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Van Aken Announces Opening for New Restaurant

Written By Scott Joseph On August 1, 2016

1921 exterior

One of the most anticipated restaurants of the year, 1921 by Norman Van Aken, will open Aug. 9 in Mount Dora.

Van Aken, of course, is one of Florida’s most celebrated chefs. His Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes Orlando, is one of the few remaining fine dining restaurants in the area.

The 1921 in the new restaurant’s name is a reference to the date the building was built. Its location, in proximity to the Modernism Museum, helped guide the interior, which is decorated with paintings and sculptures and is even said to include artisan furniture that guests will dine at in the converted house, all on loan from the museum.

1921 Kitchen

1921 BenchV1 copy

Van Aken chose Camilo Velasco to be his chef de cuisine. Velasco worked with Van Aken at his Orlando restaurant but most recently was leading the culinary program for Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen.

1921 fish curry

The Mount Dora location allows the new restaurant to more easily source its products from nearby farmers and purveyors. “With close access to some of the best local produce, meat, and seafood Florida has to offer,” Van Aken said in a statement, “Mount Dora is a fitting location for us in terms of sourcing ingredients for our menu and connecting the restaurant with the local community that shapes our philosophy.”

1921 bar

According to general manager Scott Geisler, who is also heading up the restaurant’s beverage program, reservations will be accepted through OpenTable beginning Monday morning, Aug. 1.

According to the statement: “Menu offerings at 1921 will change regularly, providing guests the opportunity to experience a wide selection of fresh Florida flavors from snacks and starters such as the Grilled Okeechobee Mushroom Tostadas ($9); to flatbreads and salads like the Smoky Maduro Plantain Flatbread ($14) and Florida Avocado and Summer Squash Salad ($11); to main plates including the Wood Grilled Eye of Ribeye with red chimichurri marinated sweetbreads, ember roasted carrots & tomatillo ($36). Additionally, 1921’s wood oven will serve up offerings like the Sour Orange Mojo Roasted Cornish Hen ($24).”

The restaurant will conduct a soft opening beginning Aug. 9 with a grand opening date in September to be announced.


Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the restaurants name as its address. It is, in fact, the year the building was constructed.

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