First Look Artist Rendering of Mango’s Tropical Cafe Orlando

Last summer, we told you that Mango’s Tropical Cafe Orlando would be opening on International Drive. This week, we have a first glimpse at the interior, courtesy of an artist rendering provided by Mango’s COO Joshua Wallack.

Mango's Tropical Cafe Orlando

The rendering is of the main bar areas and show floor where Mango’s dancers will perform for guests in the evening. If it’s anything like the original Mango’s Tropical Cafe in South Beach Miami, they’ll even be dancing on top of the bars.

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Disney’s Be My Guest Releases Menu Details

One of the most exciting features of the expansion happening at the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland area is the addition of the Be My Guest restaurant.

This new eatery is themed after Beauty & the Beast and will feature a French-themed menu.

Lunch will be of the quick service type, offering sandwiches and salads. One big difference with this restaurant is that the food will be delivered to your table on china, instead of being served over a counter in disposable packaging.

Dinner will be more formal and is also table service. Appetizers include a charcuterie plate, mussels steamed in white wine, soup and a salad with champagne vinaigrette. Entrees will include pan-seared salmon in leek fondue, grilled strip steak with french fries, sautéed shrimp and scallops with veggies in puff pastry with creamy lobster sauce, and an oven-baked ratatouille.

There will also be a separate children’s menu.

Disney says they plan to have the restaurant open in time for the holidays this year.

[Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World]

The Club at NBA City to Open at Amway Center

In the last 19 months since the Amway Center has been open downtown, there has been an unused corner of the property that was originally set aside as restaurant space.

It’s taken this long to find a willing investor, but according to sources, the space is expected to be taken over by The Club at NBA City. The venture will be a partnership between the NBA City restaurant venue at Universal CityWalk and the former manager of the exclusive Montecristo Club at the old Orlando city arena.

A third of the size of the CityWalk venue, The Club at NBA City will be a little over 4,000-sq-ft., not including use of the outdoor plaza for a small patio seating area.

Half will be open to the public with both internal and external entrances, so patrons will not need an event ticket to get inside. The menu offerings are expected to be different and slightly more upscale than the barfood menu offered by the CityWalk venue.

The other half will be a private members-only section, like the old Montecristo Club, that will be available for event rentals.

Initially, The Club at NBA City will only be open for lunch and dinner on event days at the Amway Center. The venue is expected to be open by October 2012.

Dave & Buster’s to Build Orlando Location on I-Drive

If you’ve ever taken your kids to a Chuck E. Cheese and thought, “I wish they had one of these for adults,” then you’ll want to know about what is soon to be the newest addition to International Drive.

Dave & Buster’s combines a restaurant, a bar, and an area with the latest interactive and video games. The whole idea is a total night out. Grab a meal, have a few drinks and play a few games with your friends.

The dining/entertainment complex will be taking over the former site of Race Rock, so it will have a great location on I-Drive. The Dallas-based company plans to demolish the existing building and construct a new one in its place.

Dave & Buster’s is planning on a summer 2011 opening. It will be the company’s  first Orlando location, and its first new Florida location in ten years. There are also locations in Jacksonville and Miami.

[Image courtesy Dave & Busters]

Johnson’s Diner Has Closed

One of Orlando’s long-running soul food restaurants has closed its doors for good.

Johnson’s Diner opened several decades ago in a tiny building that could only fit ten tables in the Parramore neighborhood. In recent years, it had moved to a bigger spot near the new Amway Arena, but that also brought about bigger bills.

According to an interview in the Orlando Sentinel, co-owner Clarence Taylor said even though the diner was popular with celebrities, politicians and sports stars, they were about $60,000 behind in rent. He attributes this to a mixture of the road construction for the new arena (which blocked access to the restaurant) and the bad economy.

I never had a chance to eat there, but I do know it was often featured on Food Network shows and raved about.

Hopefully Taylor and his family will be able to regroup and reopen elsewhere at a later date.

Did you ever eat at Johnson’s Diner? If so, what did you think of the restaurant?

Funky Monkey Expands at Pointe Orlando

Opening up a second location at Pointe Orlando has turned out to be a good thing for the Funky Monkey Wine Company. It’s proven to be so popular that they’re already expanding.

They’re adding a new dining room with 75 more seats, a sushi lounge, a sake bar and doubling the size of the kitchen.

Besides the Pointe Orlando location, Funky Monkey has their original location at 912 N. Mills Ave. Both are open at 4:30pm Monday through Friday, and at 5pm on Saturday and Sundays.

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