Food & Drink: Celebrating Mother’s Day in Orlando
Here’s a handy list of Mother’s Day Brunch-fest locations that will make her day extra special.
What better way to celebrate mom than to treat her to Mother’s Day brunch? Orlando’s restaurant scene has come a long way in recent years. It seems like nearly every week, a new restaurant opens its doors. With so many delicious choices, picking the perfect place to take mom on her special day can be tricky. We offer six can’t-miss options to make mom feel like a queen. From fine dining to high tea at a cat café, each of these eateries will surely put a smile on mom’s face.
If mom is a Food Network fan, head to Orlando’s trendy Milk District for brunch at Se7en Bites. This Southern-inspired eatery has been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives,” not once but twice.
“It’s been a whirlwind ever since,” said chef/owner Trina Gregory-Propst, a three-time champion on Fieri’s popular cookoff show, “Guy’s Grocery Games.”
As a mother, she knows how to create a stress-free family-friendly environment. All the food is ordered at the counter, so the little ones won’t have to sit through table service.
“You don’t have to get dressed up. We have high chairs and a kid’s menu with chocolate chip pancakes,” Gregory-Propst said.
Although Se7en Bites offers brunch year-round, on Mother’s Day, the focus is on mom. Last year, they rolled out a special peach lavender mimosa that was so popular it became a mainstay on the menu. “We also do a bacon jalapeno Bloody Mary for those spicy moms,” Gregory-Propst said.
As a child of the ’80s and ’90s, she has selected an up-tempo playlist featuring hits from those decades. Her specials are playfully named after pop figures from the era.
The Nelly Frittata is a crustless quiche that has been dragged through the garden. It has corn, zucchini, blistered tomatoes and goat cheese crumbles. It comes with dressed greens topped with a balsamic drizzle.
Besides its savory offerings, Se7en Bites is the largest independently owned, full-service bakery in Central Florida. If mom has a sweet tooth, Se7en Bites won’t disappoint.
“We do a little bit of everything—cookies, cupcakes, pies, bread puddings, cheesecakes,” Gregory-Propst said.
Having just celebrated their first anniversary, Ava MediterrAegean is a welcomed newcomer to the Winter Park dining scene. The elegant, cleanly decorated dining room transports guests to the Mediterranean, while the music creates a lively ambiance reminiscent of South Florida.
“The idea was to bring Orlando a European mindset with a bit of Miami flair,” said Marine Giron-Gally, chief branding officer for the restaurant.
For Mother’s Day, French-born Executive Chef Remy Lefebvre wants to recreate his favorite childhood memories. The special will be a whole guinea fowl roasted with honey and lavender, served family style.
“It’s inspired by Sundays at my mother’s home,” he said.
The sides can be ordered a la carte. Highlights include Mediterranean spiced carrots with date syrup and asparagus with fresh herbs and homemade yogurt.
If mom favors more traditional brunch offerings, Lefebvre will also turn out mainstays like French toast, pancakes and a Greek omelet.
Last year, moms were treated to a roaming gin and tonic cart. It went from table to table, allowing moms to create their own potion, choosing from a selection of herbs, spices and gins.
If gin and tonic are not mom’s poison, there will surely be other libations to suit her tastes. Ava MediterrAegean prides itself on its mixology program.
Pastry Chef Etienne Le Bastard is from Brittany, France, where apples are king. In honor of his mom, he will offer a caramelized apple tart with phyllo dough, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Ava MediterrAegean is an excellent option for an upscale, sophisticated, yet fun Mother’s Day celebration.
The Osprey Seafood and Spirits
Baldwin Park has many great dining options. But if mom favors the delicacies of the sea, be sure to take her to The Osprey.
Owners and 2022 James Beard Semifinalists Jason and Sue Chin offer seafood platters fit for a queen. Ranging in price from $52 to $190, mom can tuck into a shellfish feast that features four varieties of oysters, shrimp cocktail, marinated mussels, creamy chilled lobster salad, a smoky fish dip and more.
Ask to see the caviar menu if you want to show mom how special she is. They serve the deliciously briny balls of flavor with the traditional accouterments, including capers, raw shallots, sour cream and hard-boiled egg. Mom can spread all that yumminess over a fluffy blini and wash it down with a glass of champagne.
If mom favors something other than seafood, general manager Jessi Lalomia recommends the shakshuka. The Osprey’s Palestinian sous-chef introduced this Middle Eastern delicacy to the menu. It features two sunny-side-up eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, topped with feta and served with pillowy slices of focaccia. “You can dip the bread in the sauce and mix the eggs. It’s always a favorite,” Lalomia said.
