At Luke's Kitchen and Lombardi's Seafood, the Great American Takeout was a roaring success

The Dining-In Diaries

Short rib pot roast from Luke's
Short rib pot roast from Luke's Photo courtesy Lukes Bar and Kitchen / Instagram

The Great American Takeout, a day when folks around the country were encouraged to order takeout, was a roaring success. Literally.

At Luke's Kitchen in Maitland, the line of cars in front of me waiting for their curbside orders was 10 deep. I really don't think the restaurant expected such an overwhelming turnout which, of course, was awesome. Although by the time I got home with the short rib pot roast, it required a quick reheat.

No worries; it gave the cab franc from the Inquisitor (picked up at a 50 percent discount from Luke's) some time to breathe. And the wine paired perfectly with the succulent braised meat served with mashed potatoes, pearl onions and horseradish. That was March 24.

A week later, on March 31, the Great American Takeout 2 took place and I had a hankering for some blackened grouper. So off to Lombardi's Seafood Cafe I went for a fish basket served with hush puppies, slaw and fries.

They don't offer curbside pickup here, which necessitated my going inside ­– masked, gloved, fountain penned and maintaining six feet of separation – to get my food. I made it home in seven minutes and the fish, still hot and perfectly cooked, was precisely what I craved. BTW: the cafe closes at 5:30 p.m., marking the first time in years I finished dinner before 6 p.m. The coronavirus has made me such a geezer.

(Luke's Bar & Kitchen, 640 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-674-2400,; Lombardi's Seafood, 1888 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-3474,

— This story appears in the April 8, 2020, print edition of Orlando Weekly. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider supporting this free publication with a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

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