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Contact Fannie Hillman today and experience the support of Winter Parkâ€™s largest independent real estate office.
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We improve the lives of the people we serve. Voted Âľ0Sab@SOZ3abObS/US\QgÂś 2013 & 2014 WP Chamber of Commerce & WP/Maitland Observer
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Voted Âľ=`ZO\R]Â¸a0Sab@SOZ3abObS=TÂżQSÂś 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 Orlando Business Journal
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FEATURES 42 | WHISTLE IN THE DISTANCE In Winter Park, the blast of the horns, the squeal of the brakes and the roar of the engines are the sounds of our lives. By Patricia Schone
48 | BOHO CHIC Cool, contemporary and casually quirky looks are ideal for a steamy Winter Park summer. By Marianne Ilunga, photographs by Rafael Tongol, hair and makeup by Elsie Knab
departments ABOUT THE COVER 8 | A LOVER’s QUESTION Bill Farnsworth’s painting tells a sweet story.
INSTITUTIONS 12 | LIBRARY FOR A NEW CENTURY Winter Park has always been a bookish sort of place. Now, with a new director in place, the town’s intellectual epicenter is poised to grow, change and remain relevant. By Jay Boyar, photographs by Rafael Tongol
HEALTH 28 | BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT Winter Park Health Assessment’s new program reveals who you are and what you’re made of, inside and out. For a Winter Park Magazine reporter, it also yielded an totally unexpected diagnosis. By Denise Bates Enos, photographs by Rafael Tongol
THE DESIGN TOURIST 34 | AN EARTHLY OASIS The 2014 New Southern Home is decidedly contemporary. But it’s also warm, welcoming, whimsical and exudes an irresistible, Zen-like charm. By Karen LeBlanc
DINING 54 | SICILY IN A STRIP MALL In a setting that’s curiously both humble and haute, Chef Francesco Aiello proves that a quality neighborhood pizzeria can also be a delightful destination restaurant. By Rona Gindin, photographs by Rafael Tongol
IN EVERY ISSUE 6 | FIRST WORD 22 | PERSONALITY 24 | AVENUE INSIDER 60 | DINING LISTINGS 65 | EVENTS 72 | BACK PAGE
W I N T E R PA RK M AG AZI N E | SUMM ER 2014
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WEST SIDE STORIES BY RANDY NOLES
here were two things I learned right away when my family moved to Winter Park in 1967. You didn’t read the comic books at Irvine’s Drug Store without paying for them and you didn’t go to Hannibal Square. Either activity was deemed dangerous, although going to Hannibal Square was more likely to result in actual physical harm. What I didn’t know then, but learned much later, is that Hannibal Square — the heart of the city’s traditionally African-American west side — hadn’t always been such a rough place. It had once been a vibrant, lively district where neighbors did business with neighbors. A place where people of color who weren’t welcome elsewhere had an opportunity to build successful lives. Whenever I go to the west side, I think about those days in late 1960s, when Hannibal Square consisted of run-down rooming houses, seedy convenience stores and the infamous Big C bar, which was known for brawls and knifings. If you had told me in 1967 — or even in 1987 — that Hannibal Square would one day be home to fine-dining restaurants and eclectic boutiques I wouldn’t have believed it. That this transformation has occurred is largely through the efforts of one man, Dan Bellows, a rough-and-tumble developer who began buying up west side property in the 1990s. Around the same time, the city formed a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the geographic area of which encompasses the west side. That’s when the area began to change, first with a massive remake of Hannibal Square and now with smaller residential projects at its periphery. Block by block, say preservationists and many west side residents, the character of the community is changing, its proud history vanishing. At this writing, there’s a furor over a proposal to increase the allowed density in a one-block area between Denning and Capen avenues. The change would allow two-story townhomes to be built near a Canton Avenue parking garage that Bellows built in 2007. If this asyet unnamed project is approved, the units will be priced at $600,000-plus. And there’ll be no shortage of eager buyers.
Mark me down as one who loves the “new” Hannibal Square, and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, which was opened in 2007 and pays homage to the district’s history with photographic displays, oral histories and special programs. Nobody is going to convince me that Bellows, who took a risk that no other developer was willing to take, has done a bad thing here. Yes, I know his public-relations skills are lacking. But let’s give the man his due. All that said, as a history buff, I understand the concern about gentrification. Complicating matters for the west side is the fact that there are few significant historic buildings left to rally around. In 2001, GAI Consultants identified 70 west side homes as historic resources. About a third of them have since been demolished. I spoke to Rollins College history professor Julian Chambliss, who specializes in urban history and city planning and has been active with the Hannibal Square Community Land Trust, which facilitates construction of affordable housing within the CRA. Chambliss describes the historic value of the west side as “familial and communal.” That is, as far back as the 1880s, the west side was known as a place where African-Americans could achieve success despite discrimination outside its boundaries or across the tracks. Generations of families have been comforted by this sense of pride and place. And many remain fiercely protective of it. No, I don’t have the answer. I support redevelopment, but I don’t know how to preserve the area’s historic significance while accommodating seemingly irresistible market forces. I do know that block-by-block dust-ups only seem to engender more mistrust. Yes, I realize that the city has a comprehensive plan that recognizes the goal of preserving the single-family residential character of the west side. But let’s face it; we need to talk about this. How about a big-picture visioning session? Maybe no grand solution will emerge, but at least we’ll have talked it out in a constructive setting. The discussion, like the west side, is worth the effort.
Randy Noles EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Laura Bluhm ART DIRECTOR Lorna Osborn SENIOR ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kathy Byrd ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Clyde Moore PARK AVENUE EDITOR Jay Boyar, Rona Gindin, Marianne Ilunga, Karen LeBlanc, Patricia Schoene, Jim DeSimone CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rafael Tongol CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Leah Kircher EDITORIAL INTERN Rick Walsh, Jim DeSimone FOUNDING PARTNERS
GULFSHORE MEDIA Daniel Denton PRESIDENT Randy Noles CONSULTING PUBLISHER Pam Flanagan GENERAL MANAGER Pam Daniel EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Norma Machado PRODUCTION MANAGER
FLORIDA HOME MEDIA’S FAMILY OF PUBLICATIONS GUILT-FREE TRAVEL EATS ■ FROM THE SADDLE OF A CYCLE
Copyright 2014 by Florida Home Media LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gulfshore Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published four times yearly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 Westhall Lane, Suite 128, Maitland, FL 32751
FOR GENERAL INFORMATION, CALL: 407-647-0225 FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION, CALL: KATHY BYRD, 407-399-7111 LORNA OSBORN, 407-310-1002
W I N T E R PARK M AG AZI N E | SUMM ER 2014
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SUSTAINABLE DESIGN SOLUTIONS
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A LOVER’S QUESTION BILL FARNSWORTH’S PAINTING TELLS A SWEET STORY.
t’s probably happened hundreds of times along Park Avenue. After all, what better place to pop the question than at an outdoor table along Winter Park’s romantic boulevard? At least, that’s what artist Bill Farnsworth figured when he created The Proposal, a 42-by-36 oil-on-linen painting that captures a young couple in the midst of a life-altering conversation. What will the woman’s answer be? “My idea with The Proposal was to set it on a street that everyone recognizes,” says the artist, who now lives in Venice. “I always love a little narrative to my paintings. Every painting has a story, even it’s just the late sun kissing a 500year-old cypress tree.” If Farnsworth’s style looks familiar, there’s a
reason. Southern Breeze, his plein air scene of the Lake Maitland shoreline at Kraft Azalea Gardens was chosen as the official poster art for the 2014 Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Born in Norwalk, Conn., Farnsworth is a 1980 graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design. He spent most of his life in New Milford, Conn., painting landscapes and supporting his family as a commercialillustrator before turning his attention exclusively to fine art. Farnsworth is a signature member of the Oil Painters of America, the American Society of Marine Artists and the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society. For information about purchasing The Proposal, contact Farnsworth through his website, billfarnsworth.com.
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HOME PHOTOS ÂŠ EVERETT & SOULE
3URYLGLQJ6XSHULRU4XDOLW\ 7LPHOHVV'HVLJQ Victor Farina is pictured with his father Mario on the cover of Remodeling Magazine, honoring the nationâ€™s 50 most distinguished remodeling companies. Farina & Sons is family owned with a tradition of award-winning renovations, additions and custom homes since 1950. Regardless of size, each project receives Farinaâ€™s trademark attention to detail and teamwork approach.
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The Winter Park Public Library is a peaceful refuge filled with art, books and, increasingly, technology.
LIBRARY FOR A NEW CENTURY Winter Park has always been a bookish sort of place. Now, with a new director in place, the town’s intellectual epicenter is poised to grow, change and remain relevant. By Jay Boyar Photographs by Rafael Tongol
f you’re driving west along Fairbanks Avenue headed toward downtown Winter Park, the first city landmark you’re likely to spot is a somewhat incongruous brick structure with odd, pointy angles and seemingly random windows. Only three stories high, the Winter Park Public Library nevertheless towers above most of its neighbors. And its position — just off a major thoroughfare with a steady stream of cars rushing by — lends it an additional prominence. If you’ve traveled that stretch before, the sight of the library tells you that Park Avenue and Rollins College aren’t far away. But even if you haven’t, the building signals that you’ve crossed an invisible barrier. You’re now entering the heart of Winter Park. In a city where history is highly valued, the library building on New England Avenue, if not the 129-year-old institution itself, is something of a newcomer. Its first two stories went up in 1979; the top floor didn’t settle in until 1995. An even newer newcomer is Shawn Shaffer, a Windy City transplant who has been the library’s CEO and executive director for about a year. She replaced Bob Melanson, who retired in 2012 after 25 years on the job. “When I came down for the interview, the next day I went to the Briar Patch for brunch,” recalls Shaffer, a woman in her fifties with two grandchildren and two degrees in library science. “I sat outdoors and looked at Central Park and watched people walk up and down Park Avenue. I just loved it! It’s such a charming town.” nnn From an early age, Shaffer knew her career would be in books. “I came home from the public library when I was 8 years old and said to my mother, ‘I want to be a librarian,’” she says. “I loved to be at the library because it was just a place that called to me. It felt like home.” She never wavered from her goal except briefly, in college, when she flirted with acting and music. You’d never know that from her reserved, librarian’s demeanor. But there is something faintly theatrical in the way she dresses — an array of pastels set off against pearls and silver flats. And, oh yes, her office contains a photograph of her dancing with singer-songwriter Barry Manilow. “We’ve had a lifelong love affair,” she jokes. Shaffer came to Winter Park from a library director’s job in suburban Chicago’s Elmwood Park. She was “ready for a new challenge” and no longer had strong ties to that area. Not only did Winter Park charm her, but so did the library itself. Still, she wasn’t so impressed that she was content to leave everything as it was.
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Shawn Shaffer, a Windy City transplant who has been the library’s CEO and executive director for about a year, is working to make the facility more user friendly.
407.770.2002 | www.OrlandoAI.com
“We’ve moved things around quite a bit in the last year,” she says. “We took a look at all of the floors and all of our collections and all of the space we had. We talked to patrons and looked at how they use the library. Sometimes how librarians want you to use the library and how you actually use the library are two different things.” Mary Gail Coffee, the library’s community relations coordinator, said a good example is placement of the DVD collection. In the past, television shows were on one floor while movies were on another. Now, because patrons apparently don’t make such distinctions when searching for DVDs they might enjoy, everything is shelved together. Another example has to do with the large-print books, many of which had been on the second floor. “If you’re seeing-impaired, you might have other mobility challenges,” Shaffer explains. The largeprint books were in a very remote area that was very difficult to get to if you used a walker or a cane. Now, they’re all easily accessible on the first floor.
Then there’s the furniture issue. “Librarians might arrange it in a very structured way,” says Shaffer. “But students come in and they want these chairs over here and these chairs over there.” Librarians used to spend a lot of time putting the chairs back where they had been. Now, she adds, not so much. A recent survey undertaken by the library has revealed other information about patron preferences. “They want to be empowered, not so much lectured to,” Coffee notes. Rather than taking a class at the library, she adds, they often want individual instruction on topics such as, say, how to use new electronic tablets. “So, since Shawn joined us, that’s something we now offer,” says Coffee. “It’s one-on-one, just you and a reference librarian who’s an expert in tablets and software.” Of course, in recent years there’s been an increasing emphasis on ebooks. While some librarians may see this as revolutionary, Shaffer views it as part of a continuum. “When we buy any book now, we buy the hard-
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The library’s angular building opened Standing the Testdistinctive, of Time
in 1979. But the city has had a library of some sort since 1885.
back, we buy the paperback and we buy it on CD because people love to listen to books in their cars,” she says. “And now we buy it in ebook form. So we’re still buying the same item. All these years, it’s come in different containers or different formats. Ebook is just one more in a long line for us.” Technology is also making the library more user friendly. Last year, for example, as part of its “Innovation 127” campaign, funds were raised to implement self-service circulation. Five new self-serve stations allow patrons to check out and renew their own materials and pay fines using their credit cards. These days, about half the transactions once handled by staffers are now completed by patrons using this process, ANTHONY CONSALVO which rarely involves waiting in a line. The self-service technology has allowed the Youth Services staff to spend more time working directly with children, says Shaffer. In addition, she notes, the third floor has been transformed into a quiet space for studying and using public computers, which were previously located in a high-traffic area near the checkout desk. Now, you can even check out a bicycle at the library. Thanks to a grant from Florida Hospital’s Healthy Central Florida Initiative of Winter Park, anyone holding a library card can enjoy free use of a bright yellow single-speed cruiser or
Winter Park Public Library 460 E. N. England Ave 407- 623-3300 wppl.org Hours: Monday- Thursday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Use: If you live within Winter Park’s city limits, you’re entitled to a free library card. Just bring a photo ID and a recent official document that shows your address. There’s also a reciprocal agreement between the Winter Park Public Library, the Maitland Public Library and the Orange County Library System that allows a cardholder in one system to also be a cardholder in another system. However, you must be a resident of Orange County, and not all services are available. Non-resident cards cost $125 per year or $75 for six months. The non-resident fee is cut in half if you work for a company that has contributed to the library within the last 12 months.
a tandem-style bike. The fleet of seven two-wheelers, each of which comes equipped with a basket, a helmet and a lock, is also available to students at Rollins College and guests at the nearby Alfond Inn. nnn Although the Winter Park Public Library is changing, it continues to provide traditional services to its 11,500 cardholders. You can, of course, still check out a book there. And you can still research local history by examining the documents and photographs in its extensive archives. The library, which has a $2.8 million annual operating budget, continues to offer story time for children and to sell books at its volunteer-run New Leaf Bookstore. And, if the spirit moves you, you can still stop in at Beverly’s Cafe for a snack and a beverage. Looking into the future, Shaffer senses bigger changes coming. “Right now, in history, we’re kind of at a crossroads, and libraries need to have a foot in both worlds,” she reflects. “We’re still going to be this place where we collect information and we circulate it and move it out to people. But we’re also moving forward into the next generation, and the next century, where the library is going to become a place where you actually participate and make content.”