The Osprey has a full bar. For Mother’s Day, besides mimosas and bloody marys, the bartenders will mix peach bellinis and a boozy iced coffee.
The Osprey is family-friendly, casual fine dining at its best. A breezy patio allows them to accommodate larger parties. Be sure to book reservations, as they fill up quickly.
Orlando Cat Café
If boozy drink specials and poached eggs in buttery hollandaise are not mom’s idea of a good time, you could surprise her with high tea at the Orlando Cat Café in Clermont.
The café offers two seatings on Mother’s Day. For $45 per person, you and mom can spend two hours indulging in an impressive selection of sweet and savory pastries while making the acquaintance of some new feline friends.
Their neighbor, the local favorite, Minch Coffee, provides all the pastries, along with a distinctive selection of teas and coffee.
According to Director of Community Purr-lations Jessica Whitehouse, the Mother’s Day high tea is popular with young girls, who love getting dressed up and going for tea with mom.
The café has between 12-30 cats waiting for belly rubs at any given time. But they are not just there for the cuddles. If mom falls in love, she could take the furball home. All the cats are available for adoption.
The café receives a kitty delivery from the Florida SPCA in Lakeland twice a week. Each of the cats is spayed, neutered, micro-chipped and up to date on their vaccinations. “They’re pretty much ready to go once they get here,” Whitehouse said.
Located just four miles west of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Orlando Cat Café offers a truly unique – and delicious – Mother’s Day experience.
“The Mother’s Day high tea is popular with young girls, who love getting dressed up and going for tea with mom.”— Jessica Whitehouse, Director of Community Purr-lations Orlando
White Wolf Café
Stepping into the dining room at the White Wolf Café is like walking into a Parisian bistro.
Tiffany lamps hang from the ceiling, providing a warm glow to the spirited space. The walls are brimming with artwork. They handwrite the daily specials on a vintage chalkboard.
Serving Orlando’s Antique row for over 30 years, White Wolf is an Orlando institution.
“We are thrilled to still be here. It’s been a very cool ride,” said owner Anne Marie Hennessey.
White Wolf’s marble-slapped tables are a part of the city’s history.
The marble came from the walls of the old City Hall. In 1992, when the building was blown up for the movie “Lethal Weapon 3,” Anne Marie and her husband, Michael, got their hands on the ornate slabs of rock, which they transformed into tabletops.
The Hennessey’s initial focus was on dinner. But their brunch became such a runaway hit they now serve it seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
According to a loyal crowd of local devotees, you can’t go wrong with the chicken and eggs. They marinate the chicken in buttermilk. It’s breaded and fried to order, so it always arrives at the table fresh. After coming out of the fryer, it’s smothered in rich white sausage gravy.
Make sure mom brings her appetite because they serve this dish with two eggs her way and a choice of potatoes, grits, English muffins, or, my favorite, a homemade buttermilk biscuit.
Another popular item is the colossal pancakes, which Anne Marie describes as roughly the size of a pizza. As for toppings, mom can choose her adventure; classic combinations include chocolate chips and bananas or strawberries and cream. White Wolf Café is a delicious part of Orlando’s history.
Stasio’s Italian Deli
If mom is from the Northeast, Stasio’s Italian Deli will make her feel at home. Like the delis common to the New York tri-state area, Stasio’s offers a bit of everything—a selection of imported cold cuts sure to put a smile on Tony Soprano’s face. They make the sausages in-house and are some of the best you’ll find in the city.
There’s a rotating selection of takeaway meals. Highlights include chicken marsala, pork cacciatore, or ribs stewed in red wine gravy with potatoes and veggies.
Although they are not open on Sundays, with some planning, you could load up on some of mom’s favorite Italian specialties and head to a nearby park for a Mother’s Day picnic.
Stasio’s offers made-to-order sandwiches, perfect for a relaxing afternoon in the park. Their flagship sub features classic Italian cold cuts with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, onions and a vinaigrette. Another great option is the sausage and Broccoli Rabe.
They bake all the bread in-house each morning.
Stasio’s is owned by Louie and Marie Palo and their children, Diana and Al. Although the family must arrive at the deli before sunrise to prep for each day, their Instagram feed proves that these people love what they do. They often post early morning videos of them dancing to booming club music with their employees.
Besides the prepared goods, the deli has grocery items imported from Italy, including several Italian wines. The pastry counter will put a smile on mom’s face. You can’t go wrong with the pistachio cheesecake or the classic cannoli.