As I did last year on my old site unofficialrestaurantreview.com here is a look back of the Restaurant news, openings and closings and what is coming up in 2014 in the Orlando/Central Fl restaurant community.
Bad news first the Closings in 2013:
Timpano – one of my favorites was closed on Restaurant Row. Thats the bad news. Good news a new building was errected in its place and now we have Darden’s flagship chain Eddie V’s.
Hot Olives- this restaurant in Winter Park that changed locations (dont know why) has closed. Too bad always like their food.
Shipyard Brewpub- located in Winter Park closed down. Parking was always a night mare but once I got setted in I always enjoyed some good adult beverages and watched the always heavy traffic go by.
Charley’s Wildfire Grill- has closed on OBT. Another sad story. This is the place and the building where the original Charley’s Steakhouse was given birth. Back in the day this was a great Steakhouse even if it was on 441/OBT. Fun fact- Did you know that Charley’s Steakhouse in Orlando is Robert Irvine’s Restaurant Impossible star’s favorite place to go when he is visiting Orlando.
Taste- the Tapas/appetizers place in College Park closed in 2013.
Nick’s Italian Kitchen and Prickly Pear both closed in 2013. The owners of Funky Monkey owned both.
Taqueria del Sol- this Tex Mex also closed in 2013. Suprised, it had good food and was priced right.
Papa Gio’s- This pizzeria Italian restaurant closed down in Ocoee. This was their 2nd location. Their first location remains open in East Orlando.
Enough Bad News. Now to Good News. What opened up in 2013?
Eddie V’s- Darden’s high end Steak & Seafood has opened up on Restaurant Row. Its very good and its very pricey and the service is/was great! Did I say it was pricey? Great for special occassions and expense accounts as well.
Crooked Spoon Gastropub- the owners of this place traded in their popular food truck for a Restaurant in beautiful Clermont, Fl.
Black Bean Deli – has opened up in 2013. This is their 2nd location. Don’t feel like driving to Miami for Cuban food? Head on over to east 50 for some great cheap Cuban food.
Wolfie’s Pizzamia- the owners of White Wolf Cafe decided to go into the pizza business as well. So they opened up this place right in the same vicinity of WWC.
East End Market- probably one of the biggest anticipations of the year opened up in 2013. Interesting place or concept that has restaurants, food markets, places to buy speciality food items, deserts and wines. I like the idea, our city needed something like this.
Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen- opened up their 2nd location in Altamonte Springs on 436.
Santiago’s Bodega- sound familiar? The original location is in Key West. I was there for a food bloggers gathering one night in 2013. It was a little on the high side for what they served and the service could of been better that night, especially for a crowd like us lol.
Smiling Bison- opened up in 2013 on East 50 across the street from Roxy night club. Chef Josh Oakley is expecting big things in 2014 for this place.
Hangar Bar and Grille- this place opened up in College Park in 2013 taking over for space of the former BBQ place Wildside.
Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar- opened up in Winter Park in 2013. Nice wine bar with good food. Wine bars are getting more popular it seems.
Pharmacy– the hidden place you might never find in the Dellagio off of Sandlake Rd. You walk into elevator doors to enter. I really like this place. The food is amazing. This chefs and owners are very talented. Even the pizza is amazing arguably the best in town. The $13 fries are the best $13 fries I have ever had. Only place in town that has a Las Vegas feel to it in my opinion.
Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ- this fast casual BBQ joint opened up in Ocoee off of Maguire Rd. It is in the former spot of Papa Gio’s.
Del Frisco’s became Christner’s Steak & Seafood. Same great steak same great food and same great service on Lee Rd.
Another Keke’s Cafe opened up in the Dr Philips market place.
What is coming up in 2014 to look forward to?
Shake Shack- the popular hamburger spot founded in NY is scheduled to open in Winter Park in 2014. They currently have locations in Miami across from the University of Miami The U, they have one in South Beach and another location in Boca. I really like this burger! This was announced on Shake Shack’s FB page in 2013.
A new restaurant will open where HUE was in Thornton Park.
John Rivers the founder of 4Rivers Smokehouse will open up a new concept called The Coop. I bet you will be able to find some of your southern favorites here maybe even a recipe or two from Paula Deen? Fried Chicken? you know it! Other John Rivers news, he will also open up a BBQ smokehouse in Birmingham, AL close to Samford University. This will be the first location outside the state of FL.
Dexter’s will open another place in The Grove at Isleworth at the corner of Conroy/ApopkaVineland Rd, so will Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and Burgerfi. This was announced July 16 2013 in the Orlando Business Journal.
Del Frisco’s is coming back to Orlando in 2014. More news coming soon.
I know I did not cover every restaurant opening and closing in 2013 there is not enough time in the day. Cheers to you! Cheers to me! Cheers to 2014 to the restaurant scene in Central Florida. Happy Eating!
Remember to follow me at @orlfoodie on Twitter! I have a lot more updates and pictures and news on my twitter account.