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Sheâ€™s thinking of, among other things, helping patrons to create self-published ebooks, video content, music and textiles. Meanwhile, in the nearterm, she hopes to work more closely with Winter Park schools and, in general, to be an increasingly visible presence beyond that quirky building. Speaking of the 35-year-old facility, the Board of Trustees has begun to discuss replacing it in the not-too-distant future. Members are already visiting state-of-the-art libraries elsewhere to get ideas. â€œI want to get us more out into the community,â€? says Shaffer. â€œYou shouldnâ€™t always have to come to us.â€?
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Evelyn Lamson was the cityâ€™s first librarian.
IT ALL STARTED ON A FRONT PORCH
The Winter Park Public Libraryâ€™s official beginning can be traced to Dec. 9, 1885, when a group of â€œwell-educatedâ€? local women met to discuss the idea at the home of Edward and Elizabeth Hooker. Edward Payson Hooker was pastor of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park and soon to be the first president of Rollins College. His wife was a civic activist and community booster in her own right The Winter Park Circulating Library, as it was then known, was first located on the front porch and in the hallway of an organizerâ€™s sprawling home near the corner of Interlachen and Swoope avenues. Located in Hannibal Square (Next to The woman who provided space was Evelyn Lamson, who was born in Jasper, 7 .EW %NGLAND !VE 3TE s New York, in 1855, and earned an art deGILDEDHOMECOM s FACEBOOKCOMGILD gree at Oberlin College. For health reaDEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND SECIAL COLLECTIONS, OLIN LIBRARY, ROLLINS COLLEGE
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sons, she moved to Winter Park in 1885 with her mother and brother. The new library didn’t have a large collection. Some of the titles available were The Scarlet Letter, The Last Days of Pompeii, Jane Eyre, Ivanhoe and The Rise of Silas Lapham. There were also religious works such as Grace and Truth and The Blood of Jesus. Membership was $1 per year. Members could take out only one book at a time, on either Wednesday or Saturday, and keep it for two weeks. Non-members wishing to check out a book had to pay a $1 deposit plus 10 cents a week. The library only operated from January to May. A year later, the Winter Park Circulating Library Association accepted an offer to move its operations from Lamson’s porch to a room in a building occupied by the Winter Park Company, (now the Winter Park Land Company), on the southwest corner of New England and Park avenues. In 1900, the estate of Francis Bangs Knowles, an early Winter Park founder, donated property on Interlachen Avenue. A one-room library building containing 1,300 books was opened in 1902. Lamson, who in the interim had become the first librarian at Rollins, resigned her college post to run the community library. (She would marry Charles Lyman Smith in 1909 and die in 1925 while serving as president of the Winter Park Library Association). In 1924, two new wings were added; by 1927 two librarians worked year-round at salaries of $50 per month. In 1928 and 1929, when Florida’s land boom went bust and the Great Depression swept the country, the library’s well-heeled supporters chipped in and kept the facility open. In 1937, the Hannibal Square Library was founded by Edwin Osgood Grover, Professor of Books at Rollins College, in memory of his wife, Mertie, whose passion had been providing educational opportunities for African American residents. It operated until 1979, when the current library was opened. In 1956, a children’s room was added, followed in 1959 by completion of an entirely new building, which was expanded in 1970. In 1976, the city bought the New England Avenue property where today’s library is located. The new facility was completed in 1979 and a third floor was added in 1995.
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hen Hannah Beth King was a girl, her mother gave her a camera. By age 13, she was a serious photography student at the Crealde School of Art in Winter Park. “They were adult classes, but they just let me in,” recalls King, now in her late thirties. “So I did a lot of photography at a really young age.” Meanwhile, the Winter Park native was also honing her writing skills. Eventually, it dawned on her that she could combine her interests in writing and photography by making movies. “So I took a filmmaking class at a workshop in Maine, and I made a short film called Bluebird,” she says. “I love that little movie, and I got the desire to make films.” After attending the University of Washington and studying film at Columbia University, King has gone on to work as a producer and director, often for television networks such as the Discovery Channel and PBS. She now lives in New York but was recently back in Central Florida for the Florida Film Festival, where I Believe in Unicorns — a coming-of-age film that she co-produced — was on the program. “A sensitively observed and arrestingly impressionistic drama that feels at once deeply personal and easily accessible” is what Joe Leydon of Variety has called the movie, which is a good bet for a general release this year. I met King accidentally, while waiting in line at the festival for
another film. The caramel-tressed beauty — who has considered trying her luck at acting — was in line right behind me with a man who was attracting an unusual amount of attention. That man was Gabriel Byrne, star of such hits as The Usual Suspects and Miller’s Crossing. The Irish actor, who did not have a film in the festival, was trying — with varying degrees of success — to keep a low profile. He was in town to support King, who met him at a café in their New York neighborhood, and with whom, to the endless fascination of the tabloids, he has been in a relationship for five years. These days, King visits friends and family in Central Florida about twice a year. She attended Winter Park High School, where she was known as Hannah Goldman (don’t ask; long story), and remembers herself as a “curious” teen whose classwork ranged from stellar to indifferent, depending upon her level of interest. Her next project is Dirt Roads, based on the true story of a Seminole Indian woman caught up in the world of prostitution. “I want to film it in Florida,” she says. “When you grow up somewhere, you have a sensibility and a feeling for it. I want the swamps, the lushness of Florida, the humidity, the oppressive heat that, to me, is very important to depict. And also the ugly parts, the fringes off the highway.” — Jay Boyar
LOCAL GIRL MAKES GOOD (MOVIES)
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avenue insider PEOPLE AND PLACES ALONG WINTER PARK’S SIGNATURE STREET. By clyde moore
ark Twain once said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Twain never visited Park Avenue, but it’s a place where kindness is spoken fluently. Susan Johnson, who owns Hutton, a boutique on North Park Avenue, is just one example. Susan, whose first son was born blind and deaf, is the founder and board chairperson of Women With a Vision, which raises money for the preschool program at Lighthouse of Central Florida. She’s also chairman of the board of directors for Lighthouse, which offers services for those coping with vision loss. Each year, Women With a Vision opens a pop-up consignment shop called Spree, stocking it with clothing donated by Hutton customers and turning over the proceeds to Lighthouse. Last year’s event raised $38,000. This fall, the group is planning an Audrey Hepburn-themed cocktail party where attendees will be asked to bring “a great pair of shoes” for next year’s Spree. Other locals involved in Women With a Vision include Patrice Abufaris, Bonnie Brownell, Nicole Calabrese, Ann Cavanaugh, Carolina Corchuelo, Katrina Guensch, Charlotte Hattaway, Stefani Heisler, Pree Hull, Glen Rose Hurley, Ginger Kane, Eva Krewinski, Shari Lewis, Melissa Meloon, Dani Mihalic, Judy Muller, Beth Ann Ortiz, Olivia Polk, Elizabeth Posner, Leslie Sand, Kathy Vazquez, Sarah Van Bueren and Erin Wiltshire. But Susan doesn’t limit her charitable activity. She’s also involved in Support Our Scholars, which helps young women who are the first in their families to attend college. Many, she says, are from disadvantaged households but are nonetheless high achievers academically. The organization and its mentors provide young women with both emotional and financial support while they’re working toward degrees. Why is Susan so focused on helping others?
In honor of the 2014 Paint Out, which was held in April and sponsored by the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, we decided to illustrate this month’s column with an image from the event. Grenada Court Street, by renowned local artist Don Sondag, beautifully captures a familiar view.
“My life intersects every day with all these fabulous, talented women,” she says. “You’re not just here to sell stuff. You need to be a part of the fabric of the community.” Other locals involved in Support Our Scholars include Andrea Batchelor, Faith Buhler, Ingrid Cordell, Vicki Englehart, Katrina Guensch, Sheila Keiner, Katrina Lawrence, Kym Merrill, Deborah Sciarrino and Gwen Thompson Hewitt. nnn
Sarah Grafton is another Park Avenue denizen devoted to making a difference. A partner at Merrill Lynch Grafton Wealth Management, which was founded 44 years ago by her father, Sarah went to college at Auburn University and the University of North Florida and returned home “passionate about small businesses, government and non-profits.” Almost immediately, she threw herself into boosting downtown Winter Park businesses. Inspired by college pub crawls, she initiated the first Park Avenue Sip and Stroll events. She also became a one-woman networking
service, helping new businesses acclimate themselves and connecting them with other businesses with whom they had synergies. For example, when Jami and Kevin Wray bought Peterbrooke, a fine confectioner, Sarah made a beeline for Luma, a popular Italian restaurant, and asked, “How can we get Peterbrooke Chocolate in here?” Actually, Sarah’s always doing this sort of thing. A few days after I spoke to her, I had a conversation with a business owner who told me how helpful she had been as an advocate on his behalf with the city over an issue of some contention. But Sarah isn’t all about business. She also helps plan the Wish Makers Ball for the Make A Wish Foundation. “All the money from the Wish Makers Ball goes right back into our local community, and I’ve been able to see wishes come true,” she says. “A kid getting a puppy, or getting to meet someone famous, or getting to travel someplace they’ve never been before. I’ve gotten to witness those things, and that’s been really exciting.”
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Speaking of kids, several local businesses participated in the recent Give Kids The World Black & White Gala. For the silent auction, Bosphorous Turkish Restaurant contributed a dinner for four, while the Alfond Inn chipped in a one-night stay and brunch for two at Hamilton’s Kitchen, under the supervision of new chef Marc Kusche. But maybe the coolest donation was this one. The Meat House and chef Bob Aungst contributed an in-home dinner for eight. As part of the package, Bob shows up with all the provisions, including china and crystal, prepares dinner for you and your guests, then cleans it all up before leaving. Now, that’s my idea of dinner in! nnn
So many Park Avenue businesses are a family affairs, including Downeast, an iconic boutique offering sporty clothing and accessories. Buyer Carina Graham, daughter of owners Don and Lettie Sexton, says the store’s customers suggest many of the charitable endeavors they support, such as Canine Companions. Carina has also been a board member of the Howard Phillips Center for Children and Families for more than 10 years. Carina points out that her parents are longtime local philanthropists, raising funds and serving on boards for the Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Theatre of Central Florida, the Orlando Museum of Art and the Orlando Science Center in the ‘60s and ‘70s. “My parents taught me the importance of giving back,” she says. “Now, it’s my turn.” Carina says she also gets involved in charitable organizations through the law firm Burr & Forman, where her husband, Jesse Graham, is a partner. nnn
Just a few doors from Downeast, Ricci Culver, owner of Through The Looking Glass, and Pauline Borum, the jewelry and accessory shop’s manager, select a different charity each month. “We’re well known for making charitable donations, and are approached often for worthy causes,” says Pauline. “We usually donate six months of the year to animal organizations.” Their favored charity is The Journey’s End Animal Sanctuary in DeLand. Unlike traditional shelters, that emphasize adoption and perform euthanasia Journey’s End’s provides lifetime protection and care for animals with illnesses, handicaps and temperament issues. Ricci has three King Charles spaniels, a rat terrier and a cat. Her daughter Morgen recently adopted
a Siberian husky to join another dog and two cats. The husky had been abused and was flown to Orlando from Pennsylvania in a pet carrier. Pauline has 10 rescue cats and feeds five feral cats every morning in Casselberry for a catrescue organization. Employees Lauren Brown and Katherine Vega recently rescued a dog and a cat, respectively. nnn
You’d expect owners of the Doggie Door to be involved in animal charities, and you’d be right. Partners Brian Wettstein and Jeff Brow, with friends Charlotte McDonald and Pam Follett, started The Sebastian Haul Fund in 2008 to save retired racing greyhounds and place them in homes. Funds raised are used to transport the greyhounds to other states, where qualified families are waiting for dogs to love. “There’s no way all the greyhounds retired each year from Florida race tracks can be absorbed into their local communities,” says Brian. “We work locally with five greyhound nonprofits that coordinate hauls to more than 30 organizations up the Eastern Seaboard and even Canada.” Proceeds from The Doggie Art Festival in April, Dog Days of Summer Wine Tasting in August and the Pet Costume Contest in October provide most of the organization’s operating income. Doggie Door also supports Tails on the Town, a Winter Park shopping and dining event that benefits the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, formerly the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Franklin’s Friends, a local animal welfare group. nnn
Pageant winners always seem to affiliate themselves with charities, and that’s certainly true of Ms. Winter Park, Liz Shepherd of Liz’s & Bebe’s. The list of organizations Liz’s & Bebe’s has assisted over the past three decades is a lengthy one, including the Salvation Army, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Harbor House, Friends of Harriet Lake and just about every local charity that asks for donated auction items. “We’ve donated to all of them — schools, churches, homeless people on the street.” says Liz. “And we do it constantly.” In addition to providing donations, Liz and her team also help organize fundraisers, such as the recent High Tea and Fashion Show at Park Plaza Gardens to benefit the Children’s Home Society. Others locals involved with the event included Dyan Goodman, Margaret Guedes, Diane
Holmes, Eva Krzewinski, Harriett Lake and Vicki McVay. nnn
Fannie Hillman & Associates, one of the region’s top real estate firms, holds an annual fundraising patio party that coincides with the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. The company, founded in 1981 by Fannie Hillman, is today run by her son Scott. On the Saturday of the festival, invited guests are served delicious 4 Rivers Smokehouse barbecue. There’s no cost to attend, but donations are collected. This year, more than $1,600 worth of school supplies were bought for children living in The Meadows, an apartment complex owned and operated by the Winter Park Housing Authority. According to Valerie Ledford, marketing manager for Fannie Hillman & Associates, donations in past years have gone to the Winter Park High School Foundation, the Community Food & Outreach Center of Central Florida, the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Habitat for Humanity and Pink Out, a breast cancer awareness effort sponsored by Winter Park Memorial Hospital. Pink Out, in fact, is a cause many Park Avenue businesses support, according to Teresa Mairn, the hospital’s marketing director. “We discovered that 78 women in Winter Park alone are diagnosed with breast cancer every year,” she says. “In Central Florida, more than half of the women who should be getting mammograms are not.” Since 2011, thanks to Pink Out, hundreds of local women have had mammograms. Those screenings have resulted in six women being diagnosed with breast cancer, and then seeking lifesaving treatment. Of course, there are many other local merchants who are involved in many more charities than I’ve had space to cover here. But you get the idea. Park Avenue is about a lot more than shopping and dining. It’s about caring.
