Haggis at Epcot, fried chicken in Winter Park, beer versus whiskey, and more

Tip Jar: local food news

Rejoice, dear readers – haggis has found its way onto Scotland’s menu at this year’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival (Sept. 27-Nov. 11). OK, it’s a vegetarian haggis (which seems oxymoronic), so if you want a taste of the real deal, best bring your own sheep stomach, heart, liver and lungs.

4 Rivers Smokehouse owner John Rivers has signed a lease to take over the Morse Boulevard spot formerly home to Kata (Thai and sushi) and PR’s Big Pig (barbecue), where Rivers will open the Coop – a sanctum for fried chicken and other comfort-food staples.

The old railroad depot at Church Street Station will gain new steam when Gulf Coast entrepreneur Mark Ferguson opens Ferg’s Depot later this fall. The 15,000-square-foot space will house a taproom, step-up bar, oyster/raw bar and an upscale restaurant.

More Church Street happenings: Look for the Pittsburgh-Steelers-themed Church Street Tavern in the former Dessert Lady space; also, Graffiti Junktion owner Greg Peters opens Red, An American Café this fall in the space recently vacated by Five Guys.

Cask & Larder hosts a Beer v. Whiskey Showdown Dinner Monday, Aug. 19. For $65, guests can nibble on hors d’oeuvres, then dive into a four-course meal with both beer and whiskey pairings. Tasting notes will be offered to diners, and a pre-meal smack-talk session is sure to get things heated between the two camps. Call 321-280-4200 for reservations.


The 19th annual Harvest Grape Stomp takes place Aug. 17-18 at Lakeridge Winery … Sankalp, the Taste of India has opened in the former Saffran space on Sand Lake Road and OBT … Smiling Bison is now open for business in the former Redlight Redlight space on Bennett Road (can’t wait to try their poutine) … Wildside BBQ in College Park is now the aviation-themed Hangar Bar & GrilleFirst Watch and Brass Tap have been announced as tenants at Mills Park … Hooters in Pointe Orlando will close in December, but fret not – you can still get your jiggly-wigglies at Twin Peaks, just down the road.

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