Editor Letter: Rays of Hope
Pets, performances and eating places await.
This issue is all about you, the reader, indulging in an abundance of riches: Dining Awards, Arts Season Preview, and Pet Guide, all in one volume. But it’s also about hope and determination in the face of adversity.
A bit of background: We usually announce our annual Dining Awards in May. But when the coronavirus pandemic struck and shut down restaurants, we felt it would be best to delay the picks. With many restaurants now open at 50 percent capacity, September seemed like a good time for the reveal. At the same time, our look at the upcoming arts season always runs during this month, as does our celebration of animal friends.
So the floodgates have opened. What you will read from Dining Critic Joseph Hayes in his 21 picks are accounts that celebrate the excellence of restaurants, despite the struggles they are enduring. In Michael McLeod’s preview of the arts, he examines the great lengths that various groups are going to in order to stage performances full of promise—safely. Meanwhile, in our section on celebrating pets, we tell tales about homeless animals and longing humans who have found—and possibly saved—one another during this crisis.
And so as you read the various stories, stop to marvel at the forces working mightily to survive in this pandemic. And please continue to lend your support to them, whether it’s in person, curbside, online or by financial means.
In the allow-us-a-pat-on-the-back department: Your city magazine recently captured three first-place “Charlie Awards” for excellence from the Florida Magazine Association. The winners:
Best Photography: Photo Essay/Series, Consumer Magazines over 20K Circulation, Charlie Award for “Olympic Dreams,’’ February 2020; Photo Editor Roberto Gonzalez.
Best Photography: Cover, Consumer Magazines over 20K Circulation, Charlie Award for “The Pet Issue,’’ September 2019; Photo Editor Roberto Gonzalez, Art Director Anna Ware.
Best Design: Use of Photography, Consumer Magazines over 20K Circulation, Charlie Award for “Olympic Dreams,’’ February 2020; Associate Art Director Denis Vargas.
Congratulations to our talented team. Samples of the winners are above.
Back to dining: Sadly, this marks the last issue with Joseph Hayes as Orlando magazine’s dining critic. I’ve had the pleasure of being Joseph’s editor for 11 years, and his writings and support of the dining community have had an immeasurable impact. His voice will be missed; you can read his farewell to readers on page 46.
Brooke Fehr, who has a wealth of experience writing about restaurants, will coordinate our future dining coverage as food & drink editor, and we plan to draw on a variety of writers (Brooke included) to continue telling the stories that make Orlando such a one-of-a-kind place in the culinary world. Speaking of which, as of Sept. 5, our Pizza Bracket Challenge has been whittled down from 32 contending restaurants to just two. The one-on-one finals run Sept. 5-13, so go to orlandomagazine.com/pizzabracket to cast your vote! Our November issue will be all about the winner and the rest of the primo pizza makers who competed in our contest.