Comings and Goings

News feed: Some openings and closings on the dining scene.


First of all, Happy Christmas and New Year. And just when you think the year is ending and what else could happen (seriously!), the Orlando Restaurant Shuffle continues.

In case you haven’t been keeping track: First, founding father Norman Van Aken parted company with his partners at 1921 (formerly “by Norman Van Aken,” currently 1921 Mount Dora); now, executive chef Camilo Velasco is moving on to oversee brunch and lunch operations at The Ravenous Pig.

California Tortilla on Church Street closed this week. You can be excused for feeling confused, since California Tortilla on Church Street never truly opened, even after 10 months of “operation.” Apparently the owners didn’t get proper authorization from the landlord to unlock the doors.

German mainstay Bauern-Stube, on the other hand, opened in 1987 and developed quite a following for its German cuisine and slightly theme park-ey atmosphere. And now they’re gone.

Stir Restaurant in the Lake Ivanhoe area closed in October. I never got the chance to go. Wonton Asian Kitchen, an apparent prototype for an Asian fusion franchise, locked its doors in November. I’d been there once.

Red Claw, the lobster roll eatery inside Orange County Brewers downtown, moved out; Bruno Zacchini’s Pizza Bruno moved in.  

Speaking of moving in …

Real estate magnate Craig Ustler brings two replacements for North Quarter Tavern on North Orange next year: the restaurant City Pub; and Bitters and Bottles for bar snacks and cocktails.

Roberto Treviño (very recently late of El Buda) is opening a new restaurant on South Chickasaw Trail called Ceviche Bar by Don Julio.

Chef Chau Trinh’s Winter Park location for the esteemed Sushi Pop opens on New Year’s Eve, focusing on nigiri and sashimi, with a lunchtime Vietnamese pop-up of pho, rice bowls and rolls called Chauhaus running on weekdays.  

The aforementioned Bruno Zacchini opens Slice by Pizza Bruno on Mills in 2019, next to the phoenix that was/will be Wally's Mills Avenue Liquors.

Sonny Nguyen’s Domu is having babies (by the way, have you noticed all the restaurant babies this month?) in the form of Japanese pub Tori Tori and quick service Domu Chibi ramen-ya.

Speaking of ramen, the folks behind Jade Sushi in College Park opened Susuru on Palm Parkway this month.

One of this year’s restaurant babies belongs to Chelsea and Jamie Savage of Sanctum, who will also open their new Winter Park restaurant, Proper & Wild soon.

An item I can’t quite reveal yet has a co-chef at an impressive Winter park-area restaurant taking over the kitchen of a longstanding downtown eatery and revamping both its kitchen and image. You’ll find out soon.

The Old Jailhouse, the new Sanford venture from chef Bram Fowler, should open shortly.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill opened in Disney Springs. Still waiting on an opening date for José Andrés’ Jaleo.


A quick note about one of the premier charity events of the new year: Heart Of Florida United Way Chef's Gala. Next year’s event, on March 2,  will feature 24 area restaurants, including Morimoto Asia, Tiffins, Highball & Harvest, Primo and Fantasyland’s Be Our Guest. Tickets are available by visiting Individual tickets are $350.

Give yourself the gift of a good meal, you deserve it. Stay in touch at,  and access a comprehensive list of my print and online reviews here!


Categories: Savor Orlando