5 things you probably didn't know about Mango's Orlando

click to enlarge 5 things you probably didn't know about Mango's Orlando
Photos by Ken Storey
I-Drive’s newest late night entertainment recently opened, but Mango’s is much more than a restaurant with a dinner show. Here are some of the lesser known things about Mango’s.

Mango’s has its own vodka, Pitbull loves it 

In partnership with Mango’s fan Pitbull, the restaurant has its own vodka. Voli Vodkas, the privately held vodka company that Pitbull is a shareholder and ambassador for, partnered with Mango’s to unveil a special Mango’s branded mango and coconut flavored vodka. The vodka is used in a number of Mango’s drinks and bottles are available for purchase at both locations. The vodka was made in part to celebrate Mango’s huge new Orlando location.

The original Mango’s started as a personal care residence

What we now know as Mango’s started out at the Eastern Sun Personal Care Residence. This new age style retirement home opened in 1978. For the next 12 years artists, musicians and healers called the place home. Special events at the home became a popular Miami Beach spot. In 1990, the Eastern Sun began its transformation into the mixed-use development that now includes Mango’s Tropical Café. Mango’s opened in 1991 with a bit more laid back atmosphere, but just still as Caribbean as is now. Over the years global tropical influences have played a role in the ever changing, non-stop show that is now Mango’s. Those original roots of Eastern Sun can still be seen in the bold artistic flare seen throughout Mango’s.

They kept the history from the former tenant

Before Mango’s Orlando was here the building housed T.G.I. Friday’s Front Row. The massive sports bar opened in the mid-90s to fanfare not seen on I-Drive since, well, since Mango’s. As part of the huge opening of Front Row a number of celebrities, including Kathy Ireland, had their handprints put into the concrete out front. During the remodel the handprints were preserved and are now back on display near the entrance of Mango’s. The small bit of concrete helps unite the history of the building in a district that rarely sees its history celebrated.

There’s a café out front with live music

While most of the focus has been on the live shows in the evenings Mango’s Orlando does have another option during the day. A sidewalk café that opens to International Drive opens for lunch each day. Live steel drum music is planned to help take this otherwise typical sidewalk café and transform it into an Island oasis. The menu includes many of the Mango’s specials including their famous tacos and many of their house designed drinks.

Mango’s is only one part of the equation for the Orlando location

By now most locals know that Mango’s is part of a larger complex that includes the recently approved Skyplex across Sand Lake Road but there’s a lot of other aspects to this transformation by Wallack Holdings. The next major aspect of the development will be a new parking structure for Mango’s known as the Hollywood Plaza. It will include retail space along I-Drive and a signature, glass enclosed restaurant on the roof of the garage. The new restaurant will offer views of the Orlando Eye, the new Starflyer and eventually Skyplex. Mango’s itself has a rooftop bar that will open in the coming weeks and a small retail space in the same building. All of this is just the beginning as we wait for the massive Skyplex mixed use development to open across the street. 
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