communicate what they thought of the ordeal.

I think all parties are accountable: Hillstone management for its unrelenting policy; the customer for persisting after being told the policy and apparently accelerating the situation; and the officers for what manager Cindy Wathen was quoted in the report as describing “how the call was handled.”

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