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I went to Nick's Italian Kitchen last night and they had a few large groups of customers. The interior has not changed much from Fifi and the Santuary Diner but feels more spacious with the removal of the display counters. It is a dimly lit, nice dining environment but with all the hard surfaces, noise level can be a problem at times. Service was slow but professional and there is a logistic challenge that requires alcoholic beverages to be made next door at Prickly Pear. Upon request we were provided with a nice bread basket of fresh Italian Bread, Olive Bread and Breadsticks accompanied by a spread we think was made up of roasted onions and peppers that had a spoiled onion smell and taste. Many of the menu selections did not seem to appeal to us and we were kind of disappointed that most pasta dishes fell in the 18-20 dollar range. An appetizer, entre and drink would approach a $50 meal. The presentation of the dishes were nice, but none of us though our entrees were great. One us ordered Martinis and was kind of shocked at a $15 price--OK for South Beach but not Orlando. Based on the Funky Monkey tie in, I think I had different expectations that the place would be more of a neighborhood eating place than a weekend wannabe hangout. I also do not understand how a business can open now days without having a fully operating web page that includes a menu that gives early adapters an insight as to what to expect. I don't think this Funky Monkey model will be successful, but time will tell.

We also did cross the street afterwards to take a look at the new Mucho Liquor store. They have a walk-thru access to Mucho Restraunt and will share the same closing hours so it should provide that area of town with convience of a nice beverage and snack selection. The prices also seemed to be competitive.

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Tried Russell’s last night for happy hour, just a couple apps and drinks. They’ve done a fantastic job with the space, the wall by the lake is all windows and provides an incredible sunset view overlo

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I went to Nick's Italian Kitchen last night and they had a few large groups of customers. The interior has not changed much from Fifi and the Santuary Diner but feels more spacious with the removal of the display counters. It is a dimly lit, nice dining environment but with all the hard surfaces, noise level can be a problem at times. Service was slow but professional and there is a logistic challenge that requires alcoholic beverages to be made next door at Prickly Pear. Upon request we were provided with a nice bread basket of fresh Italian Bread, Olive Bread and Breadsticks accompanied by a spread we think was made up of roasted onions and peppers that had a spoiled onion smell and taste. Many of the menu selections did not seem to appeal to us and we were kind of disappointed that most pasta dishes fell in the 18-20 dollar range. An appetizer, entre and drink would approach a $50 meal. The presentation of the dishes were nice, but none of us though our entrees were great. One us ordered Martinis and was kind of shocked at a $15 price--OK for South Beach but not Orlando. Based on the Funky Monkey tie in, I think I had different expectations that the place would be more of a neighborhood eating place than a weekend wannabe hangout. I also do not understand how a business can open now days without having a fully operating web page that includes a menu that gives early adapters an insight as to what to expect. I don't think this Funky Monkey model will be successful, but time will tell.

We also did cross the street afterwards to take a look at the new Mucho Liquor store. They have a walk-thru access to Mucho Restraunt and will share the same closing hours so it should provide that area of town with convience of a nice beverage and snack selection. The prices also seemed to be competitive.

Not sure what you mean...Funky Monkey Wine Co is an expensive, bistro-style dining establishment.

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I went to Nick's Italian Kitchen last night and they had a few large groups of customers. The interior has not changed much from Fifi and the Santuary Diner but feels more spacious with the removal of the display counters. It is a dimly lit, nice dining environment but with all the hard surfaces, noise level can be a problem at times. Service was slow but professional and there is a logistic challenge that requires alcoholic beverages to be made next door at Prickly Pear. Upon request we were provided with a nice bread basket of fresh Italian Bread, Olive Bread and Breadsticks accompanied by a spread we think was made up of roasted onions and peppers that had a spoiled onion smell and taste. Many of the menu selections did not seem to appeal to us and we were kind of disappointed that most pasta dishes fell in the 18-20 dollar range. An appetizer, entre and drink would approach a $50 meal. The presentation of the dishes were nice, but none of us though our entrees were great. One us ordered Martinis and was kind of shocked at a $15 price--OK for South Beach but not Orlando. Based on the Funky Monkey tie in, I think I had different expectations that the place would be more of a neighborhood eating place than a weekend wannabe hangout. I also do not understand how a business can open now days without having a fully operating web page that includes a menu that gives early adapters an insight as to what to expect. I don't think this Funky Monkey model will be successful, but time will tell.

