Welcome to Bite 2017 

After years of hard work by local chefs, restaurateurs, publicists and writers, Orlando is finally that vaunted thing: a food city. The accolades have poured in from the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Travel and Leisure, New York magazine, Eater, Zagat and countless blogs and websites.

So now what?

Now that everyone's looking at us, it's time to do a few things. First, give ourselves a pat on the back – and then give props to those who have gotten us here, people like Kevin Fonzo, recipient of our very first BITE Award. Check out Orlando's first-rate local doughnuts, kombucha and taco variations. Commit to keeping up with the national trends – like upscale dining at the arena and amenity-heavy grocerants.

Last, think about what Orlando means to you – what do you taste when you think of your favorite local dish? We asked some local tastemakers what Orlando's signature dish ought to be, and we interviewed the principals of 15 restaurants setting the pace in Orlando right now to find out: Why are you here? Why do you stay? The answers are endless, but the love is universal. They, and we, are here to stay.

—Jessica Bryce Young, editor in chief

WRITERS: Faiyaz Kara, Holly V. Kapherr
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Robert Bartlett, Holly Whelden Carpenter
DESIGNER: Chris Tobar Rodriguez

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