Clyde Moore, whose alter ego is Parker the Owl, owns I LUV Winter Park Inc., a company that promotes the city and its businesses. He has a degree in journalism and advertising from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Follow him on social media at #ILUVWinterPark #ILUVParkAvenue
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Dapper Dog & Fashionable Fido
PHOTO CONTEST Brought to you by The Doggie Door Message your photo through our Facebook page or website-thedoggiedoor.com One Male and One Female Dog Winner will be featured in the October/Fall Issue of Winter Park Magazine Winners will also receive a prize pack from The Doggie Door valued at $100 Contest ends July 31st PHOTOS COURTESY OF LEPUPARAZZI PHOTOGRAPHY
S U MME R 20 1 4 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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During my assessment, just about everything about me that could be measured was measured.
BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT Winter Park Health Assessment’s new program reveals who you are and what you’re made of, inside and out. For me, it also yielded an totally unexpected diagnosis. BY DENISE BATES ENOS PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
hat do you hate most about going to the doctor? For me, it’s not the needles, the paper gowns, the poking, probing and prodding. It’s not even the necessity of producing “samples” in flimsy paper cups. I hate waiting. It rankles me to spend an hour or more in a doctor’s office, thumbing through Clinton-era magazines, when ultimately I’ll spend just a few minutes in my doctor’s company. So when I showed up at Florida Hospital’s new Winter Park Health Assessment facility, located near Winter Park Memorial Hospital on Edinburgh Drive, it was a pleasant surprise to find that the WPHA clinic doesn’t even have a waiting room. Instead, I was immediately greeted by Herminio Alamo, clinical nurse manager for WPHA as well as Celebration Health Assessment, another Florida Hospital-affiliated program headquartered at the Disneyfied master-planned community. “So, what did you have for breakfast?” he asked. I thought it was a trick question, since I had been ordered not to eat or drink anything for the 12 hours preceding my appointment. Turns out, it was a critical question. Had I not fasted as instructed, the results of that day’s blood work could have been compromised. Good thing I’m a rule-follower. ■■■ WPHA now offers half- and full-day health assessments that its promotional literature describe as “the ultimate health experience — a comprehensive, convenient and personalized approach to wellness that will inspire you to achieve a higher level of health through wellness living — body, mind and spirit.” Lofty words indeed, and not ones I’d have chosen to describe previous physical examinations, which seemed perfunctory and impersonal at best. But WPHA is striving to elevate the old-school checkup to a more comprehensive and patient-friendly level, offering extensive one-on-one time with physicians, fitness and nutritional assessments, on-site labs and imaging technology, and even same-day results. Also available is genomic testing, which uses DNA to identify your risk for various health problems. WPHA offers several “packages,” each of which bundles an array of evaluations. Priced between $1,995 and $3,900, offerings are customizable and reveal pretty much everything that medical science can discern about your body and how it functions, inside and out, head to toe. The regimen I chose, the half-day Healthy Heart Pack-
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AN ARTISTIC APPROACH COMBINED WITH THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO ACHIEVE A BEAUTIFUL, NATURAL RESULT FOR THE FACE, BREAST AND BODY.
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WPHA’s Hermino Alamo and Tawana DiNardo conducted an array of tests, including lung capacity. Turns out I ought to hit the gym more often and change up my workout regimen.
age, costs $1,995 and focuses on cardiac issues. But, as I would find, it can reveal problems entirely unrelated to heart health. There are also three Genomics Packages — Pathway Fit, Cardiac Insight and Healthy Woman — that cost around $500 each. None of these exhaustive evaluations, unfortunately, are covered by insurance. Comparable to physicians who have adopted concierge-style models for their practices, hospitals are offering more VIP services for which patients pay directly. For years, hospitals have offered socalled “executive” health programs that take one or more days to complete and provide thorough medical workups and lifestyle assessments. But WPHA is looking to expand the market for such services beyond CEOs whose companies are footing the bill. It wants to attract every-
day moms and dads who don’t mind investing as much in their health as they might for a really nice watch or a new refrigerator and range. “Our evaluations are comprehensive and personalized to the individual,” says Alamo, “It’s a unique opportunity to get access to multiple health specialists and experts who collaborate to develop a plan of care specifically for you.” Adds Dr. Sheri Novendstern, senior staff physician, “We do in a day what would take many days elsewhere. Here, you get a picture of who you are, what you’re made of and what you need to do to improve.” That sounded good to me. I’m health-conscious — though by no means obsessive about it — and all too aware that I’m not 20 anymore. Plus, as a reporter I’m all about making decisions based on factual data from credible sources. So, after correctly answering Alamo’s question — “Uh, I haven’t had anything today” — I was immediately whisked into an examination room to have four vials of blood drawn by Tawana DiNardo, a registered nurse. That was just the beginning of a battery of tests.
DiNardo and Alamo ran me through the basics: blood pressure (high; I have a slight case of “white coat syndrome”), urinalysis, temperature, hearing, vision, height and weight. So far, so good — but then Alamo wanted to measure my waist. My waist measurement, he explained, could be an indicator of my risk for heart disease. For women, more than 35 inches signals an elevated risk; for men, it’s more than 40 inches. A larger waist size can signal an abundance of visceral fat around the internal organs, which is linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Luckily for me, my waist size was comfortably below the danger zone, which took the sting out of learning that my muscle-mass numbers ruled out an appearance on the cover of Shape magazine anytime soon. Muscle-mass data came from the InBody 720. Joe Stinson, an exercise physiologist, had me strip down to my sports bra and shorts before standing on the device, which uses electrodes and various frequencies to take a variety of muscular, skeletal and tissue measurements. It was reassuring to learn that my body mass
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Each of the packages at WPHA includes vision and hearing tests, and the results are reviewed immediately with a physician.
index (BMI, which measures the ratio of height to weight) was good and that my stats all fell within normal ranges — although my fat-tomuscle ratio clearly indicated that I need to hit the gym more. That point was driven home when Stinson put me on a treadmill to measure my fitness level. He taped various EKG electrodes to my body to measure my heart rate, and strapped a mask to my face to measure the volume of air expelled and the ratios of oxygen and carbon dioxide contained therein. What the results revealed wasn’t great. Let’s just say that if my fitness level were an SAT score, no college would be interested in admitting me. Stinson told me that I needed to work harder — and smarter — at the gym, including decreasing the number of repetitions while increasing the amount of weight I was lifting. Before my humiliation-by-treadmill, I was given a break for breakfast, which I’d pre-ordered from the menu provided when I made the appointment. I chose the fruit cup over the chicken and apple sausage sandwich or breakfast wrap, which earned me a scolding from the Christine Bowling, a nutritionist. Having fruit for breakfast instead of a protein source would guarantee a sugar crash later in the day, she said. And since my blood work indicated a potassium deficiency, Bowling recommended adding coconut water to my diet. She also suggested that a liquid fish-oil supplement could not only promote heart health by lowering my blood pressure and reducing triglycerides, but its anti-inflammatory properties could help with
my creaky joints. The assessment staff kept me pretty busy, but I still needed to talk with the doctor. I’d filled out an extensive form regarding my health history — and that of my family — prior to my appointment. And when I met with Novendstern, it was clear that she’d read it carefully. We sat together at a table and reviewed it all. She took copious notes and asked me questions about everything from my work to my family to my general outlook on life. She also reviewed with me the results of all testing that had been done prior to her arrival — thanks to the clinic’s proximity to Florida Hospital’s labs, my blood work and urinalysis were completed in just a few hours. During our chat, there was no sense that I was being rushed. Novendstern, friendly and relaxed, seemed to want to get to know the whole me — not just my internal organs. In my experience, at least, that was unusual for a doctor’s visit. But then something even more unusual happened. She asked me if I’d ever had a bone scan for mineral density. When I said no, she sent me down the hall for one, which was completed in a matter of minutes. The scan wasn’t part of the Healthy Heart package, but my insurance picked up the cost. A procedure that ordinarily would have required a separate appointment at a later date was accomplished in less than half an hour. The results came back pretty quickly, too. The unexpected verdict: osteoporosis — a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to fracture. Like most women, I was concerned
about eventually developing osteoporosis, but hadn’t expected it to become an imminent problem for several decades. There could be many reasons for osteoporosis, including genetics and low body weight, but for a 52-year-old it’s a sobering diagnosis. Had I not visited WPHA, it might have been years before I’d gotten a scan — years that could have compromised my bones further. Novendstern, formerly an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Florida Health Science Center, explained the various treatment options available. She also told me that, given the level of osteoporosis present, my current chances of suffering a fracture are less than 2 percent. I can live with that. Was it worth it? Full disclosure: As a journalist preparing a story, I was offered a complimentary assessment. But even if I had paid out of pocket, I would have considered it money well spent. The osteoporosis finding almost certainly saved me from considerably higher costs — and increasingly serious health issues — in years to come. Plus, I was reassured by all the things that weren’t found, and inspired to take better care of myself. Speaking of which, I’m off to the gym.
IT’S ALL IN THE GENES
WPHA has partnered with Pathway Genomics to offer genetic testing as part of its health-assessment packages. Genetic testing, also known as DNA testing, can determine your vulnerability to certain diseases and detect the precursors to such problems as coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. There are three Genomics Packages offered: n Pathway Fit. Provides information that allows you to optimize exercise, metabolism and energy, and to make more informed decisions about diet and nutrition. n Cardiac Insight. Identifies your risk for certain heart-related conditions, such as hypertension and heart attack, and offers information on mitigating that risk. n Healthy Woman. Identifies potential health problems, helps to manage postpartum weight loss and identifies genes that influence metabolism and exercise.
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THE DESIGN TOURIST
Almost every room in the New Southern Home leads to the aptly named oasis, which features a sleek, stacked-quartz swimming pool flanked by a raised sundeck and linear firepit.
