In the days after the Pulse massacre, several businesses on Orange Avenue found themselves within a secured perimeter, especially those between the nightclub and Orlando Health, where many of the victims were taken. Brick & Fire was one of those businesses that were essentially cut off and unable to open to the public.
But instead of just shutting down, chef and co-owner Mark Dollard went to his restaurant early that Sunday morning and made about 80 pizzas and put them out free for first responders.
During the current crisis, Dollard is offering a discount on all menu items all day every day for first responders and medical professionals. It’s a nice thing to do considering the restaurant’s proximity to the hospital. It’s likely a go-to for workers anyway, especially since it has such good food.
As I reported last week, Dandelion Community Cafe had closed “until further notice” after a dispute with the owner caused staff members to attempt to form a union. Now, the owner, Chris Blanc, has announced that the closing is permanent.
“Due to a variety of factors outside of our control, including the heavy impact of COVID-19, Dandelion Community Cafe is permanently closed,” Blanc posted on the restaurant’s web page.
Halsey Beshears, the secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, met with approximately 50 Central Florida bar owners Sunday to discuss their options for reopening. According to one bar owner who attended the one-hour meeting at The Abbey, an entertainment venue in downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park, “I think most of us left with more questions than we came in with.”
Bars were allowed to serve patrons on-premises in the state’s phase 2 reopening, but then were ordered by Beshears to shut down again at the end of June following a surge in coronavirus cases throughout the state.
Will Walker, owner of bars in the Mills 50 district, said the secretary admitted that some mistakes were made in the first reopening, but quoted Beshears as saying, “I don’t want to play the blame game.”
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining, one of the year’s most anticipated culinary promotions, will go on as scheduled this year, beginning Aug. 28 and running through Oct. 3. This year, restaurants may offer a takeout option for people who don’t feel comfortable dining on site. Others will promote the availability of outdoor dining.
And the choice of this year’s charity to receive $1 from every meal sold is inspired: Feed the Need Florida, an initiative started by 4Roots in March to provide meals to people who are struggling financially due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Three more restaurants have opened at Disney Springs, and some substantial ones at that. The Edison, Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway, all operated by Patina Restaurant Group, reopened Thursday under a trademarked Dine Safe Commitment to Care program. The restaurants’ websites list the particulars of the Dine Safe protocols, which honestly don’t seem any more stringent than what most other restaurants are doing: distancing, table reconfigurations; enhanced cleaning of touched surfaces, one-use menus, etc. All three restaurants are well suited for distance dining, especially Edison and M&E’s.
Belicoso Cigars and Cafe is ending its brief stay at Mills Park after Saturday’s service. What was that, eight months? Nine? Rather than the pandemic, blame is being placed on rent dispute…