If you’re not familiar with the terms manga, anime or Dragon Ball Z, you may find the surroundings at Soupa Saiyan a little odd. Actually, even if you know about those things you may find the surroundings odd. But you might understand them a little more.
Soupa Saiyin (pronounce it like you’re sayin’ sayin’) is a hole-in-the-wall noodle house, the wall in question being in a sketchy looking mini strip mall on Vineland Road. The decor is based on manga (either comic books or graphic novels depending on your level of devotion) and anime, the Japanese animation style, usually based on manga sources, used in films and television shows. One such show is a franchise known as Dragon Ball Z and images and merchandise from the series fill the place.
Git-N-Messy BBQ has certainly had a head-spinning trajectory in its relatively young life.
Started in 2019 by Chuck Cobb in a Sanford gas station, it moved to another gas station on Hall Road in Orlando last year before partnering with Red-Eye Sports Tavern in late 2020 and moving to that Winter Springs location.
Cobb and his barbecue gained a loyal fanbase that willingly followed, and he earned national attention, appearing on the ABC talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” preparing his outrageous concoction of Southern poutine.
Then, in April, Cobb was killed while riding his motorcycle. The tavern’s management announced that even before his death, Cobb was looking into pursuing other projects and had been grooming William O’Neal to take over as pitmaster at the renamed Red Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & Tavern.
NOLA, of course, stands for New Orleans, Louisiana, and so you can expect a full array of Crescent City standards. (The Avalon Park restaurant is not affiliated with Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant of the same name.)
Described as a micro restaurant, NOLA Avalon Park will have at its helm Kevin Brune, a third generation Louisianan who introduced many Central Floridians to New Orleans cuisine through his Voodoo Kitchen food truck.
The former Palma Maria restaurant space in Casselberry is getting a new tenant. NY Giant Pizza, which has a small shop on Colonial Drive near Semoran Boulevard, will move in as soon as permitting is approved, according to owner Domingo Montes. Montes, who grew up in New York, opened his pizza place in a former taco shop about six years ago and said that the Palma Maria location will double or triple the amount of space he has now. Interesting fact about Montes: he’s 100 percent blind.
Palma Maria was a longtime local Italian favorite that closed when its owner and operator Peter Rosinola Jr. died unexpectedly in early January. The closing was supposed to be temporary, but the family decided a few weeks later not to reopen.
Pasta Lovers Trattoria was Jeno Paulucci’s bid to steal some of Olive Garden’s thunder, though it barely caused a rumble.
Paulucci had made his fortune in the Chun King line of frozen Chinese-esque foods, including pizza rolls, and also with his frozen Jeno’s Pizza. He used some of his wealth to develop the community of Heathrow.
And then he turned his sights on restaurants, opening Pasta Lovers in Heathrow in late 1989.
Actually, the Heathrow restaurant was the third – two others opened first in New York, and Paulucci had told me at the time that he got the inspiration for Pasta Lovers from a restaurant near his Essex House apartment in Manhattan.
Back then, Olive Garden was still owned by General Mills and was the only national non-pizza Italian chain. Just think about that for a minute. The owner of Chili’s had just acquired a San Antonio, Tex., restaurant called Romano’s Macaroni Grill and was set to expand it. Paulucci thought his Pasta Lovers Trattoria would earn a big share of the market.