The 2014 New Southern Home is decidedly contemporary. But it’s also warm, welcoming, whimsical and exudes an irresistible, Zen-like charm. BY KAREN LEBLANC
PHOTOS BY LAURENCE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
AN EARTHY URBAN OASIS
t isn’t easy to design a home that’s both contemporary and cozy. But the 2014 New Southern Home, located on Palmer Avenue in Winter Park, is as serene as it is sleek, a sort of modern incarnation of a generations-old mountain lodge. But, despite its get-away-from-it-all ambiance, the 5,141square-foot structure, dubbed the Oasis, sits squarely in the densely developed core of arguably the region’s most desirable zip code. The New Southern Home, built this year by Bill Cook Luxury Homes, will be the marquee attraction of the Southeast Building Conference, sponsored by the Florida Home Builders Association and slated for July at the Orange County Convention Center. Thousands of industry professionals from across the country will tour the home to see the latest new-home trends and technologies. The contemporary architecture, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style, is a departure from recent new Southern Homes. The 2012 entry, built by Hardwick General Contracting, was a lavish New Orleans-style plantation home on Via Venetian in Winter Park. Last year, NWC Construction built a nostalgic Florida Vernacular-style
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CAHILL Castleworks Charles Clayton Construction Dave Brewer DeLorenzo Homes Derrick Builders Farina & Sons Goehring & Morgan Construction Hannigan Homes Hardwick General Contracting J. Richard Watson Construction Company Kelsey Custom Homes McNally Homes Phil Kean Designs Posada Custom Homes Ray Coudriet Builder Regal Classic Homes Speer Homes Stonebridge Homes The Master Custom Builder Council is a Central Florida organization pledged to maintain the highest professional standards in the home building industry. The Council represents the DUHDtVOHDGLQJcustom and luxury home builders who have dedicated themselves to using their craft and workmanship to make Central Florida an even finer place to live. MCBC builders adhere to a very strong code of ethics which are listed at www.custombuilt.com
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THE DESIGN TOURIST
PHOTOS BY LAURENCE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
The shimmering kitchen, with its sleek glass and aluminum finishes, is illuminated by skylights with solar-powered blinds. Furnishings in the great room are all-natural cottons, wools and linens. The coffee table and end tables are made of recycled wood.
showplace in Belle Isle. In addition to Cook, the 2014 New Southern Home team included Donald F. Evans and James LaPiana of The Evans Group, architects; Kate Clarke of Clarke and Company, interior designer; Scott Redmon of Redmon Design Group, landscape designer; Rick Caccavello of Central Kitchen and Bath, kitchen and bathroom designer; and Drew Smith of Two Trails, a green building consulting company that helps builders earn LEED and other certifications. The wood-and-stone home exudes a Zen-like calm despite its location on one of Winter Park’s busier thoroughfares. An infill project always has special challenges, but even more so in Winter Park, which has strict setback requirements. Consequently, every allowable square foot of the 100by-150-foot site was used, notes Evans. “Lots in Winter Park are expensive, and the land is too valuable to waste even one square foot of allowable space,” says the architect, who has practiced in Orlando for 37 years and has designed a number of award-winning showhomes. The team wanted to present an alternative to the ubiquitous Mediterranean-style architecture found in the area, Cook adds. “We feel there’s a hole in the market,” he says. “We feel there’s a need for a style that’s warm yet modern and comfortable.” In fact, Cook refers to the architecture as “warm modern.” The Oasis does, in fact, seem to occupy its own architectural niche. It’s an homage to Wright in its use of clean lines and organic materials. But it’s more welcoming and family friendly than some of Wright’s homes, which were more fun to look at than to live in. And it studiously avoids the spartan, clinical look that’s sometimes associated with contemporary architecture. “We used stained wood, stacked stone and stone banding, which is a deviation from the white stucco often found in modern styles,” notes Evans. That’s one reason why the home, despite being one-of-a-kind, fits comfortably amid the eclectic array of older homes surrounding it. “It doesn’t stand out like the new kid on the block,” adds Evans. However, a visitor will quickly come to understand that this thoughtfully designed showplace soothes the psyche in ways that are both obvious and subtle. For example, Cook points out that the horizontal banding around the exterior aligns precisely with the horizontal design on the 10-foot pivoting front door. That’s a subtle touch, but says plenty about the team’s obsession with detail.
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In the retro-styled “hangout room,” top, is a full-service bar, chairs made of old airplanes, a collection of electric guitars and five television screens. The master bathroom shower, above, has a glass wall that overlooks a private sun lounge with Jacuzzi tub and vertical garden.
Still, there are numerous “wow” features. A glass entrance canopy, washed in natural light, leads to a private courtyard centered around a sleek, stacked-quartz swimming pool flanked by a raised sundeck and linear firepit. The area is called, as you might expect, “the oasis.” Almost every room either opens to the oasis or has its own outdoor space. “This home was designed for entertaining, day or night,” says Evans. “It has two complete personalities.” The plan also accommodates multigenerational living. “At least three generations could comfortably live here,” he adds. “The home can transition as the family dynamic changes.” Of course, all the most leading-edge newhome products and energy-efficient technologies have been incorporated. In the kitchen, skylights with solar-powered blinds supplant hanging light fixtures. Sky tubes above the staircase also provide electricity-free illumination. Even the kitchen’s décor is designed to reflect and disperse light. Open aluminum shelves, aluminum- and frosted-glass-paneled cabinets and a glass and aluminum mosaic backsplash add an abundance of shimmery sheen. The freezer and refrigerator and the walk-in pantry are concealed by wood panels that match the espresso cabinetry. “The kitchen is about simplification and bringing the family together,” says Clarke. To fa-
cilitate multiple uses, a granite island attaches to a Caesarstone tabletop with seating for dining, homework and casual socializing. Décor created from recycled materials is in synch with the burgeoning trend toward sustainability in construction. In the great room, recycled paper designs embellish a feature wall while the furnishings are allnatural cottons, wools and linens, with lint kept in check by an air-purification system. The coffee table and end tables are made of recycled wood. The dining room boasts sculptural glass plates dramatically displayed in a side wall’s recessed space. Beneath the staircase is a refrigerated vertical storage system for wine. Adjacent seats and a small table create a perfect setting for tastings. In the retro-styled “hangout room” is a fullservice bar, chairs made of old airplanes, a hanging collection of electric guitars and five — yes, five — television screens. Modern barn doors open to the flex space, which is now staged as a game room containing whimsical chairs made of recycled bicycle wheels. But the space could also be used as a single-car garage, ideal for storing a prized vintage vehicle. The master suite personifies the Oasis, with its serene palette and view of the pool’s water and fire features. Engineered wood with a painted finish fits the home’s style while circle sculptures
PHOTOS BY LAURENCE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
THE DESIGN TOURIST
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THE DESIGN TOURIST
molded into the ceiling draw the eye upward. “The circles are meant to symbolize continuity, evoking meaningful imagery such as wedding bands and the circle of life,” says Clarke. The floor-to-ceiling tufted headboard, bed and upholstered sliding breakfast trays are custom made to complement the matelassé and velvet bedding and counter the more earthy look of the
cotton-blend sofa, ottoman and shag carpet. A commissioned triptych painting of a Florida lake with cypress trees dominates one wall. The master bathroom shower has a glass wall that overlooks a very private sun lounge with Jacuzzi tub and vertical garden. It’s almost like showering outdoors. His and her vanities, configured back-to-back, offer separate dressing areas.
The LED-lit master closet has a rolling ladder to reach storage bins at the top. The closet — in fact, the entire home — has a built-in vacuum system with a self-retracting hose that spans 50 feet. The downstairs office opens to a private patio while the entire back wall is a bookcase. The books are artfully covered in white butcher’s paper with handwritten calligraphy titles. “Menswear chic” best describes the adjacent powder bath, with its zebrawood laminate vanity and glass barn door on the shower. Those scenestealing shower doors can be found in all of the home’s bathrooms. A multipurpose laundry room, dubbed “the home studio,” multitasks as a pet retreat, craft station, pocket office and drop zone. There’s even an herb garden over the windowsill of the farmhouse sink. A cable staircase leads upstairs to two bedrooms, one fashioned for a boy with repurposed surfboards above the bed and another reworked into a desk. The girl’s bedroom contains twin beds with freestanding headboards, each with a custom made sliding breakfast tray. The girl’s bathroom boasts three-dimensional wave tile and a freestanding tub. The home was designed so that interior and exterior materials would be duplicated. For example, stacked stone on the façade reappears as a feature wall on the staircase. Limestone tile floors flow through to the outdoor living areas, transitioning from honed-filled to tumbled in texture. There’s also a detached guest suite, currently outfitted with a pool bath and spa and exercise room. Yes, you can buy the Oasis. Fully furnished, it’s $2.3 million. Considering the prime location and the aesthetic appeal, it’s hard to imagine that it will be on the market for long after SEBC is over. “Very little expense was spared,” notes Cook. It certainly shows, in a refreshingly back-to-nature way. Karen LeBlanc is host of The Design Tourist, an online program airing on The Design Network (thedesignnetwork.com). She travels the globe in search of unique design finds and brilliant design minds. For a global dose of design inspiration, watch her show and check out her blog, HouseSpiration. com, which tracks the latest trends and tastemakers in architecture, design and home interiors.
PHOTOS BY LAURENCE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
The contemporary architecture, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style, combines clean lines and natural materials such as wood and stacked stone.
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WHISTLE IN the DISTANCE
In Winter Park, the blast of the horns, the squeal of the brakes and the roar of the engines are sounds of our lives.
By PATRICIA SCHOENE
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ailroads have always captured the imagination and inspired wanderlust. By the mid-19th century, locomotives had powered a transportation revolution that altered long-held concepts of time and distance. In small towns and big cities alike, a train whistle in the night became an almost irresistible siren song. In fact, Florida frontier towns like Winter Park owe their very existence to railroads, which in the 1880s offered vacationers and relocators relatively easy access to the state’s alluring but untamed interior. Trains also allowed local commerce to flourish, providing a means for growers to ship their citrus crops north. A train station of one kind or another has abutted Central Park, in the very heart of the city, since 1882. The rather forlorn 52-year-old Amtrak station was demolished in June, after which an adjacent arts-and-crafts style depot, dedicated with considerable fanfare in April, became the new combined facility for Amtrak and SunRail, the region’s fledgling commuter service. With the city’s long railroading saga finally chugging full circle, the Winter Park History Museum, which is housed in a 91-year-old building that once served as the Atlantic Coast Line’s freight depot, has launched a timely exhibition entitled Whistle in the Distance: The Trains of Winter Park. Museum Executive Director Susan Skolfield is particularly excited about this project, a multi-media experience that drew upon the expertise of numerous artisans and railroad historians. A film was even produced to introduce visitors to the oversized wall displays and dozens of intriguing, sometimes quirky train-related artifacts. “Bring a cup of coffee if you like,” Skolfield says. “Some people watch the film over and over again.” The mini-epic, a five-minute period piece set in 1889, follows a young couple eager to escape the brutal winters of Boston for subtropical Winter Park, a sophisticated, resort-style oasis set among shimmering lakes and lush forests. Through vintage post cards, archival photographs and live-action footage, viewers experience what a train journey to the Deep South was like as the Gilded Age drew to a close.
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Images from Winter Park’s railroading past: The telegraph office, top, directed trains and shifted them to secondary tracks to avoid collisions. Above left, trains allowed citrus growers to ship their crops north. Above right, Dempsey J. Phillips, a chef for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad, also worked as a chef at the Seminole Hotel and became a prominent landowner on Winter Park’s historically African American west side.
The train itself is something of a celluloid celebrity. At 107 years of age, the Orange Blossom Cannonball is the only operating wood-burning steam locomotive in Florida, outside of amusement parks. Its film debut was in This Property is Condemned, a sultry 1966 drama starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. It has also been featured in Rosewood, O Brother Where Art Thou and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. But like most actors, the Cannonball also has a day job. It works for the Tavares, Eustis & Gulf Railroad, running between Tavares and Mount Dora every Saturday and Sunday, hauling nostalgic weekend adventurers. Director Todd Thompson of Stars North Films and Executive Producer Tareen Aguilar collaborated with the museum’s staff, board members and a host of volunteers. The cast and crew met
in Winter Garden at 6 a.m. and finished filming in just six and a half hours. “I’m drawn to projects that tell a story, and I liked the focus on two specific individuals who’ve departed on a trip that will change their lives for the better,” Thompson says. Aguilar, who previously worked with the Discovery Channel, adds that the goal of the film was “to create an experience, to add intrigue, to help museum-goers feel what it was like to set off to an unknown land.” The couple onscreen represents scores of others attracted to Winter Park by effusive newspaper ads placed by Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman, the partners who paid $13,000 for a 600acre tract that they planned to transform into “a bright New England town in Central Florida.” By 1880, the South Florida Railroad already ran through the duo’s fledgling community en-
route from Sanford to Orlando. But railroad officials were disinclined to build a station for a town that did not yet exist. Undaunted, Chapman and Chase raised $1,000 from local boosters to fund the project, which was completed in 1882 and celebrated with a citywide picnic. With a transportation conduit to the outside world established, the city’s first hotel, The Rogers House, quickly opened, followed by the ultra-luxurious Seminole Hotel in 1886. The town of Winter Park, now rapidly growing and firmly established as a desirable destination for snowbirds and permanent residents, was incorporated in 1887. Presaging SunRail by 125 years, a commuter rail line debuted in 1889. The Orlando-Winter Park Railroad, which became known as the Dinky Line, originally ran just six miles through dense forests, connecting the two cities but providing notoriously slow and balky service. One unknown author paid mocking tribute to the train with a poem, one verse of which reads: Oh, the Dinky moves along like a man with one lung, Yet it shrieks like a kid with hot mush on his tongue, I guess this is the moral, though it’s never been sung, That the poor little thing started smoking too young. The Dinky Line, which is memorialized in Whistle in the Distance, would run for 60 years, but toward the end hauled light freight instead of passengers. The tracks, some of which traversed the Rollins College campus, were pulled up in 1969. The exhibit also spotlights the local citrus industry, and the crucial role the railroad played in shipping “liquid gold” to the Northeast. However, back-to-back killing freezes in late 1894 and early 1895 ruined the orange crop, devastating the region’s economy. It took years for the groves bounce back. But, according to the Winter Park Citrus Growers’ Association, by 1909 six to 10 rails cars per day had resumed hauling homegrown fruit up the Eastern Seaboard. The railroad itself became an important employer. George Pullman, owner of the Pullman Company and inventor of the sleeper car, believed that former male “house slaves” would have the skills necessary to provide train travelers with attentive service. Eventually, more than 20,000 African American men would become Pullman porters. Hannibal Square, the traditionally African American neighborhood on the west side of
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Location: Winter Park History Museum, 200 W. New England Ave Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: Free, but donations accepted For more information: Call 407-647-2330 or visit wphistory.org
SunRail isn’t Winter Park’s first commuter rail line. The Orlando-Winter Park Railroad, which became known as the Dinky Line, debuted in 1889 and ran just six miles through dense forests, connecting Winter Park and much-larger Orlando. Service was notoriously unreliable.
