The Joint will cure Sanford’s Super Bowl munchies, the Susuru empire expands again, and Winter Park gets a new whiskey distillery

Fresh local food news

Forward/Slash, a distillery making premium blended whiskey, will open in Winter Park.
Forward/Slash, a distillery making premium blended whiskey, will open in Winter Park. photo courtesy Forward/Slash on Instagram


Susuru, the slick Showa-era izakaya on Palm Parkway, will expand into the space next door with a concept called Mao Mao. Owner Lewis Lin, who opened 2022 Top Table Juju last August, says Mao Mao will be similar in style to Mari in Hell's Kitchen and offer Korean hand rolls with "fun" Japanese toppings and high-quality fish from its 12-seat bar. Look for Mao Mao to open in late summer ... The Joint, a weed-themed concept by two Sanford institutions — Hollerbach's German Restaurant and the West End Trading Co. — will cure munchies on Super Bowl weekend at 202 S. Sanford Ave. Look for a menu caked up with wings, pork and burger sliders, loaded hot dogs and tater tots ... Pigzza, the barbecue-pizza mashup by Pig Floyd's Thomas Ward, is poised to open in early spring at 1050 N. Mills Ave. The 70-seat restaurant will be a full-service, sit-down operation with full liquor program, 40-seat outdoor patio and a bar in front of the kitchen that could later be turned into a chef's table. And, yes, those way-cool garage doors will open ... Forward/Slash, a high-end distillery making premium blended whiskey, will open at 650 S. Capen Ave. in Winter Park. The project, by Mike Buffa (Orlando Whiskey Society, Buffa Bittering Company) and Tim Bradstreet (Rusty Spoon, Marriott International, Gaylord Hotels), will feature a tasting room and full cocktail bar and offer 90-minute, hands-on whiskey tasting experiences. Look for Forward/Slash to open this spring.


Eliot Hillis and Seth Parker, the pair behind Red Panda Noodle, are staging the Love Hurts Spicy Eating Competition Tuesday, Feb. 14, during Tasty Takeover on East Robinson Street ... More Lewis Lin news: The chef will launch Nigiri-Kase Wednesday nights at the Kappo Bar inside Juju in Colonialtown. The meal will consist of 12 courses comprising two or three cold tastings, seven nigiri courses spotlighting dry-aged seasonal fish, soup, a rice dish and dessert for $100. Reservations are open for Feb. 15 and 22 on Resy ... Bruno Zacchini of Pizza Bruno will host a "Fun With Fermentation" class Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Edible Education Experience in College Park. Cost is $70 ... AJ Haines, chef of Hen & Hog in Winter Park, is recovering from emergency surgery. The restaurant is already back after a brief closure, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with medical costs at


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