That’s the question I get asked most these days, more so than usual. I suppose it’s because over the past year or more we’ve been focused primarily on the businesses that succumbed during the pandemic rather than the ones that opened. To be honest, we lost a lot fewer restaurants than I expected us to. And we had a surprisingly healthy number open, several that I would include in the new and exciting category.
We had Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe and the Monroe in downtown Orlando. In Winter Park, BoVine gloriously reimagined the former Park Plaza Gardens space just as Knife & Spoon did with the old Norman’s at the Ritz. Recently, Illume brought high-end Japanese cuisine to the high-up rooftop of the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek, just upstairs from Sear + Sea, which also debuted mere months ago.
Now to the list of new and exciting add The Pinery, which opened last month in the newly constructed Lake House Apartments high rise. Like its neighbor Russell’s, it shares a view of Lake Ivanhoe and pays homage in its name and logo to the area’s past as a pineapple grove. (The western strip of lakefront was once known as Russell’s Point.)
AC Sky Bar is not a restaurant. That should be clear from the name, otherwise it might be AC Sky Cafe or AC Sky Bistro, which would make it sound more like an in-flight food option.
It’s not quite at cruising level, but it does sit higher than an aerie, on the 18th floor of the newly constructed SunTrust Plaza building at Garland Avenue and South Street. The bank occupies the lower floors; the hotel has the topmost eight floors. The 18th level serves as the hotel’s lobby and also has a breakfast nook, lounge and the aforementioned Sky Bar. Two-story windows and balcony seating offer unfettered views that confirm Florida’s flatness. One can see all the way to the attractions and beyond. Just below is a top-down view of the Amway Center.
The Small Business Administration has released the list of more than 100,000 foodservice businesses that have been awarded grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a cache of $28.6 billion allocated as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
The list included more than 815 businesses in the Greater Orlando, including Orange, Lake, Seminole and Brevard counties. Those businesses – restaurants, bars, caterers, food trucks – split a total of $224,467,903 with an average award of more than $275,000.
Rocco’s Italian Grille serves some of the finest food in Central Florida. And owner Rocco Potami has a certain skill with creating complex Italian dishes.
But in this edition of Compliments of the Chef, Potami demonstrates how to make Veal Scallopini. Give the video a look, then pick up some veal (or chicken) from your market and give the recipe a try. Or stop by Rocco’s and let Potami make you a perfect one.
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, The JW Marriott Bonnet Creek installed Melissa Sallman as executive chef, with duties to include overseeing Sear + Sea (as opposed to oversearing See + Sea). Now comes word that Eric Marrero has been promoted to that restaurant’s sous chef position. He replaces, sort of, Alex Pyser, who had been listed as Sear + Sea’s chef de cuisine when the resort opened last year.
Marrero was part of S+S’s opening team and before that had been chef assistant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. With the recent opening of Illume, JW Marriott Bonnet Creek has two powerhouse dining experiences.