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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Norman Van Aken's flagship restaurant is leaving the Ritz-Carlton ... for Dr. Phillips

Posted By on Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 5:48 PM

  • Dellagio Orlando
Norman Van Aken's eponymous restaurant inside the gilded halls of the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes has been a fixture in the city's fine dining scene for the better part of 16 years but, on Aug. 31, the James Beard Award-nominated restaurant will serve its final meal.

That is, until Norman's moves into its new home in Dr. Phillips.

Yep, Norman's will take over a colossal space in the Dellagio retail complex that most recently housed Bravo! Cucina Italiana, an Italian restaurant of a thoroughly middling order.

Bravo's once-garish interior will be given a proper reno and remodel befitting the Norman's brand, and the menu will also get a bit of a refresh.

Van Aken and Norman's executive chef Andres Mendoza will use the buildout time to develop many new dishes for the new Norman's — "snacks and tapas and share-friendly items that the modern diner likes," Van Aken says.
click to enlarge Managing partner Thomas Wood (L) announces the new home of Norman's at last Saturday's Movin' On Out Party as Norman Van Aken (R) looks on. - EDWARD DUARTE
  • Edward Duarte
  • Managing partner Thomas Wood (L) announces the new home of Norman's at last Saturday's Movin' On Out Party as Norman Van Aken (R) looks on.
"We'll also have much more bar space, which underscores the need for dishes of that nature."

You'll recall that Norman's was forced to vacate after the new owners of the Grande Lakes Resort — Trinity Real Estate Investments and Elliott Management Corporation — opted to end the partnership.

Van Aken, along with Norman's managing partner Thomas Wood, had no choice but to search for a new location, and the 7,500-square-foot space, which has sat empty for 10 months, seemed like a right fit.

And Orlando's gourmands couldn't be happier.

Norman's was named a James Beard Award semifinalist for "Best Restaurant in America" last year — the only Orlando restaurant to ever receive the honor.

Look for the new Norman's to commence serving in early 2020.

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