It seems like we spend a lot of time talking about restaurants that have closed, it’s nice to be able to report a slew of openings.
- Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is expected to officially open at Disney Springs Monday. Puck had previously had Wolfgang Puck Cafe when the area was known as Downtown Disney West Side, but that’s another story. It was a good restaurant when it opened in 1997, with an upstairs dining room that was meant to more closely approximate the culinary experience at the celebrity chef’s popular Spago. Then Levy Restaurants bought the Wolfgang Puck brand and took over the restaurant. How much did the restaurant change? Puck once told me that he considered asking Levy to take his name off of it. Puck, I’m told, is in control of the new restaurant, so let’s keep a good thought.
- F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen has opened at 2420 Curry Ford Road, taking the place of Peppino’s Organic Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, which operated in that building a very short time. This is the area that the developers have dubbed the Hourglass District. The city’s Main Streets program would rather you call it Curry Ford West (never mind that it’s on the east side).
- Over in the Thornton Park District (that’s TPD on the Main Street’s website), the Menagerie Eatery & Bar is open and, presumably, keeping regular hours, though those hours don’t include Mondays or Tuesdays. It’s from the operators of RusTeak and the Stubborn Mule, just across the way on S. Eola Avenue.
- In downtown Orlando, in the undistricted area near the Orange County Courthouse, the Ramen has opened. That’s its name: The Ramen. It’s owned by Suichi Tanida, former chef at Mitsukoshi restaurant in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. It’s in the former Philly Connection space at 480 N. Orange Ave.
- À La Cart has opened in the Milk District and no, Cart is not misspelled. The concept is sort of an open-air food court, with food trucks and carts (not cartes) ringing a green space. Beer and wine are available from a central pavilion.
- Jumping over to Lake Nona, Park Pizza & Brewing is now serving in the Lake Nona Town Center. This is the third local brand from Orlando based Tavistock Restaurant Group. Even though it is open now, the grand opening isn’t scheduled until January.
- Ford’s Garage, a Florida chain that started in Ft. Myers in 2012, has opened a location at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. It’s in a freestanding building that sort of looks like a garage. It’s a perfect name for a greasy spoon diner, but burgers and beer are the specialties.
- La Boucherie, which bills itself as “France’s most popular steakhouse,” has opened a restaurant in Bayhill Plaza at 7625 Turkey Lake Road. It’s in the space that most recently was a Graffiti Junktion and, if I recall, the original location of Memories of India.
- And because the news can’t all be rosy, Kokino, a tapas restaurant also in Bayhill Plaza, has closed.