The Ritz-Carlton Orlando announced that Norman's, the resort's flagship restaurant, would close this summer.
"Norman’s was and will remain an incredible chapter in the story of our business," read a statement released by the resort, "and we are proud of what the team has accomplished since our relationship began in 2003."
That team, comprised of chef Norman Van Aken, executive chef Andres Mendoza, general manager Yusuf Yildiz, event manager Laura Fletcher and sommelier Juan Valencia, garnered Norman's a 2019 James Beard Foundation Award nomination for Outstanding Restaurant, a first for any Orlando-area establishment.
Grande Lakes Orlando, which includes the Ritz-Carlton and the J.W. Marriott next door, was purchased last December by New York-based Elliott Management Corporation and Trinity Real Estate Investments of Fort Worth, Texas, which seems to have factored into the decision to end the partnership, though a representative of the resort said otherwise.
"The decision wasn't because of the ownership change. Grande Lakes Orlando has been undergoing renovations for over two years now and this is the next phase of our transformation as we aim to continue enhancing our facilities and dining experiences," said the rep via email.
Needless to say, the new restaurant (rumor is it'll be a steakhouse) will have some mighty big shoes to fill.
Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton will close Sept. 1.
Van Aken, who also runs Three in Miami's Wynwood District, is partner and executive chef at Ad Lib in Coral Gables, and recently opened K'West and Beach Pie inside the Time Out Market in South Beach, told me that he and his partners will relocate Norman's in Orlando and will do so in the "best location."
"We have 16 years of success and we're going for 20 more!"
That's certainly great to hear.
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