Winter Park, was home to numerous railroad employees. Whistle in the Distance spotlights one in particular, Dempsey J. Phillips, who worked for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad as a chef. Phillips eventually bought a large tract of land in Winter Park, where he raised his family while farming and working as a chef at the Seminole Hotel. Rose Charleton Bynum, his great granddaughter, still lives locally and is proud of her family’s prominence in west side history. The museum’s exhibits always include something for children, and Whistle in the Distanceis no exception. There’s a train set displayed at toddler level, so children can not only watch it operate but also pick it up and examine its components. Another hands-on feature is a telegraph office display, which Warren McFarland from the Morse Telegraph Club‘s Florida Chapter helped to design and set up. Telegraph offices directed trains and shifted them to secondary tracks to avoid collisions, much as air traffic controllers direct airplanes today. Whistle in the Distance visitors can press a green button to hear the first public message sent by Morse Electric or even create their own messages using Morse Code. Instructions on how to translate letters to dots and dashes are part of the display. Although every detail of the exhibit was carefully thought out and planned in advance, there
were also serendipitous events that added to its Norman Rockwellian charm. For example, local resident Tim Scheid, a frequent museum visitor, was at the Winter Park Farmers Market, held in the adjacent parking lot, when he “poked his head in” to check on how installation of the new exhibit was progressing, according to Skolfied. Scheid told curator Camilo Velasquez and his team that he had a rare model train once owned by his late father Roy, a railroad aficionado who had founded the second-largest Lionel train distributorship in the U.S. He offered to loan it to the museum, if Velasquez was interested in displaying it. The large-scale model turned out to be a meticulously hand-crafted replica of the Union Pacific’s Locomotive No. 119, which chugged east to Promontory Summit, Utah, for the 1869 ceremony marking completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The locomotive and its accompanying railroad cars are mounted on a kidheight table at Whistle in the Distance. Whether you’re a fan of railroading or not, you’ll find the exhibit to be informative, entertaining and well-designed. It offers a glimpse of Winter Park as it was in a more leisurely era, before automobiles and interstates eliminated much of the adventure and romance from travel. And who knows? After viewing Whistle in the
Susan Skolfield, executive director of the Winter Park History Museum, says that Whistle in the Distance: The Trains of Winter Park, was truly a collaborative effort. Local historian, author and former Orlando Sentinel feature reporter Jim Robison did extensive research and writing for the displays, with editing assists from Skolfield and museum board member Linda Kulmann. The large wall displays were created by Will Setzer of Circle 7 Design Studio in partnership with GaLuWi, a company that creates wall murals. For the displays, Setzer also scanned and digitally restored old blackand-white photographs provided by the Rollins College Department of Archives and Special Collections. Just the photograph of Winter Park’s first train station, shown on the opening pages of this story, took a full eight hours to process and then two more days to colorize. Ken Murdock, curator of the Central Florida Railroad Museum in Winter Garden, offered expert consultation and provided many of the items on display. Other contributions came from the Art & History Museums Maitland. Distance, you might even sigh and smile instead of fidget and fume the next time a train rumbles past while you’re sitting in rush-hour traffic. “The location of the train depot establishes a centerpiece for the assortment of trains that travel through Winter Park,” reads one of the exhibit’s displays. “The regular blasts of the horns, the squeal of the brakes, the roar of the engines, are sounds of life. In fact, there is no town far removed from ‘the whistle in the distance.’”
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BOHO CHIC By Marianne Ilunga photographs by rafael tongol Hair and makeup by ELSIE KNAb
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EDITORIAL INTERN: LEAH KIRCHER
Cool, contemporary and casually quirky looks are ideal for a steamy Winter Park summer.
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Opposite page: Long a haven for artists and patrons of the arts, Winter Park has a distinct bohemian flair. Thatâ€™s why our fashion feature this issue is set at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, a lush and lovely place where creativity is in the air. Here Jamie M. from AB FAB Management wears a black maxi dress by De Lacy, $149; and a multilayer gold necklace, $195; both from M. Marie on Park Avenue.
Grey silk harem pants, $258; bone suede vest, $328; tiedie tank, $178; silver beaded necklace, $48; and silver cord necklace with knots, $138; all from Eileen Fisher on Park Avenue.
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White crochet dress by Donna Morgan, $179; black and cream purse by Kate Spade, $248; gold circular earrings, $59; and gold and white bangle, $19; all from Hutton on Park Avenue. The fedora with black trim by Eric Javits, $240, is from EricJavits.com.
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White sleeveless blouse with beading detail by Aryn K, $132; jeans by One Teaspoon, $158; fringe kimono by Haight Ashbury, $98; felt hat by Lovely Bird, $128; large grey stone bracelet $46; small grey karma bead stone bracelet, $34; and druzy rock bracelet, $45; all by Bourbon & Bowtie. Snake-skin leather heels by Dolce Vita, $159. All from M. Marie on Park Avenue.
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Green floral tank by Ecru, $149; grey and white silk python pants by Acrobat, $189; beige jacket by Ali and Ro, $279; and gold and white bangle, $19; all from Hutton on Park Avenue. Straw fedora with blue and white trim, $150; by Eric Javits from EricJavits.com. Opposite page: Blush-color high and low dress by Cleobella, $135; adjustable turquoise ring, $20; turquoise pendant necklace, $90; Misty Mountain bracelets, $35 each; Beyond the Walls bracelet, $35; taupe color-distressed leather booties by Dolce Vita, $189; all from M. Marie on Park Avenue.
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At Francesco’s, pizza and bread dough are made on the premises and cooked in a wood-burning oven. A large, open kitchen dominates the dining room.
SICILY IN A STRIP MALL In a setting that’s curiously both humble and haute, Chef Aiello proves that a quality neighborhood pizzeria can also be a delightful destination restaurant. By Rona Gindin Photographs by Rafael Tongol
rancesco’s Ristorante Pizzeria is a hybrid: It’s both upscale and downscale. It’s both a delightful date-night destination and a better-than-average neighborhood pizzeria in a strip mall. For me it’s a handy go-to where I can grab a good and reasonably priced chicken parmigiana dinner with a fresh house salad. I’d think nothing of bringing the kids along for an Italiana (simple cheese) pie. Others, however, view their visits to Francesco’s less casually. On Saturday nights, for example, the booths are packed with well-dressed couples enjoying a big night out. Whatever. Any way you slice it, so to speak, Francesco’s offers warm service, housemade dishes and moderate prices. Try it and you’re likely to become a regular. First, the setting: The restaurant is tucked into a newish office and retail complex hugging Orlando Avenue in Maitland, a tad north of Winter Park. A large, open kitchen dominates the dining room. You’ll see chefs tossing pizza dough, sautéing sauces and dressing greens. Yet, while Formica tables and cheap travel posters are de rigueur decor for most mom-and-pop pizza joints, here you’ll find frescoed walls, light-colored bricks with faux patches of plaster and arches reminiscent of Italy. The dining room is lit by playful, bubbly chandeliers. The ambience might best be described as “1995 Long Island.” Sure, it’s kind of schmaltzy. But this place gets credit for making an effort to transcend its humble genre. In addition to traditional booths and tables, there’s a private dining room, bar stools at a counter facing the kitchen and a few outside seats in an enclosed patio overlooking the parking lot. “I wanted to make a restaurant that’s classy, but not expensive,” says Francesco Aiello, the chef and co-owner. “The kitchen is open so people can see exactly how hard the crew works.” Whether Aiello is around during your visit or not, the operation reflects his welcoming personality. He knows the regulars by name and sets a people-pleasing example shared by his staff. Reservations are honored and taken. Servers and managers check on tables regularly. Even staff cooks smile and nod hello between deft dough tosses. Aiello is from Palermo, Sicily, and the menu reflects his culinary heritage. “The dishes are from the southern parts of Italy,” he says. “I tried to bring really authentic Italian cuisine over here. Nothing is premade.” In the morning, Aiello precooks the pasta, makes the basic marinara sauce and prepares the doughs for the pizza and the bread. “Where I grew up, there was no microwave
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Beautiful and and tasty pizzas, top, are covered with slow-melting Bacio cheese and baked at 700 degrees. The melanzane parmigiana appetizer, above left, is eggplant with a lively sauce and plenty of melted cheese. Chef Francesco Aiello’s out-ofthe-ordinary “carbonara,” above right, is not, as you might expect, a cream-based pasta sauce.
oven,” he adds. “Food was all about quality and freshness. So that’s what we do here.” Francesco’s offers the usual Italian-American classics — but some dishes surprise with Sicilian twists. The eggplant parmigiana appetizer was ultimately our favorite among the starters. A large
square of lightly fried fresh eggplant was baked with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses plus the housemade marinara sauce. The texture was tender, the flavor bright. We followed up with a plateful of spaghetti alla carbonara. Aiello makes this Roman specialty with sautéed pancetta and scallions, eggs and black pepper. We found it good but unexciting, and would have preferred another round (or 10) of shakes from the pepper grinder. It would have been much better with a little more kick. Many of Aiello’s guests are accustomed to cream-based carbonara sauce. So, upon request, he adds “a touch” of cream to his own recipe. However, he expects to convert his clientele to the cream-free variety over time. “Sooner or later they will go my way,” he says confidently. Hopefully he won’t feel the need to tinker with the well-favored and generously portioned chicken parmigiana, which I love just the way it is. And the veal Siciliano, which I tried on a more recent visit, was almost as good. Tender medallions were sautéed with three Sicilian staples: capers, artichokes and grape tomatoes. A white wine sauce brought the flavors together. Chicken cacciatore is different in every restaurant. Aiello includes green olives, which adds what he describes as “a little sweet and a little bitter,” along with pomodoro, mushrooms and onions. I love green olives, but found their flavor too pervasive. My dining companion, who also ordrered the entree, just plain dislikes green olives, tried the dish anyway with a predictable reaction. I drank a nice Primitivo with this meal. It’s from Italy, as are all the restaurant’s wines. “My philosophy is if you’re running an Italian restaurant, the food should be from Italy, and that includes the wine,” Aiello says. Discussion closed. That same Primitivo would have been just as swell with the Italiana pizza, which we ordered to go. Like all of Francesco’s pizzas, this one was baked at 700 degrees in a wood-burning oven until it’s quite dark. Ours, topped with a slow-melting imported mozzarella cheese called Bacio along with Romano cheese, plum tomatoes, garlic and basil, was just right, with the basil infusing a lively spirit to a nicely charred pie. Sitting at the food bar, we watched the staff prepare an array of beautiful pizzas, some piled generously with spinach, artichoke, pepperoni and more. I’d return just to have a one of those. Aiello, who attended Italy’s Intituto Alberghiero culinary school, was raised around good cooking. His father was a pastry chef and his parents,
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MORE ITALIAN OPTIONS FOR WINTER PARKERS who now live in Central Florida, make all the restaurant’s desserts from scratch. That includes the cannoli, with its crispy, tubular exterior, as well as an Italian wedding cake with a similarly rich impastata ricotta cheese. It’s ugly, that cake – layers of white and yellow slathered with colored whipped cream. But it’s good. Some Francesco’s regulars have surely eaten Aiello’s food before. After moving to Orlando in 1998, he spent nine years at The Sicilian Restaurant & Pizza, his uncle’s place on Lee Road, then another six years at Terramia in Altamonte Springs and Lake Mary. Francesco’s is, thankfully, never painfully loud. But it does bustle, even on weekdays. Nonetheless, Aiello is thinking of opening a second restaurant. “I dream of having a place where all the food is in season,” he says. If he does, we’ll be there. 400 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-960-5533, francescos-rist.com. Entrees $10.95 to $17.95
