Anniversary: Introducing the Silver Skillet Awards

1987: The Silver Skillet Awards—A precursor to our annual Dining Awards

A Short History Lesson
Disney Makes Headlines
Living and Giving
Mr. Downtown
Back to the Future
Church Street Heydays
Genuine Articles
Introducing the Silver Skillet Awards
Front & Center

November 1987—Our first annual Silver Skillet Awards. In first place: Royal Orleans at Mercado, with owner Robert Earl and Chef Beany Macgregor.

Reporter Carole DePinto wrote:

“No sooner had we delivered polling boxes and ballots to over 200 restaurants than calls began coming in for more ballots. Our field representatives were kept busy restocking voting locations throughout the six-week poll…

“After the returns were in, I dined with the owner of the first-place Royal Orleans, Robert Earl. Mr. Earl, president of President Entertainment, lives in the fast lane of the entertainment world. Just hours before he was seated across the table from me, he was high above the Atlantic traveling at a speed of 1,200 miles an hour in the Concorde. A mere 3½ hours from London to New York.

“Mr. Earl’s quick return to Orlando was prompted by the news that his Royal Orleans restaurant had won first place hands down.”

(Royal Orleans closed in January 1991 to make way for the Mardi Gras Entertainment Dinner Show.) 

Silver Skillet runners-up in order of finish:

  • China Garden* 
  • Pizza Den
  • Leonardo’s (Ocala)
  • Café Italiano 
  • Tony Marino’s
  • Lido’s*
  • Le Coq au Vin*
  • Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ* 
  • Jordan’s Grove (Maitland)

* indicates still in business

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