Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton to close after 16 years, Jam-Eng Jamaican-English resto opens downtown, plus more in our weekly food news roundup

Char-grilled brisket burger from 4 Rivers Smokehouse
Char-grilled brisket burger from 4 Rivers Smokehouse Photo via 4 Rivers Smokehouse

OPENINGS: Another day, another food hall announcement. Kevin O'Donnell, co-owner of the Local Butcher and Market and The Porch in Winter Park, will open a 4,000-square-foot food hall and biergarten concept at the redeveloped Fort Gatlin Shopping Center this November. The space will see Da Kine Poke, Swine & Sons, the Local Butcher and Market, and Gatlin Hall Brewing. A TBD pizza concept will also move in ... Lunch eatery Bite ("Be Inspired to Eat") has opened in the old Your Pie space at the SkyHouse condo downtown. They serve made-to-order rice and salad bowls, wood-fired flatbreads, and sandwiches served on telera rolls Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ... Jam-Eng, a "jazzy island restaurant" serving both Jamaican and English fare, has opened at 65 N. Orange Ave. ... The Steer, a "pioneer steakhouse," will open in the former Bauern-Stube building on South Orange Avenue in Pine Castle ... Jaber, a chain out of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will open in the old Peppy's Bistro space in College Park. The menu features Mediterranean fare with Brazilian twists. Judging from my experience a few years back at their I-Drive location, I wouldn't get overly excited just yet ... A new conveyor-belt hotpot joint called Juicy Pot will open in West Side Crossing at 5206 W. Colonial Drive ... Also on West Colonial Drive, Wang Sports BBQ, specializing in meats on a stick, has opened ... Look for specialty burger and milkshake joint Burger Barn to celebrate its grand opening May 18 on I-Drive near Westwood Boulevard ... Lucky's Market will open in the old Sports Authority space on East Colonial Drive next month ... Outpost Neighborhood Kitchen will open in the Maitland City Centre later this fall or early winter. The College Park location will remain open until their lease expires in October ... Eliot Hillis of Orlando Meats has soft-opened his pizza concept called Recess inside Orange County Brewers. Recess takes the place of Pizza Bruno, which vacated the space April 30.

CLOSINGS: Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton will close Sept. 1 after 16 years, though chef Norman Van Aken and his partners say they will relocate the restaurant somewhere in the Orlando area ... Bongos, Gloria Estefan's longstanding Disney restaurant, will close in August, but look for her Estefan Kitchen to open this fall in the Margaritaville Resort.

NEWS: Shula's Steak House at the Swan & Dolphin Resort has a new look, new branding and new menu: They're going full veg. Just kidding! You'll still find the steakhouse classics ... Denny's has also undergone a brand revitalization. They're now a place "where the modern American family can come together and connect over a delicious meal" ... The char-grilled brisket burger makes a return to all 4 Rivers Smokehouses this month. It'll be available through June 1.

EVENTS: Ace Cafe's second anniversary bash goes Saturday, May 18, at 7 p.m. with live music, drink specials and swag giveaways. Purchase a $10 VIP pass for priority patio seating ... Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen and the Ravenous Pig collaborate on a five-course dinner May 22 at 6:30 p.m. featuring lamb hearts, green curry mussels, whole smoked duck and more. Cost is $65 ... Cress Restaurant stages an eco-friendly Zero Waste Feast May 31. Cost for the multicourse dinner is $60.


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