Prato. Italian fare takes a progressive turn at this happening hangout on Park Avenue, where scratch-made pastas and pizzas are matched by scratch-made liqueurs and more. prato-wp.com Rocco’s Italian Grille. Top-quality fare and a serene, even romantic, ambience makes Rocco’s a perennial choice for date nights. In nice weather, dine under the stars on the secluded patio. roccositaliangrille.com Armando’s Cucina Italiana & Pizzeria. Indoor-outdoor seating and loads of white give Armando’s a Hamptons feel in Hannibal Square. The menu is vast and the pizzas are build-your-own. Tolla’s. Tucked away on Pennsylvania Avenue, Tolla’s is an insider’s find, a lovely independent restaurant boasting a straightforward red-sauce menu. tollasdeli.com Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant. Boasting a primo location in the heart of the Park Avenue shopping district, Pannullo’s has been putting out Italian classics at reasonable prices since 1992. pannullos.com Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria. This old-fashioned eatery, where garlic knots are a must, is a neighborhood go-to for residents of Winter Park’s east side. giovannisrestaurant.com
“BEST ITALIAN” — 2013 Silver Spoon Awards
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W inter Park 400 South Orlando Avenue s 407-644-7770 Reservations online at www.roccositaliangrille.com
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DINING LISTINGS THE KEY $ Cheap eats, most entrees under $10 $$ Moderate, dinner entrees $15-20 $$$ Pricey, most entrees over $30 $$$$ Many entrees over $30 AMERICAN The Bistro on Park Avenue 348 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-2313 / bistroonparkavenue.com. Located in the Hidden Gardens, this low-key eatery’s glass-enclosed garden room offers one of the prettiest settings on Park Avenue. Specialties include chef crab cakes, shrimp or crawfish étouffée and bistro-style pot roast. Breakfast is served on Saturdays with an excellent brunch featuring a variety of eggs Benedict made with salmon and soft-shell crab. It’s German Night on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. $$-$$ Briarpatch Restaurant 252 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-8651. This Park Avenue institution is crowded during breakfast and lunch—and on Sunday for brunch— and incredibly noisy. Fare includes fancy burgers, such as the Grafton white cheddar and sugar-cured bacon burger, as well as sandwiches, salads and omelets. But most patrons are particularly fond of the oversized homemade desserts, including an array of ice creams and such super-rich treats as chocolate layer cake. A bit of trivia: The restaurant’s marble counter once topped the soda fountain at Irvine’s Pharmacy, an even more venerable Park Avenue institution that operated from 1925 to 1973. $$-$$$ Carmel Café & Wine Bar, 140 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-513-4912/carmelcafe.com. The menu updates the traditional flavors and foods of Mediterranean rim countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Morocco. Choose from small- or large-plate options and pair foods with an international selection of wines available in three-, six- or nine-ounce pours.Tableside iPads enable guests to control preparation and pacing of the meal, from drinks to dessert, by scrolling, tapping and sending selections. The Cask & Larder 656 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-2333/caskandlarder.com. From the folks who brought us Ravenous Pig comes this “Southern Public House” in the former LeCordon Bleu location. “Cask” is for the beer that’s brewed on site and “larder” is an arcane term for a pantry used primarily in the South, so the cuisine is Southern-inspired, locally sourced and encompasses the general categories of sausage and country ham; vegetables and grains; fish and oysters; and such delectable oddities as grilled lamb heart, pork belly and foie-gras stuffed quail. Snoutto-tail specials for parties of eight or more involve serving up an entire animal, usually a pig. Now open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday, the midday menu offers more salads and sandwiches along with more substantial entrees such as rabbit meatloaf and trout. Menus change often to reflect local harvests and fresh catches. $$$ The Cheesecake Factory 520 North Orlando Ave., Winter Park. 407- 644-4220/thecheescakefactory.com. It’s generally always busy at The Cheescake Factory, but fans say the waits are worthwhile. Certainly, with a 20-page menu featuring more than 200 items, there’s something for everyone, including creative entrées as well as pizza, pasta, seafood and steak. There’s also a “skinnylicious” menu with lower-calorie options
such as shrimp summer rolls. The original, relatively unadorned cheesecake is wonderful, of course, but there are more than a dozen decadent options, including chocolate-coconut cream, peanut butter cup fudge ripple and peppermint bark. The presence of what appears to be paid advertising in the menu is rather jarring — I’ll bring the newspaper if I want to look at ads — but that offense is somewhat mitigated by the fact that, after the sun sets, it’s too dark inside to see the menu. $$$ The Coach Room 110 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-1166/bestwestern.com. This cozy restaurant tucked inside Winter Park’s venerable Best Western/ Mt. Vernon Inn isn’t flashy. But longtime locals know that The Coach Room, renowned for roasting turkeys daily, offers hearty lunches and tasty breakfasts as well as a welcoming, low-key ambience atypical for hotel eateries. At night the adjacent Red Fox Lounge, a refreshingly retro watering hole, draws a mixture of college hipsters and dapper elders. $-$$ The Coop: A Southern Affair. 610 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 32789/asouthernaffair.com. The eagerly awaited new comfort-food eatery from John Rivers (4 Rivers Smokehouse) is drawing big crowds with such Deep South favorites as chicken and waffles, fried chicken, buttermilk biscuit sandwiches, Low Country shrimp and grits, smothered pork chops, chickenfriend steak. fried catfish, shepherd’s pie, mac and cheese, po’ boy sandwiches, fried gizzards, pot roast and meatloaf. You can even get fried chicken by the bucket. And don’t forget dessert, such as Coop Moon Pies and old-school banana pudding. $$ Dexter’s 558 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407-6291150 / dexwine.com. Central Florida has three Dexter’s locations, each of which has become a neighborhood hangout, drawing diners of all ages for hearty portions of creative American fare (at fair prices), good wine and, in some cases, live music. Casual dress is the rule. The brunches, and the pressed duck sandwiches, are especially popular. For dinner, country-fried lamb— yes, lamb—is an unexpected but tasty choice. $$-$$$ Hamilton’s Kitchen. 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park/thealfondinn.com. Named for the innovative former Rollins College president, Hamilton Holt, the warm and welcoming restaurant at the newly opened Alfond Inn boasts an early 1900s ambience, with a hearth-inspired kitchen window, exposed beams, farmer’s table and Dutch oak floors. The cuisine features traditional Southern offerings using locally sourced ingredients. Hamilton’s is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. $$$ Hillstone 215 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-7404005 / hillstone.com/hillstone. Formerly known as Houston’s, this Winter Park mainstay is part of a high-end chain. Still, it grows its own herbs, bakes its own bread, grinds its own meat, cuts its own fish and whips its own cream. In nice weather, guests relax with a cocktail in Adirondack chairs overlooking Lake Killarney. Many have popped the proverbial question during romantic dinners for two on the boat dock. $$$ Keke’s Breakfast Café 345 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-1400 / kekesbreakfastcafe.com. Keke’s serves up a solid lunch, but this place is really all about breakfast, more specifically the waffles, French toast and oversized pancakes, offered with fruit, granola and chocolate chips. You may encounter a wait on weekend mornings, but be patient — it’s worth it. $$
Marlow’s Tavern, 1008 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407960-3670/marlowstavern.com. Classic American tavern fare, including an array of big and juicy burgers, served in an upscale pub environment, with exposed-brick walls, dark wood accents and leather-upholstered booths. The appetizers are wonderful, especially J.T.’s Kettle Chips, including gorgonzola cheese and bacon. Outdoor seating is under a sizeable covered patio, where there’s sometimes live entertainment. $$ Park Plaza Gardens 319 S. Park Ave., 407-645-2475, parkplazagardens.com. Located adjacent to the historic Park Plaza Hotel, this Winter Park institution boasts a clubby, cozy bar and sidewalk café for leisurely drinks, casual meals and unparalleled people watching. Café specialties include appetizers, soups, sandwiches, burgers and a lovely array of salads. At the rear of the building is the elegant atrium dining room, a posh, patio-style space where you are surrounded by large trees and lush vegetation beneath a soaring ceiling of glass. The food is worthy of the setting, melding American, European and Asian flavors and cooking techniques. Specialties of the house include beef carpaccio, filet of beef tenderloin, chicken curry salad and crab-stuffed grouper. Bananas foster is a showy but delightful dessert. $$$-$$$$ Scratch 223 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-3255165/scratchtapas.com. This brand-new, shabby-chic hot spot features a tapas menu that emphasizes fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. The cheese plate is an excellent starter and there aren’t too many places in town where you can get pork belly, which here is soy-glazed and enhanced by calamansi juice, micro cilantro, carrot puree, black rice and scallions. The shrimp and grits are tasty, too, but in a tapas restaurant, with its small servings, you need not limit yourself.The beverage menu includes craft beer, microbrews and fine wines. $$ 310 Park South 310 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-6477277 / 310parksouth.net. New American cuisine featuring fresh seafood, beef, pasta dishes, signature salads and sandwiches. Dine outside along the Avenue and enjoy daily lunch and dinner specials, a children’s menu or Sunday brunch. Steak, chicken and pasta entrées dominate the menu, but there’s also a very nice, slowly roasted half duck finished with a plum demi-glace. If you prefer to dine at home, call ahead and pick up your favorite dish. $$-$$$ Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen 2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-672-5753 / tibbysneworleans-kitchen.com. If you’re looking for a quiet, intimate dining experience, this is not the place for you. Tibby’s is loud, raucous and fun, with Crescent City favorites like shrimp Creole, crawfish pie and, for dessert, powdered beignets. Tibby’s was named for the late Walter “Tibby” Tabony, a Big Easy native and great-uncle of restaurateur Brian Wheeler, who also founded Tijuana Flats. The old man, whose colorful biography is on the menu, would certainly have approved of the shrimp and andouille cheddar grits and the hand-battered fried pickle slices, which are expertly fried and served with a rich rémoulade sauce. $$ ASIAN Orchid Thai Cuisine 305 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-331-1400. Enjoy authentic Thai food — with orchids (what else?) garnishing many dishes — in a primo Park Avenue location. Traditional offerings include green curry highlighted by coconut gravy infused with kaffir lime and Thai basil, larb chicken, tom yum soup and curry puffs. For a light and refreshing dessert, try the Thai doughnuts, sweetened by a peanut-sprinkled dip
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Welcome, Chef Marc Kusche The Alfond Inn is proud to welcome Marc Kusche as the new Executive Chef at its popular Hamilton’s Kitchen restaurant. Chef Kusche comes to The Alfond following a long tenure as Executive Chef for several Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, as well as other luxury properties. Most recently he served as Executive Chef at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, in Carlsbad, Calif. “Chef Marc’s experience with some of the leading names in luxury hotels and his love for fresh and light local flavors are the perfect match,” said Deanne Gabel, General Manager. “We’re thrilled to share his creations with all of our guests.” Chef Kusche will oversee Hamilton’s Kitchen, with its exposed beams, farmer’s table and Dutch oak floors, where visitors and locals alike enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Hamilton’s Kitchen also has a private dining room, accommodating up to 24 guests. In addition to Hamilton’s Kitchen, Chef Kusche will oversee The Alfond’s extensive catering menus for meetings, special events and wedding packages.
