Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Now there's MOOR to eat at Gaylord Palms Resort

Excuse the headline pun, but I'm really excited about the opening of MOOR. Looks amazing and sounds even better according to a press release:

Gaylord Palms Resort, greater Orlando’s top location for everything under one roof, is pleased to announce the opening of its newest restaurant, MOOR. With a selection of regionally-inspired dishes and a focus on fresh seafood, MOOR’s innovative menu and unique dining experience is certain to leave diners wanting more.

MOOR came to fruition through the desire to serve fresh local food in a lifestyle casual dwelling. The story began organically with the relationships the resort’s chefs have built with local purveyors and fishmongers through their own farming and fishing expeditions.  Chef Paul Player, the resort’s Executive Sous Chef, is deeply involved in the local farming movement, serving integral roles in the following community-based food clubs: Slow Food Orlando, Osceola County Grown and Eat Florida Fresh.

“Serving fresh, local and seasonal ingredients isn’t a fad. It’s simply the way we cook,” says Chef Paul. “We want to share the bounty of our regional fare with the world.”

MOOR is proud to offer guests an ever-changing menu complete with a blackboard of daily specials including line-caught fish, fresh cuts of local beef and signature delighters such as rock shrimp cocktail with tomato chow chow and seasonal risotto.

Specialty Chef Phillip Fisher, who will be overseeing the restaurant’s kitchen, designed the menu in its entirety. Prior to opening MOOR, Fisher was the Executive Chef for Ocean Key Resort and Spa in Key West, Florida. Fisher was born and raised in North Carolina where he spent the bulk of his childhood honing his future career in the kitchen.

”I learned at a young age that fresh food tastes better,” says Chef Fisher. “I am thrilled to be a part of a team that cares about where their food is sourced and how it is ultimately served to our guests.”

MOOR features an open floor plan, 60-foot sailboat, layers of neutral tones, elegant wood flooring and several private dining areas including a chef’s table with interactive capabilities. The bar area extends into an outdoor terrace that overlooks the property’s beautiful 12,000 square foot Coquina Lawn.

The opening of MOOR also marks the launch of Gaylord Palms’ movement to grow and source their own food. The hotel is working with local farmers to incorporate an on-site garden and a boxed produce program for their STARS (Gaylord Palms employees). This project is slated in three phases with the first phase to include a culinary garden and outdoor kitchen, and the second and third phases to include a multitude of gardens, herb sculptures and flowering trees.

“We currently have over 500,000 live plants including an herb garden and fruit trees inside of our glass-enclosed atrium,” says Johann Krieger, General Manager of Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. “It just makes sense for us to expand our home-grown resources to support our restaurants.”
MOOR is in the Key West Atrium at Gaylord Palms Resort located at 6000 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. For more information on MOOR, please visit www.facebook.com/DINEMOOR, www.GaylordPalms.com or call the restaurant directly at 407-586-1101.

A new "twist" coming this summer to SeaWorld Orlando

In a heads-up from SeaWorld Orlando, I learned there's a fun new "twist" on one of the all-time greatest theme park snack foods coming to the park this summer.

A brand-new restaurant, currently under development, will feature dozens of sweet and savory pretzel combinations and craft beer.

More mouthwatering details are promised soon!

Friday, May 22, 2015

McAlister's Deli to make an Orlando comeback

McAlister’s Deli, a leading fast casual chain, announced today it has signed three development agreements with new and existing franchisees to open restaurants in Southern Georgia and North, Central and Southwest Florida.

Existing franchisee DMAC 81, LLC, based in Summerville, S.C., plan to open several new restaurants between southern Georgia and North Florida. The franchise group currently operates several McAlister’s locations across South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. McAlister’s also signed development agreements with two new franchise groups to open restaurants on the west coast of Florida between Naples and Sarasota, as well as in Orlando.

“With these three groups, we have the opportunity to bring McAlister’s to untouched markets in Florida like Sarasota, Naples and Orlando, as well as expanding into southern Georgia,” said Jeff Sturgis, McAlister’s Vice President of Franchise Development. “We couldn’t be happier to continue our development in the south with three stellar franchisee groups.”

