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Two New Restaurants Open Monday

Written By Scott Joseph On July 8, 2011

Prickly_Pear_wallFunky Monkey Restaurants, Inc. will open its two newest restaurants Monday, July 11, both in the Sanctuary condo building on South Eola Drive in downtown: Prickly Pear, with a southwestern menu, and Nick’s Italian Kitchen, with a self-explanatory one. The Pear, as one hopes it will be nicknamed because other options aren’t as savory, is taking over the space left vacated by the late, lamented Graze; Nick’s goes in to the old Sanctuary Diner spot (nee Fifi’s Patisserie). The two restaurants will employ at total of 100 people, said Eddie Nickell, who, together with partner Nicholas Olivieri, owns FMI.

The two restaurateurs opened the first Funky Monkey just a few years ago on Mills Avenue. They now have a second Funky at Pointe Orlando, Bananas Diner on Mills Avenue near the original Monkey, a wine and gift shop a few doors up called the Vault, and a second Bananas under construction at the Pointe. In a short time they’ve become a burgeoning restaurant group.

Nickell says he’s concerned that when people hear that Prickly Pear will serve southwestern cuisine they’ll confuse that with Tex-Mex. Not the same thing. “Prickly Pear is something totally new to Central Florida,” say Nickell, “think Bobby Flay, not Mexican. With dishes ranging from a mouth-watering Smoked Duck Quesadilla to 22-oz Cowboy Steaks, Tequila Grilled Shrimp on Corn Cakes with Chipotle Butter to Corn and Jalapeno Fritters and our signature Prickly Pear Margaritas. This is true American cuisine from the frontier southwest.”

The Pear’s decor will be southwestern, too, and features a large wall sculpture of the namesake succulent. (You’ll probably find some cacti cocktails on the bar menu, as well.) Tables will be covered with sandy colored cloths, banquette backs have emu skin. There will be two chef’s tables.




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