Dine With the Departed, Corks for a Cause, Highball & Harvest and more 

Tip Jar: local food news

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Colorado-based Noodles & Co. has opened their first Florida location in Lake Buena Vista. The fast-casual chain offers rice noodles, egg noodles, udon and various pastas, but flatbreads, soups and sandwiches also find their way onto the menu. Look for a second location later this year in Dr. Phillips.

Changes are coming to the Grande Lakes Resort: The Vineyard Grill at the Ritz-Carlton closes in May to undergo renovations before opening as Highball & Harvest, a farm-to-table concept serving craft cocktails and a Southern-inspired menu. Over at the JW Marriott, the Whisper Creek Kitchen is designed to take full advantage of the property’s Whisper Creek Farm, and will also feature craft beer brewed in-house. The restaurants open later this summer.

Corks for a Cause, the spring soiree for the Junior League of Greater Orlando, is March 15 at Quantum Leap Winery. In addition to wine, there’ll be beer provided by Cigar City and hors d’oeuvres supplied by local restaurants, plus live music, raffles and auctions. Tickets are $75 per person or $125 per couple; proceeds go to help fight childhood hunger. Visit for more info.

If you’re a gourmand with morbid tendencies, how does dinner with the dead sound? The Osceola County Historical Society’s Dine with the Departed stages an “elegant dinner” at Kissimmee’s Rose Hill Cemetery 6 p.m. Saturday, March 8. Live (let’s hope) entertainment, spirits (potable) and a lantern tour of the gravesite are included with your $50 ticket. Visit for more.


Regional Grill and Bayou on Curry Ford Road has closed … Ivanhoe Row’s Yalaha Bakery has split from the Yalaha folks and changed its name to German Backhaus, but will still sell German breads, cakes and pastries … Look for BurgerFi to open near the Fresh Market in Altamonte Springs in April … Olive Garden has revamped their menu in an effort to draw lunchtime diners and curb declining sales … Cooper’s Hawk Winery opens next month in the Waterford Lakes Town Center … Hard to believe it lasted this long, but you can finally say so long to Maitland’s SoNapa Grille and hello again to Blackfin. The restaurant opens this spring.

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