Breakfast: 7:00 pm – 11:00 am Lunch: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm Dinner: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Sunday – Tuesday) & 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Wednesday – Saturday) Sunday Brunch: 7:00 am – 2:00 pm
300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 407-998-8089 www.thealfondinn.com
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DINING LISTINGS of condensed milk. The cozy restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating. $$-$$$ P.F. Chang’s China Bistro 436 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-0188 / pfchangs.com. The popular restaurant chain, with more than 200 locations in North America, offers upscale Chinese classics artfully presented, with many sauces made tableside by servers. Signature entrées include diced chicken wrapped in lettuce leaves, orange-peel beef with chili peppers and wok-fried scallops with lemon sauce. The busy Winter Park Village venue features an outdoor patio. $$ Seoul Garden 511 E. Horatio Ave., Maitland, 407-5995199/orlandokoreanrestaurant.com. Seoul Garden is so Asian-focused that the “About Us” section of its website is written in Korean. That authenticity extends to the food. Barbecue meats are grilled to order in the dining room. Be sure to try the marinated beef short ribs and the soft tofu stew. $ BARBECUE Bubbaloo’s Bodacious Barbecue 1471 Lee Road, Winter Park, 407-628-1212/bubbaloos.com. It now has five locations, but the original Bubbaloo’s is a Winter Park institution, serving up traditional pork and beef platters as well as brisket, livers and gizzards and sides of beans, greens and mac and cheese. It’s definitely an experience best suited to the barbecue purist. $ 4 Rivers Smokehouse 1600 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-474-8377 / 4rsmokehouse.com. A diverse menu of barbecue specialties—from Texas-style brisket to pulled pork, smoked turkey and bacon-wrapped jalapenos—has gained this homegrown concept a huge following. The expanded Winter Park location also features scrumptious desserts created in the Longwood store’s in-house bakery. The Mississippi mud cake, in particular, is scrumptious. $ BAKERY/CAFE Panera Bread 329 N. Park Ave., Ste. 107, Winter Park/ panerabread.com. On the south end of Park Avenue sits a Starbucks; on the north end a Panera holds sway. But while Starbucks is pretty much strictly a place for coffee, Panera offers amazing bakery items and its signature fresh-and-healthy soups, salads and sandwiches. So we consider it to be as much a restaurant as a coffeehouse, as do most of its patrons. This particular location is a large space, conveniently located next to a parking garage, and offers abundant outside seating to facilitate people-watching. $ BURGERS BurgerFi 538 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-2010/ burgerfi.com. This Delray Beach-based chain joins Five Guys and Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries in Central Florida’s suddenly sizzling burger category. You order at the counter and a server brings your food. The burger buns, interestingly, are branded with the name of the restaurant while the burgers themselves are fashioned from grass-fed, steroid-free beef. The fries are thick cut and house made and there are some 120 beverages from which to choose, including tea, wine, soft drinks and craft beer. Frozen custard is a nice treat on a hot day. $-$$ CREATIVE/PROGRESSIVE Luma on Park 290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407599-4111 / lumaonpark.com. If there’s pancetta in your salad, the salumi was made in the kitchen, by hand, starting with a whole pig. Most herbs are from local
farms, fish from sustainable sources, pickled vegetables jarred in-house and desserts built around seasonal ingredients. Luma’s progressive menu, which changes daily, is served in a sleek and stylish dining room in the heart of Winter Park, under the passionate direction of Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery, Chef de Cuisine Derek Perez and Pastry Chef Brian Cernell. $$$ Fresh 535 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 321-2957837/freshcafe.wp.com. You’d expect globally inspired cuisine in a restaurant owned by partners who are Filipino-Italian and Panamanian-Lebanese, respectively. And that’s what you get at aptly named Fresh, where the ingredients are uniformly fresh and largely locally sourced. The ever-changing menu features such entrees as seared scallops with lime-ginger beurre blanc, butternut squash ravioli and succulent beef tenderloin. The grilled peach with mozzarella, prosciutto, lemon honey vinaigrette and mint is an out-of-the-ordinary salad. $$$-$$$$ The Ravenous Pig 1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-2333 / theravenouspig.com. After leaving their hometown for serious culinary training, Winter Park natives James and Julie Petrakis returned to open the region’s first genuine gastropub. Dinner reservations have been tough to snag ever since. The ambitious menu changes daily based on the fish, meat and produce that’s available, and it’s executed by a dedicated team that abhors shortcuts. Besides daily specials, The Pig always serves up an excellent burger, soft pretzels, shrimp and grits and a donut-esque dessert called Pig Tails. $$$ DINER Linda’s Winter Park Diner, 177 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-2343. Look up “diner” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of Linda’s, which just celebrated its 25th year in Winter Park serving up hearty breakfasts and meat-plus-three lunch specials. It’s retro, but not in a precious, self-conscious way. It simply is what it is. Be sure to bring cash; Linda’s doesn’t take credit cards. $ FRENCH Café de France 526 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407647-1869 / lecafedefrance.com. Dominique Gutierrez, who’s from Vendée, on the Atlantic coast of France, still greets Café de France diners as if they’re old friends. At this point, many are. Despite a kitchen staffed with chefs, she still prepares the house-made pâtés the way her mother taught her years ago. Look for classics such as garlicky escargot and au courant entrées such as rack of lamb with mint, eggplant purée and crisp wild mushrooms. $$-$$$ Café 906 906 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-9750600 / cafe906.blogspot.com. Within this nondescript freestanding building is a friendly, low-key little restaurant where French expat Vincent Vallée will brew you a cappuccino, warm up a slice of quiche Lorraine or indulge you with a peanut-butter filled lava cake — dark chocolate or white. Be sure to try the “salted” pound cake, a savory snack made with goat cheese, walnuts and raisins stirred in, or the bacon quiche, a light, fluffy delight with a delicate and flaky crust. $ Chez Vincent 533 W. New England Ave, Winter Park, 407-599-2929 / chezvincent.com. Orlandoans have headed to chef Vincent Gagliano’s Hannibal Square hideaway for 15 years, dressing up for formal evenings made even more special with trout in lemon-butter and pork tenderloin slathered with Dijon sauce. The inti-
mate space has two sister enterprises: a below-ground wine cellar that hosts private meals for up to 30, and a lounge known as Hannibal’s that dishes up American and French favorites. $$-$$$ Croissant Gourmet 120 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-622-7753 / croissantgourmet.com. Tucked onto a side street behind simple glass walls, Croissant Gourmet is so small you might not notice it. Seek it out. Under the expert guidance of pastry chef François Cahagne, this simple spot turns out tray after tray of the region’s finest croissants and pastries. Quiches are superb here, as are the grilled croque monsieur and madame sandwiches. $-$$ Dylan’s Deli 1198 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-6227578 / dylansdeli.net. In a disjointed little space featuring warm fresco colors and distinctive touches such as arched doorways, Dylan’s Deli offers not only the pastrami sandwiches you’d expect but also a wondrous assortment of French fare. Crêpes and paninis filled with an array of Gallic and international flavors make for satisfying lunches, while montaditos (platters of meats, cheeses, nuts and more) and charcuterie plates pair well with French wines and beers after dark. $$-$$$ Le Macaron French Pastries 216 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 321-295-7958 / lemacaron-us.com. Le Macaron serves up 16 flavors of petite pastel cookies, each made primarily with frothy meringue and ground almonds. The noshes are delicate yet filling, and come in varieties such as black currant, pistachio and chestnut-ginger-chocolate. These are nothing like similarly named macaroons, made with coconut. $ Paris Bistro 216 N. Park Ave., 407-671-4424, Winter Park / parisbistroparkavenue.com. Paris Bistro is a restaurant divided: Some seats are tucked away behind Park Avenue’s Shops on Park building, past a koi pond. The others beckon along a bustling stretch of sidewalk. Wherever you choose to indulge, you’ll find French classics (coq au vin, beef burgundy) plus a slew of daily specials (roasted rack of lamb flambéed with brandy and topped with a porcini mushroom sauce) created by chef and co-owner Sebastian Colce. $$-$$$ Sweet Traditions 212 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407622-2232. After developing a robust business in downtown Winter Garden, proprietors Christine and Stephan Crocher snuggled a second café next to Paris Gourmet. Sweet Traditions offers breads, pastries, crêpes, sandwiches and quiches. The fruit tart is the ideal go-to dessert when you’re having company. Unlike the Winter Garden location, the Winter Park outlet offers crunchy and steamy pressed sandwiches, and breakfast is served all day. $ ITALIAN Antonio’s 611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-645-5523 / antoniosonline.com. Fine Italian fare comes at reasonable prices at Antonio’s, proprietor Greg Gentile’s culinary homage to his ancestors. The upstairs restaurant, recently remodeled and expanded with a balcony overlooking Lake Lily, is somewhat formal, although the open kitchen provides peeks of the chefs in action. Its downstairs counterpart, Antonio’s Café, is a more casual spot that doubles as a market and wine shop. It’s easy to fill up on fresh, crusty bread and olive oil, but don’t—you’ll want to leave room for such staples as wood-grilled salmon, rigatoni with chicken, fettuccine Alfredo, pollo marsala, veal picatta and much more. $$$ Brio Tuscan Grille 480 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-5611 / brioitalian.com. Located in Winter Park Village, Brio is a Tuscan treasure. Try the roasted lamb
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&RESH "RUSCHETTA WITH 0ITCHER OF 3ANGRIA OR "OTTLE OF (OUSE 7INE
OVER 60 DINNER ENTREES
FROM UNDER DOLLARS TO CHOOSE FROM Affordable Extensive Wine Selection 3 0ARK !VE 7INTER 0ARK s
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chops, a full rack, or the filletto di manzo toscana, an 8-ounce, center-cut filet. Lunch features paninis and sandwiches as well as lunch-sized servings of popular dinner dishes. Pastas are made in-house and breads are baked fresh in an Italian oven. The ambience is upscale, but kids have their own menu. $$ Buca di Beppo 1351 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407622-7663 / bucadibeppo.com. This national chain is owned by Orlando resident (and Planet Hollywood founder) Robert Earl, who has remade it onto a fun, kitschy place for family dining. The portions are humongous, and the food is served family style. A standout entrée is linguine fruitti di mari, a large portion of pasta served in a lasagna pan and filled with mussels, calamari, clams and shrimp drizzled with an olive oil sauce. The pizzas are excellent, too. $$$ Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant 216 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-7270 / pannullos.com. Housed in one of Park Avenue’s oldest buildings, Pannullo’s is approaching its 20th anniversary and has become something of a fixture itself. The menu features everything from pizza to classic pasta dishes, but you can’t go wrong with the lobster ravioli or the chicken gorgonzola. And check out the veggie-heavy salad bar. $$ Prato 124 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-262-0050 / prato-wp.com. This is one of Orlando’s very best Italian restaurants, but don’t expect a classic lasagna or chicken parmigiana. Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery and Chef di Cucina Matthew Cargo oversee an open kitchen in which pastas are made from scratch, pizzas are rolled to order, sausages are stuffed by hand and the olive oil is a luscious organic pour from Italy. Try the chicken liver Toscana, a satisfying salad Campagna with cubes of sizzling pancetta tesa, shrimp tortellini and citrusy rabbit cacciatore. Begin with a Negroni cocktail; it’s possibly the best around. $$-$$$ Rocco’s 400 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-6447770 / roccositaliangrille.com. Calabria native Rocco Potami oversees this romantic Italian eatery, where fine authentic fare is presented in an intimate dining room and on a secluded brick patio. Classics include carpaccio (raw, thinly sliced beef with white truffle oil and arugula), ricotta gnocchi and a breaded veal chop topped with a lightly dressed salad. It’s easy to miss, tucked away in a Winter Park strip center, but once you find it, you’ll be back. $$$ Tolla’s Italian Deli & Café 240 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-0068 / tollasitalianrestaurant. com. Chef-owner Gary Tolla cooks up authentic homestyle Italian fare in this small café in a quieter part of Winter Park. The offerings range from hot subs and pizzas to antipasto and veal saltimbocca. Be sure to try the bruschetta. $$ LATIN Mi Tomatina 433 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 321-972-4317 / mitomatina.com. This eatery bills itself as a paella bar, and indeed guests share a half-dozen varieties of the signature Spanish rice dish. Yet others come for a mellow meal over tapas (garlic shrimp, potato omelet, croquettes) and sangria, enjoyed while seated within a small contemporary dining room or outdoors overlooking Hannibal Square. $$-$$$ MEDITERRANEAN Bosphorous 108 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-8609 / bosphorousrestaurant.com. This is the place for flavorful Turkish fare in either a white-tablecloth setting or alfresco
along Park Avenue. Many couples fill up on the appetizer sampler with oversized lavash bread. For a heartier meal, try the ground lamb “Turkish pastry,” a shish kebab or a tender lamb shank. Outdoor diners can end their meals by smoking from a hookah. Or not. $$ MEXICAN/SOUTHWESTERN Cocina 214 151 E. Wellbourne Ave., Winter Park, 407790-7997. The area code of Dallas is 214, so this stylish eatery’s name makes sense when you consider that its menu offers creative, gourmet interpretations of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. The huevos rancheros, flanked by Mexican rice and black beans, makes an ideal brunch, with fried eggs served atop corn tortillas and topped with melted queso blanco and red rancheros sauce. Also notable: the truffle mushroom quesadilla and braised pork tacos with mango as well as pescado rico, a large serving of mahi-mahi, wilted spinach and grilled veggies in a roasted poblano cream sauce. The main dining room encompasses freestanding tables and banquettes and there’s a spacious patio where pooches are welcome. $$ P.R.’s Taco Palace. 499 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-2225. This charmingly dumpy but iconic Winter Park eatery, located adjacent to the railroad tracks, serves up hearty portions of Tex-Mex fare including chimichangas, fajitas, tostadas and, of course, tacos. A specialty of the house is the outrageously proportioned fundido, a deep-fried flour tortilla filled with your choice of shredded or blackened chicken, shredded or ground beef and cream cheese. Many, many margaritas are consumed on the premises, and discounted tequila shots are offered whenever a train rumbles past. $-$$ POLISH Anna’s Polish Restaurant, 3586 Aloma Ave, No. 7, Winter Park/ 32792. Enjoy Polish classics such as cabbage noodles, Cracovia chicken cutlet, beef goulash, pork schnitzel, potato pancakes and hunter’s stew with cabbage, mushrooms, beef, pork and sausage served with mashed potatoes. There’s also a delightful array of desserts and a kids’ menu. $-$$ PUBS & GRILLS Fiddler’s Green 544 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-2050 / fiddlersgreenorlando.com. This is as authentically Irish as you’ll find in Orlando, with a menu featuring bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, hen in a pot, Irish stew and, of course, fish and chips as well as a wide selection of Irish beers. The ambience is enhanced by dark wood, cozy clutter and rowdy groups of “footballers” cheering televised matches. $-$$ Orlando Ale House 101 University Park Drive, Winter Park, 407-671-1011 / millersalehouse.com. Part of the Miller’s Ale House regional chain of casual-dining restaurants, most of which are in Florida, the Winter Park location offers daily lunch and dinner specials. Along with a huge beer selection, the Ale House features signature boneless chicken wings and “Captain Jack’s Buried Treasure,” a layered ice cream cake. $-$$ SEAFOOD Mitchell’s Fish Market 460 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-339-3474 / mitchellsfishmarket.com. A high-end seafood chain that prides itself on being “absolutely, positively obsessed with freshness,” the family-friendly restaurant also offers a gluten-free menu and special meals for kids. Signature dishes include charbroiled oysters, Maine lobster bisque and a “Fish Market Trio” of blackened salm-
