Eating For a Cause

There are plenty of opportunities this month and beyond to make your dining dollars help others.


While we watch Irma and wait, (where exactly are all those flashlights I bought last year?) I figure … you gotta eat! So why not invest those dining dollars in a worthy cause while enjoying the area’s best food?

We’re in the midst of Magical Dining Month, when more than 100 restaurants are offering $35, three-course meals from a special menu, now through October 1. The initiative aids Freedom Ride, which provides therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with disabilities in Central Florida; and BASE Camp Children’s Foundation, offering a year-round base of support for children and families facing the challenge of living with cancer.

For the first time, several Disney resort restaurants are in the Magical mix, including the Grand Floridian Cafe and Jiko-The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge (with a superb Malay seafood curry). Disney Springs is represented by highlights from Morimoto Asia, STK and Paddlefish. Mama Della's Ristorante at Loews Portofino Bay and The Kitchen at the Hard Rock Hotel put the spotlight on Universal properties.

Bu the real attractions are in our home-grown treasures. Perennial College Park fave K Restaurant, Sanford superstar The Smiling Bison, Chez Vincent, Brandon McGlammery’s Prato and Luma on Park, Maxine’s on Shine and downtown luminary DoveCote Brasserie—among dozens of others—present imaginative three course wonders.

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No Kid Hungry runs through September, asking diners to round up their tab to the next dollar to benefit Share Our Strength’s fight against food insecurity in Florida, where more than 1.1 million children live without the food they need every day.

In a 10-mile radius of downtown Orlando, 26 restaurants are participating, including The COOP4 Rivers Smokehouse, Mellow MushroomArby’sMarlow’s Tavern and Bravo Cucina Italiana.

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A focus on sustainable agriculture highlights a dinner at Highball & Harvest at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes on October 26. The “Homestead Harvest” event will raise funds for the urban hyper-local Fleet Farming organization, which uses volunteer “farmers” and community gardens to reinvent how Orlando eats. Local superstars Kathleen Blake (The Rusty Spoon), James Petrakis (The Ravenous Pig), Kevin Fonzo, Austin Boyd (The Osprey Tavern) and more join guest Top Chef star Kenny Gilbert, whom I wrote about in February.

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Categories: Savor Orlando