New franchisees Christina Berry, Mark Graff and Jeff Paulsen bring to McAlister’s their extensive experience in multi-unit restaurant management with Steak n Shake, as well as a background in commercial and residential property development. Their franchise group, Good Eats Florida, is targeting development in the Orlando market in communities such as Clermont, Celebration, Winter Garden, MetroWest, Dr. Phillips, Lake Nona and Kissimmee.

“We are very excited to bring the McAlister’s award-winning, fast casual dining concept to Orlando,” said Berry, co-owner of Good Eats. “We are confident the diverse menu, comfortable dining environment and genuine hospitality that is so strongly associated with the McAlister’s brand will resonate with Orlando’s fast-growing population.”

About McAlister’s

Founded in 1989, McAlister’s Deli is a fast casual restaurant chain known for its sandwiches, spuds, soups, salads, desserts and McAlister’s Famous Sweet Tea. In addition to dine-in and take-out service, McAlister’s also offers catering with a selection of sandwich trays, box lunches, desserts, a hot spud bar and more. With numerous industry accolades, the McAlister’s brand has 337 restaurants in 24 states. The company is headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga. For more information, visit www.mcalistersdeli.com.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chicken Salad Chick coming to Ormond Beach

I've been waiting for this brand to stake a claim in Central Florida. Looks like they've chosen Volusia County to enter the market, according to a press release:

Chicken Salad Chick, one of Nation’s Restaurant News 2015 Breakout Brands, announced today the location of their newest franchise in Ormond Beach. The restaurant, set to open this fall, will be located at 75 North Nova Road, Ormond Beach, FL 32174.

Owners Buck and Brooklyn Harris are thrilled to open their first of three locations in the Volusia County, Lake Mary and Altamonte Springs areas. “Ormond Beach is a beautiful community that supports local business and where businesses support the community,” said Buck. “It is a great place to live and definitely the perfect town for Chicken Salad Chick.”

Born In Alabama -- The Chicken Salad Chick concept was established in Auburn, AL in 2008 in the kitchen of founder, Stacy Brown. Stacy quickly learned that selling a homemade recipe from her kitchen is against the law, and after being shut down by the health department, she decided to solicit the business expertise of her future husband and fellow founder, Kevin Brown. Together, they opened a small takeout restaurant which quickly grew to enormous demand and additional locations. Chicken Salad Chick has sold 131 franchises to be developed across the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, and has plans to expand nationally in the coming years.

“We’re so excited for new growth in Florida and another location by the beach,” said founder Kevin Brown. “The Harris family brings a wealth of restaurant knowledge and are a perfect fit for our growing brand.”

About Chicken Salad Chick

Chicken Salad Chick puts an edgy twist on a southern classic, offering guests a “custom-fit” chicken salad experience, with 15 original flavors to choose from, as well as gourmet soups, flavorful side salads and freshly-baked desserts. They were recently named as the top chicken salad in the country to try in the March/April issue of Cooking with Paula Deen, as well as one of QSR’s “Ones to Watch”. There are currently 33 Chicken Salad Chick locations open throughout the Southeast. Corporate offices are located at 724 North Dean Road in Auburn, Alabama. See www.chickensaladchick.com for additional information.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Can't wait for the PDQ opening? Here's a preview with a construction walkthrough

PDQ, a Tampa-based chain specializing in hand-battered chicken tenders, made-to-order sandwiches, daily cut fries, hand-spun milkshakes and fresh salads is opening its first Central Florida location June 7th, in Sanford.

I've heard really good things about PDQ and am looking forward to the opening. I got a special preview with a construction walk-through this week and now I can't wait to try the food! 

The dining room is very spacious with two stories of windows flooding the space with light. Modern fixtures, wood flooring and brick accent walls lend a contemporary, yet traditional look to the dining room. There's a great view from the front counter of the open, state-of-the-art kitchen. It seems there's nothing to hide at PDQ.

I particularly liked the way PDQ handles the drive through experience. You don't order at a board via speaker; an actual human being comes to the window to take your order. You know this will increase order accuracy and avoid a lot of confusion. And as your drive around to the pickup window, take a look through the large windows into the open kitchen where you'll see employees washing and cutting fresh potatoes for the fries. That's a nice touch.

June 7th, please hurry up and get here. I've got chicken tender fever. Very special thanks to Manager Kim Tay for her hospitality.

1610 Rinehart Road
Sanford, FL 32771


PDQ Sanford on Urbanspoon