The Black Olive, the upscale Italian restaurant in the Plaza complex in downtown Orlando, has been rebranded and opens today as Blue Smoke Burger Bar. Ownership remains the same, and even chef Dan Kernan will stay in the kitchen. David Miles, however, who served as the genial general manager of Black Olive, has moved to the company’s Cattleman’s Steakhouse on International Drive. Bill Brown, formerly with Tavern on the Lake, now leads the front of the house.
There’s no question that economics played a part in this move — The Black Olive was an ambitious and upscale restaurant that opened at the wrong time. But it also opened in what is a questionable location. The Plaza has good visibility — Urban Flats will attest to that — but the Olive is/was around the corner on Pine Street, effectively hidden. A burger bar with lower food costs should help the restaurant’s bottom line, but only if people come in to dine. The branding may have changed, but the location has not. We’ll see how this plays out. In any event, I’m glad the owners didn’t just close it down outright.
The Black Olive’s Web site — eattheblackolive.com — is still operational and there doesn’t yet seem to be a site for Blue Smoke.