Best of Orlando 2017 - Food & Drink

Our readers voted online for their top picks in dozens of categories, from sweet shops to car dealers, bloggers to wedding venues. We carried our snazzy "Best of ORL" sign to various winning spots for photos, then had a "blast" coloring it for the cover.

Axum Coffee

Roberto Gonzalez

Best of Food & Drink
Best of Home Shopping
Best of People & Media
Best of Fun & Leisure
Best of Health & Beauty
Best of Kids & Pets

Coffee for Good Causes

Renaut and Brooke van der Riet opened Axum Coffee (Above) in Winter Garden in 2010 with a single goal: to give away the store’s profits to organizations that are doing good in the world. The first project they targeted was the impoverished town of Axum in Ethiopia. Since then, the van der Riets have expanded their mission to include everything from a local hospital’s cancer wing to agencies working to stop human trafficking in Indonesia. Of course, to make those profits, they had to create a successful shop. To do that, they focus on their coffee—which is roasted just a few blocks away in their roastery—and on their service. “It’s our people who set us apart,” says shift leader Josh Neal. “We want somebody who has the correct attitude. We can teach anybody how to brew coffee, but you can’t teach kindness.”
—Loraine O’Connell

Community Coffee Spot

1 Axum CoffeeDowntown
Winter Garden

2 Downtown Credo
College Park and Florida Hospital Orlando

Foxtail Coffee Company
Winter Park and DoveCote Restaurant


1 Arthur’s Creative Events & Catering
Altamonte Springs

2 Puff ’n Stuff Events and Catering

3 4 Rivers Smokehouse
Six Orlando-area locations


1 Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
10 Orlando-area locations

2 Twistee Treat
Six Orlando-area locations

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
11 Orlando-area locations


1 Peterbrooke Chocolatier
Downtown Winter Park

2 Farris and Foster’s Famous Chocolate Factory
Baldwin Park

3 Godiva Chocolatier
Three Orlando-area locations


 1 The Rusty Spoon
Church Street

Kres Chophouse
Church Street

3 Artisan’s Table
Pine Street


1 K Restaurant
Edgewater Drive

2 RusTeak Restaurant & Wine Bar
Edgewater Drive

3 The Tap Room at Dubsdread
Par Street


1 Eddie V’s

2 Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar

3 Seasons 52



1 Yard House
I-Drive 360

2 Café Tu Tu Tango
Southern I-Drive area

3 Texas de Brazil
Outlet Marketplace


1 Chef’s Table at the Edgewater
West Plant Street

2 Urban Flats
West Plant Street

3 4 Rivers Smokehouse
South Dillard Street


1 Prato
Park Avenue

2 Luma on Park
Park Avenue

3 Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
Park Avenue


1 Hollerbach’s Willow
Tree Café
Downtown Sanford

2 Nonno’s Ristorante Italiano
Altamonte Springs

3 Palma Maria Restaurant    


1 Whole Foods Market
Three Orlando-area locations

2 The Fresh Market
Six Orlando-area locations

3 Trader Joe’s
Winter Park and Restaurant Row


1 Bösendorfer Lounge
Grand Bohemian Hotel
Downtown Orlando

2 The Alfond Inn
Downtown Winter Park

3 W XYZ Bar
Aloft Orlando Downtown


1 Crooked Can Brewing Company
Downtown Winter Garden

2 Red Light Red Light Beer Parlour
Audubon Park

3 Wop’s Hops Brewing Company


1 Total Wine & More
Three Orlando-area locations

2 Tim’s Wine Market
Three Orlando-area locations

3 ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Multiple Orlando-area locations


1 Tijuana Flats
Multiple Orlando-area locations

2 Gringos Locos
Downtown Orlando

3 Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar
Restaurant Row


1 Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Multiple Orlando-area locations

2 Chick-fil-A
Multiple Orlando-area locations

3 McDonald’s
Multiple Orlando-area locations

Confection Perfection

Winning the community’s affection when Sweet By Holly opened in Waterford Lakes in 2008 was easy until a slew of other cupcake shops cropped up shortly after. But Regional Manager Ashton Cole says customers stayed loyal to Sweet’s unique melding of flavors, like that found in the Creamsicle Cupcake, which mixes orange and vanilla bean into buttercream frosting that sits atop yellow cake, speckled with orange zest and stuffed with marshmallow cream. Sweet owner Hollis Wilder, a former private chef for hit television shows such as Seinfeld, and champion of Food Network's Cupcake Wars (winning it with her salmon cupcake), has moved back to Los Angeles to spend more time with her middle school-aged children and dive back into personal cooking. Cole says Wilder still crafts new confection concoctions from afar, like the Peach-Tini Cupcake that debuted for Mother's Day, adding to the shop's 84 existing flavors. "As long as you have a cell phone in hand, you can connect to anyone, anywhere," he says. 
—Megan Stokes

Place for something sweet

1 Sweet by Holly
Waterford Lakes

Better Than Sex
Ivanhoe Village

3 Nothing Bundt Cakes
Winter Park and Restaurant Row

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