Departures in Dining

2017 has seen the closings of culinary mainstays as well as fledgling eateries.


Should auld acquaintance be forgot …

2017 has been a busy year on the Orlando food scene, and while numerous new restaurants have opened, we’ve said goodbye to a few, with tales of drama, unexpected financial woe and sudden demise. Cue the music …

* Baoery, the Asian-influenced restaurant and bar from Soco chef/partner Greg Richie, closed in March after two years in business.

* The Bistro on Park Avenue, the romantic boîte in the Hidden Gardens in Winter Park, was sold in July and will change its concept.

* Citrus closed in January after a 10-year run in the North Quarter, replaced with miraculous speed by Reyes Mezcaleria.

* Giraffas Brazilian Grill had two locations, in Mills Park and on I-Drive. Both closed this year, the Mills Park space replaced by the bowl-centric Too Much Sauce.

* Mitchell's Fish Market, on a much-vacated corner of Winter Park Village, shut down this week.

* Nova Restaurant had high expectations and a short life, closing this month after less than two years in the former Brian’s Diner/Elliott’s Public House space in Ivanhoe Village.

* Paris Bistro, the beautiful jewel box of a French restaurant in Winter Park, closed in July.

* Park Plaza Gardens, which actually suspended operations in 2016, officially announced this year it would not reopen.

* The Peppy Bistro found the restaurant biz a bit harder than expected and closed in College Park after three years.

* Pharmacy, the chef-run speakeasy in Dr. Phillips, closed in August, then reopened, then declared bankruptcy this month.

* Polonia's, the great homestyle Polish restaurant in Longwood, abruptly shuttered in April, the owners then opening Biscuits Diner, which transformed into another Polish restaurant called Polski's, which subsequently closed in October.

* Portobello Country Italian Trattoria, the Downtown Disney-cum-Disney Springs eatery crafted by chef Tony Mantuano, didn’t close in April so much as cocoon itself to metamorphose into Terralina Crafted Italian, opening in the next few months.

* PR’s Taco Palace, a mainstay of next-to-the-railroad-tracks dining in Winter Park, closed after almost 30 years. The College Park location is still serving.

* Red Mug Diner, the late-night downtown spot, announced it would cut its space in half in May, and then did a total reduction to no space at all, closing in July.

* Restaurant ASH also took a hit in May, shutting the restaurant run by Hell's Kitchen contestant and Funky Monkey owner's daughter Ashley Nickell.

* Scratch, the tiny inventive Winter Park restaurant that could … couldn’t, locking the door in June.

* Spanish River Grille, the award-winning New Smyrna Beach home of former Txokos chef Henry Salgado, was sold by him in January, the new owners finding less profit than expected and closing in April. Salgado now inhabits the kitchen of Rose Villa in Ormond Beach.

* Spice Burgr closed in The Plaza building downtown, to be replaced shortly by Le Pho. Spice Modern Steakhouse (a same-owner relation), overlooking Lake Eola, called it quits in July.

* Square 1 Burger, the latest in the crowded burger chain field, was evicted abruptly from its space in Winter Park in May. The entire Tampa-based chain filed for bankruptcy in June.

Don’t let a sudden change catch you unawares. Stay in touch with Joseph at You can access a comprehensive list of his print and online reviews here!


Categories: Savor Orlando