This article has been updated with information from the developer.
There are big plans in the works for the Hourglass District, with new restaurants, markets and coffee shops.
What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Hourglass District? Neither have I, and I live about three blocks from it. It’s at the intersection of Curry Ford Road and Bumby Avenue and the name, apparently, comes from a lake, which is not at that intersection. I don’t think it can even be seen from there.
It should be mentioned that Hourglass District is not the official name of that district. That would be Curry Ford West, another name I’ve never heard of.
That might be because it doesn’t exist. At least not yet, at least not officially, according to Pauline Eaton, Main Street Administrator for the City of Orlando and the overseer of official districts and their names, such as SoDo, Mills 50 and the Milk District.
Also, there’s no such thing as Curry Ford West. Curry Ford Road, though several miles long, ends at Ferncreek Avenue, which for the record is closer to Hourglass Lake than the proposed Hourglass District. So all of Curry Ford Road is technically east.
But according to Bart Polachek, who is spearheading the drive to have the area recognized as an official district, the name was chosen to delineate it from the far eastern part of town, which, he says, most people associate with the landfill. Polachek owns Swiss House in Curry Ford Plaza and repairs timepieces. And before you ask, yes, he says he works on hourglasses. But, he says, “It’s a grainy subject.”
Anyway, Hourglass District. It’s technically a development and it will occupy several buildings on the northeast and southeast corners of the Bumby/Curry Ford intersection.
One of the buildings, as we reported in November, will hold Claddagh Cottage, the popular Irish pub that was displaced, along with several neighboring businesses farther down Curry Ford Road, to make way for a Walgreens.
The gas station on the northeast corner will remain a gas station, but a retro one where attendants will pump the gas for you and — get this — wash your windshield. Inside what is now a convenience store will be several businesses, including a second location for the popular Winter Park coffeehouse Foxtail.
Also occupying that space will be the Tamale Co., a first brick-and-mortar location for the two-vehicle food-truck business. (Full disclosure: I am unable to verify at this time whether brick or mortar will actually be involved.) Tamale Co.’s Jennifer Pamayo, who operates the critically acclaimed trucks with her husband, Fernando, said she is hoping to be open by the end of summer or early fall.
Besides Foxtail, Pamayo said her neighbors will be a bakery (I hear it will be operated by a former Disney worker) and a craft beer bar.
Across Curry Ford, the little freestanding building that has been home to so many restaurants, including La Fiesta Mexican Grill, which moved farther east in Curry Ford West, will become Peppino’s Woodfire Pizza.
Plans also call for a market to occupy the space where an abandoned car wash now crumbles, a brewery and one or two other restaurants to be named later.
The developers is National Real Estate, which is owned by husband and wife team Giovanni Fernandez and Elise Sabatino. Fernandez told me in a phone call that he’s been working on assembling the right businesses for more than a year — and also closing or relocating other tenants. The space that he would like to place a brewer into, for example, was previously a church. He said that he help the church relocate farther away. The church, by its proximity, was preventing any of the local businesses from serving alcohol. With them gone, the booze can now flow freely.
Although he has not signed anyone on yet, Fernandez said that he wants a high-profile restaurant at the southeast corner, where an auto mechanic used to be. “We want to take some of the original feel of the area and make it cool,” he said.
As for the official designation of a Curry Ford West district, it probably won’t happen soon. Polachek siad it’s a slow ordeal and it will take a while to get all of the businesses together and to go through the bureaucratic process.
And even if it does become official, Hourglass District couldn’t be a part of it — that stretch of road is outside the city limits in a pocket of Orange County.