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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Mamak Asian Street Food opening second Orlando location near UCF

Posted By on Tue, Sep 8, 2020 at 10:26 AM

click to enlarge Mamak's new location in at 3402 Technological Ave., in the University Shoppes - PHOTO COURTESY MAMAK ASIAN STREET FOOD
  • Photo courtesy Mamak Asian Street Food
  • Mamak's new location in at 3402 Technological Ave., in the University Shoppes
Mamak Asian Street Food is opening a second location in East Orlando in October, six years after the family-owned date-night staple launched its first spot in the Mills 50 neighborhood.

Mamak specializes in Southeast Asian street food, with influences from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, along with a full bar of cocktails and Asian beers and liquors.

When their first location opened, our food critic said the restaurant brings "a semblance of the intoxicating pulse felt on Kuala Lumpur's dark, alluring and bustling boulevards indoors." A 2016 Orlando Weekly visit labeled Mamak's roti canai a "nearly a perfect dish."

In a delicious twist of fate, the new location will occupy the 3,300 square feet once held by corporate behemoth Pei Wei, at 3402 Technological Ave., in the University Shoppes alongside nearby favorites World of Beer and Lazy Moon. It will seat 80 people.

The second Mamak bills itself as the only Southeast Asian concept to open in East Orlando, even as it does so against the extraordinary challenges of a pandemic. Co-founder Alex Lo says he is excited to adapt and grow, and especially to be close to UCF and surrounding businesses.
"After living in New York and Cincinnati, we recognized the lack of Malaysian cuisine in Orlando, and my Mom, Dad and I came together to open up the first Mamak," said Lo in a statement. "With the success of the original Mamak that opened in 2014, we recognized the demand for a second location but needed the extra guidance to facilitate it."

That guidance comes in the form of new managing partner, Jurel Serrana, a seasoned restaurant pro who has experience with both expansion and quick-service dining, after 18 years of experience at Bento Group.

Serrana will oversee the new location, which will take a fast-casual dining approach – in the form of a pared-down menu of favorites. The space has a prominent takeout area for pickup and delivery orders, and will eventually open patio seating and text-to-order service.

"We've always been a family-owned and operated business, so partnering with Jurel, who has had a lot of experience in growing restaurant concepts, has made the opening process a lot easier," said Lo.

Jurel is planning all entrees to cost $14 or less, to be served with apps, house-brewed tea, Asian beers, sake and craft cocktails.

To be fair, that "lack" of Malaysian food doesn't acknowledge the other, older Mills 50 favorite, Hawkers Asian Street Faire, which opened in 2011.

Still, Lo and Serrana sense opportunity and room for growth amid the current unpredictable times.

"We've watched the popularity of Asian street food grow over the years, and saw a great opportunity in Mamak," Lo said. "Opening a restaurant during a pandemic is tricky, but we've adjusted to cater to the overwhelming demand for quick, off-premises options without compromising quality or service."

Serrana acknowledges community support, "a lot of perseverance, and a little luck," are why they hope to open even more locations in Orlando and across Florida.
click to enlarge Mamak's new location in at 3402 Technological Ave., in the University Shoppes - PHOTO COURTESY MAMAK ASIAN STREET FOOD
  • Photo courtesy Mamak Asian Street Food
  • Mamak's new location in at 3402 Technological Ave., in the University Shoppes
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