Restaurateur Manny Garcia and his wife, Gerry, were robbed at gunpoint in their Winter Springs home Monday. According to Garcia, the two men were apparently waiting outside the home when he stepped outside to get the morning paper. As he was reentering the home, Garcia says he felt someone behind him and turned and jabbed the man with his elbow. Garcia told me the assailant threw him to the ground and said, “We’re not going to do that again, are we?” Garcia said he looked up and saw a gun and told the gunman, “Nope.”
Garcia said that despite the initial physicality and the fact that they were holding guns on them the two men were gentle, especially with Gerry. The men took jewelry and other items, including Garcia’s iPhone.
Coincidentally — or maybe not — I had received an email from Garcia this morning that was obviously spam. I sent Garcia a separate message telling him that his email address had apparently been compromised.
Police are following a lead from a witness at a nearby bus stop who saw two men running toward a car. The witness thought it looked odd and snapped a picture with a smartphone.
Manny Garcia is a well known restaurateur who at one time owned many of the area’s Burger King restaurants. He’s perhaps best known to longtime area diners for his now-closed Pebbles restaurants and Harvey’s Bistro. Harvey’s Bistro and Manuel’s on the 28th, an elegant fine dining restaurant on the top floor of what is now the Bank of America building in downtown Orlando, closed four years ago.
Garcia’s latest restaurant is City Fire in the Villages. The first City Fire, which opened a couple of years ago on Restaurant Row in Orlando, was short lived. The Villages location is proving to be so popular that another one is being built there.
In addition, Garcia operates a food commissary near Orlando International Airport that produces soups, sauces and other food items for restaurants across the country.
Garcia was in the news recently when a court order awarded him control of some Urban Flats restaurants as a settlement with the flatbread chain’s founder.