We also did cross the street afterwards to take a look at the new Mucho Liquor store. They have a walk-thru access to Mucho Restraunt and will share the same closing hours so it should provide that area of town with convience of a nice beverage and snack selection. The prices also seemed to be competitive.

I really, really, really wish I didn't agree with you but I do. Thornton Park is NOT Winter Park or Sand Lake Rd. and that price point is a little high. HUE revamped their entire menu to reflect a mid teens to mid $20s price point. Other than places like Enzo's or christinis, Italian food should never really be priced into the mid $20s per entree. Prickly Pear is even higher (upper $20s to mid $30s). I am sure they did their homework and they seem to have a great business sense but risky for sure.

Excited for the soon to be open Sonoma!

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Baker Barrios Architects is pleased to announce its selection as the interior design firm for the 800 sq.-ft. Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen in Downtown Orlando. The new café will be located at the corner of Orange and Pine inside the historic CityArts Factory.

“We love the spirit and energy of Downtown and believe in stimulating a new coffee culture,” said Jonathan Smiga, president and CEO of Barnie’s. “We believe coffee and food are an art form; our goal is to share the spirit of this philosophy with others.”

Baker Barrios Architects Selected to Design New Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen

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Glad to see this too. I think it's been about a year since they made their "Big announcement" and a few of us thought it would be a location downtown.

I personally run on Dunkin and look forward to the day we have a location closer than the one on south Orange

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There is already a coffee shop at CityArts factory: Roho Art & Coffee. Are they just taking over that space? It would not make sense to put another coffee shop there.

That's awesome! i've always had trouble getting a decent cup of coffee w/o having to walk a distance...roho's hours are weird and never consistent...sometimes they were open when they felt like it i suppose...at least barnies will have stable hours.

**crossing fingers** they stay open late!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

Don't worry - I am sure 2 or 3 will spring up to replace it.

Well, Walgreens' Duane Reade stores started offering small kegs of beer in NYC - maybe if they open a 24-hour drugstore downtown they could fake it as a bar. And then we could get Ace Hardware to stock items and offer lessons for building barstools or maybe a still. Perhaps we just need to get creative to get actual retail downtown!

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Those guys can spend all the money they want, but you can't take the Orlando out of Orlando. The real problem has less to do with venues themselves than it does with the lack of population density, disposable income, and safe transportation options home after a night of boozin'.

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But that can't be! We don't have nearly enough bars downtown!

Spencer,

I counted 46 bars on the Downtown Orlando website alone. That's some pretty heavy density. It might even meet or exceed what we have Downtown Manhattan in some spots...

Update: I did the math and there are 36 bars per square mile in Manhattan. I used the New York Magazine Bar and Club Search and the total square mileage of the island including land and water. Using land only it goes up to 58.

Edited by mrh3
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  • 3 months later...

While the Burger Bubble has been discussed in some detail on Orlando Sentinel and the Business Journal these restaurants are just the beginning of a whole wave of new and growing restaurants in the Central Florida region. With the burger joints numbers alone there should be at least 100 new restaurants opening in Central Florida in the next few years.

I wrote a two part series on all the new and growing restaurants around Central Florida.

Coming Soon: Restaurants, Restaurants everywhere

In part 1 I cover

  • Boardwalk Burgers
  • BurgerFi
  • Burger21
  • Shula's Burgers
  • Hardee's
  • Mooyah Burgers
  • Union Burgers
  • Smash Burgers
  • Sunshine Diner
  • Panera Bread (throughout Central Florida)
  • The Club at NBA City
  • Barley House on Church St
  • and a few other rumors and tidbits of local restaurant news and rumors.


    In Part 2 coming Wednesday I'll cover

    • Mills/50 Kobe
    • Anthony's Pizza
    • Ethos Vegan Kitchen
    • Jersey Mike's
    • McDonald's on Orlando Ave
    • 4 Rivers Winter Park
    • Cask and Larder
    • Spice on Park
    • Galopin Cuisine
    • Miller's Ale House Winter Park

    Let me know if I missed any or if any the news I mention has been updated.

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