on, broiled salmon and sea scallops. $$-$$$ Winter Park Fish Co. 761 Orange Ave. Winter Park, 407-622-6112 / thewinterparkfishco.com. Fish and seafood dishes are fresh and well prepared at this humble Winter Park spot, where a counter-service format helps keep prices reasonable. Crab cakes, lobster rolls, mahi-mahi sandwiches and more ambitious dishes such as grouper cheeks in parchment and stuffed grouper are among a typical day’s offerings. $$ STEAK Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster 729 Lee Rd., Orlando, 407-645-4443 / christnersprimesteakandlobster. com. Locals have been choosing this prototypically masculine, dark-wood-and-red-leather enclave for business dinners and family celebrations for more than a decade. Family-owned since 1993, Christner’s features USDA Prime, corn-fed Midwestern beef or Australian cold-water lobster tails with a slice of the restaurant’s legendary mandarin orange cake. And there’s a loooong wine list (6,500 bottles). On select nights, Kostya Kimlat hosts magic shows along with a prix-fixe menu in a private dining room. $$$$ Fleming’s 933 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-699-9463 / flemingssteakhouse.com. Fleming’s puts a younger spin on the stately steakhouse concept, featuring sleek décor and 100 wines by the glass along with its prime steaks and chops. The tempura lobster “small plate” with soyginger dipping sauce is a worthy pre-entrée splurge. For a taste of the old-fashioned, visit on Sunday, when prime rib is served. $$$$ Nelore Churrascaria 115 E. Lyman Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-1112 / neloresteakhouse.com. This is one of two Nelore Brazilian all-you-can-eat steakhouses—the other one is in Houston—where the servers, or “gauchos,” come to your table as often as you’d like bearing skewers of premier beef, chicken or pork. There’s a world-class salad bar and Brazilian cheese bread to keep you happy between meat courses. $$$$ Ruth’s Chris 610 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407622-2444 / ruthschris.com. With three old-school steakhouses and its corporate headquarters near Winter Park Village, Ruth’s Chris, a native of New Orleans, has become an Orlando special-occasion mainstay. Its service-oriented restaurants specialize in massive corn-fed Midwestern steaks served sizzling and topped with butter. Most side dishes are more than ample for two. $$$$ VEGETARIAN Café 118 153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-3892233 / cafe118.com. Raw foods—none cooked past 118 degrees—are the focus of this health-conscious niche café, which attracts raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians. The spinach and beet ravioli stuffed with cashew ricotta is an impressive imitation of the Italian staple. Thirsty Park Avenue shoppers might stop by for a healthful smoothie. $$ Ethos Vegan Kitchen 601-B South New York Ave., Winter Park 407-407-228-3898/ethosvegankitchen.com. After serving up vegan fare for five years at its original location on North Orange Avenue, this 100 percent vegan eatery moved to Winter Park last year. A luncheon favorite is the Ethos Club Sandwich, with Tofurkey deli slices, Canadian bacon, lettuce, tomato, mustard and veganaise layered between three pieces of levain toast. A meat-free shepherd’s pie and crab cakes made from chickpeas are among the other unique offerings. $$
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events art, history, entertainment and more
Victorian Values Lacking televisions and gaming devices, children in the 19th century were compelled to — wait for it — read for entertainment. And their books, usually written by women, were beautifully illustrated and often imparted moral lessons. See what sorts of stories shaped the thinking of Victorianera youngsters at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art’s exhibit, Lullaby and Goodnight: Children’s Literature from the Morse Collection. Three authors are showcased: Kate Greenaway (1846-1901); Mary Dow Brine (1836-1925); and Eulalie Osgood Grover (1873–1958). Grover eventually retired to Winter Park, became an activist for the education of poor children and co-founded the Hannibal Square Library with her brother, Edwin Osgood Grover, a Rollins professor. An inscribed first edition of Eulalie Osgood Grover’s seminal work, The Sunbonnet Babies’ Primer, is among the almost 20 books on display, along with vintage dolls, ceramic nursery tiles and even a rocking chair from the Chicago bedroom of the museum’s founder, Jeannette Genius McKean. The image above is a woodblock print from A Apple Pie, written in 1886 by Greenway. The museum is located at 445 N. Park Ave. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. For more information, call 407- 645-5311 or visit morsemuseum.org. S U MME R 2 0 1 4 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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EVENTS VISUAL ARTS The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Although the museum is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor, it also stages frequent exhibitions from internationally renowned artists working in all mediums. Running through Aug. 24 is Michelee Puppets and the Art of Puppetry, a collaborative exhibition exploring the rich and multicultural history behind the art of puppetry. Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Ave. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Art & History Museums-Maitland. The Maitland Art Center at 231 W. Packwood Ave., one of a trio of museums that anchor the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect André Smith. The center, which offers exhibits and classes, is one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Running through Aug. 10 is Battlefield, featuring war- and conflict-related works by Smith as well as Kevin Haran, Steven Gregory and Ellen Susan. Monthly events include Family Days at the Museum, held the third Saturday of each month at 1 p.m.; Artists’ Critique and Conversation, held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.; and Ladies’ Art Lounge, held the first Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Additional components of the complex include the Maitland Historical Museum & Telephone Museum, 221 W. Packwood Ave. The museum’s permanent exhibit, Maitland Legacies: Creativity and Innovation, uses archival photographs, artifacts and documents to commemorate the city’s founding families and earliest institutions. Running through Oct. 5 is Veterans Remembered, which salutes local military veterans, while running through Aug. 10 is Signal Corps Phones, which displays early information technology used by the U.S. armed forces. The third component of the complex is the Waterhouse Residence and Carpentry Shop Museum, 820 Lake Lily Drive, which was built in the 1880s by a pioneering Maitland resident. Running through Aug. 10 is The Waterhouse at War, which reviews the military service of five generations of Waterhouse family members who occupied the home before it became a museum. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org.
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Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections in Florida. Running through Aug. 31 are three exhibits: Recent Acquisitions, presenting gifts and purchases from the last two years, with an emphasis on American photography and contemporary art; Allure of Ancient Rome: Old Masters Prints and Drawings from the Permanent Collection, showcasing a selection of prints, drawings and an illustrated book dating between 1540 and 1750; and The Rollins Faculty Exhibition, featuring works by Joshua Almond, Rose Casterline, Julian Chambliss, Dana Hargrove, Lee Lines, Dawn Roe and Rachel Simmons. On July 22 at 6 p.m., enjoy light refreshments and lively conversation at Art Tastings With the Director, during which Ena Heller, the museum’s Bruce A. Beal Director, informally discusses art-related topics. Admission is free for Director’s Circle members, $15 for regular members and $25 for non-members. Reservations are required. CFAMily Day, slated Aug. 8 from 2-6 p.m., offers family oriented activities such as gallery tours, scavenger hunts, and handson art making. Admission is free and materials are provided. Also check out First Fridays, held the first
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EVENTS Friday of each month from 4-8 p.m., and the Fourth Friday Lecture Series, held the fourth Friday of each month at 11 a.m. An ongoing program is Conversations: Selections from the Permanent Collection, which aims to inspire dialogue about art created during disparate time periods and among various cultures. Works are grouped under four broad thematic categories: Religion Redefined, Gesture and Pose, A Sense of Place and History and Myth. Courtesy of Bessemer Trust, admission to the museum remains free throughout 2014. 407-647-2526. cfam.rollins.edu. Crealde School of Art. Established in 1975, this not-forprofit arts organization offers year-round visual arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. There are ongoing exhibits in the William and Alice Jenkins Gallery and the Showalter Hughes Community Gallery. Admission to the galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 St. Andrews Blvd. 407-671-1886. crealde.org. Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African American west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents. Admission to the center is free. 642 W. New England Ave. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheriotagecenter.org. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The museum houses the world’s most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry,
pottery, paintings, art glass and the entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Currently on display is The Wreck, an 1880 oil painting by American artist and decorator Lockwood de Forest, which depicts five Bedouins riding their camels across the desert with the skeletal remains of a camel in the foreground. The 36-by-48-inch Orientalist work is on view for the first time following extensive conservation. The exhibit includes other de Forest oil studies from the museum’s collection and will be supplemented by material, such as photos and essays, aimed at helping viewers develop a full appreciation of the painting’s creation, context and symbolism. Lullaby and Goodnight, which runs through January 2015, focuses on three authors noted for illustrating early children’s literature: Kate Greenaway, Mary Dow Brine and Eulalie Osgood Grover (see page 65). Also running through January 2015 is Vignette: The Art of Fountain Pens, which displays more than 100 classic pens complemented by period advertisements, Tiffany desk sets and other writing accessories. Curator Tours of the Tiffany wing galleries are held on Tuesdays from 11-11:45 a.m. and 2:30-3:15 p.m. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. 445 N. Park Ave. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. FESTIVALS Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. The annual festival, which is the only juried art show to feature Florida artists exclusively, is held on the second weekend in
October, which this year falls on Oct. 11-12. In addition to top-notch visual art, visitors will enjoy live entertainment, children’s activities and more. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days and admission is free. Central Park, Park Avenue. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. PERFORMING ARTS Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater presents the Central Florida premiere of Backwards in High Heels (Aug. 1-23), a musical that traces the life and career of legendary hoofer Ginger Rogers. It’s followed by They’re Playing Our Song (Sept. 12-Oct. 4), a musical comedy by Neil Simon with music by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager. Inspired by the real-life relationship between Hamlisch and Sager, the show will feature Playhouse founders Roy Alan and Heather Alexander in the starring roles. Other shows in the 2014-2015 season are: The Rat Pack Lounge (Jan. 16-Feb. 14, 2015); A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (March 6-28, 2015); and Putting It Together (April 17-May 9, 2015). 711 Orange Ave. 407645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org. FILM Enzian Film Series. This cozy alternative cinema offers several film series: Wednesday Night Pitcher Show (first and third Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., free admission plus happy hour refreshments); Cult Classics (second and last Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., $5 admission); and Saturday Matinee Classics (second Saturdays at noon, free admission). 1300 S. Orlando Ave. 407-629-0054. floridafilmfestival.com or enzian.org.
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EVENTS HAPPENINGS Winter Park Sip, Shop & Stroll. The Park Avenue Merchants Association invites you to experience Winter Park’s signature thoroughfare in an up-closeand-personal way. Participating retailers and restaurants will roll out the proverbial red carpet, offering food and beverage pairings and keeping their doors open for extended hours. This year’s event is slated for Sept. 18 beginning at 5 p.m. Admission is $25, and reservations are encouraged. 407-644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. City of Winter Park Olde Fashioned 4th of July Celebration. The city’s annual festivities will feature live patriotic music performed by the Bach Festival Brass Band and the Bach Festival Choir, horse-drawn wagon rides and much more. 11 a.m.-midnight. Central Park, Park Avenue. Admission is free. HISTORY Winter Park History Museum. With a new SunRail station just making its debut, the museum takes a timely look at railroading history with A Whistle in the Distance: The Trains of Winter Park. This fascinating multimedia exhibit traces the role of railroads in Winter Park’s growth and development. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the cityís founding as a New England-style resort in the 1880s (see pages 42-46). Admission is free. 200 W. New England Ave. 407-6442330. wphistory.org. The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combat-
ing anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibit space, archives and a research library. Admission to exhibits, programs and films is free. 851 N. Maitland Ave. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu. org.
Maitland Farmers Market. This year-round, open-air market features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses along with plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music provided by the Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a serene boardwalk, jogging trails and a playground as well as picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive. itsmymaitland.com.
Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville, arguably the first municipality in the U.S. formed by African Americans, is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information on the historic city and sponsors quarterly exhibitions featuring the works of African American artists. Eatonville’s Zora Neale Hurston Trail encompasses 16 historic sites and 10 markers; a walking/ driving tour brochure is available at the museum. There is no admission charge, although donations are accepted. For group tours, there is a fee and reservations are required. 227 East Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville. 407-647-3307. zoranealehurstonmuseum.com.
Winter Park Farmers Market. The regionís busiest and arguably most popular farmers market is held every Saturday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. at the old railroad depot. There you’ll find fine baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items for sale. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 W. New England Ave. cityofwinterpark.org.
MARKETS Food Truck Fiesta. This family-friendly event, which takes place the fourth Saturday of each month, features live music and delicious food. Pets are welcome. Noon-5 p.m. Fleet Peeples Park, 2000 S. Lakemont Ave. 407-296-5882. cityofwinterpark.com.
BUSINESS Business After Hours. Winter Park Chamber of Commerce members, local business owners and community leaders gather to network in a casual atmosphere. Events are held the third Thursday of most months, with few exceptions. Appetizers and beverages are served. Upcoming dates and locations include: July 17, Orlando Orthopaedic; Aug. 21, Re/Max Winter Park; Sept. 25, Title Boxing Club; and Oct. 16, the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Hours are 5:30- 7:30 p.m. and admission is $5 for members, $15 for nonmembers. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Executive Women. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce hosts these monthly lunchtime
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gatherings, which feature networking opportunities for women business owners and a guest speaker who addresses topics on leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Upcoming dates and speakers include: Aug. 4, John Rivers, owner of 4 Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop; Sept. 8, Robert Hill, artistic director of Orlando Ballet; and Oct. 6, Rosemary Steinbach, president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Greater Orlando Chapter. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch and program at noon. Admission is $20 for members, $25 for non-members; reservations required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract chamber members, local residents and community leaders who enjoy coffee and conversation regarding an array of community issues. Programs are typically held the second Friday of each. Upcoming dates include July 11, Aug. 8, Sept. 12 and Oct. 10. Networking begins at 7:45 a.m. and the program begins at 8:15 a.m. Admission is free, and a complimentary continental breakfast is served. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Small Business Education Series. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Resource Network, this program provides businesspeople with insight into how to be successful in todayâ€™s rapidly changing competitive environment. Upcoming dates are Aug. 15, Sept. 19 and Oct. 17. Admission is free for members, $10 for guests. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Political Mingle. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce hosts an evening of hobnobbing with candidates for fallâ€™s hottest races. Held Wednesday, July 23, beginning at 5 p.m. Admission is $25 for members, $30 for non-members. Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center, 1050 W. Morse Blvd. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Education Update Breakfast. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce hosts a panel discussion, Education & Economics, on the social and economic value of excellent schools. The event, held Aug. 21 beginning at 7:45 a.m., includes a hot breakfast. Admission is $25 in advance for members, $30 for non-members. Corporate tables are also available. Winter Park Community Center, 721 W. New England Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
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A BRIGHTER FUTURE FLORIDA’S POPULAR SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM NEEDS TO BE RETOOLED. BY JIM DESIMONE
s students head to college this fall, the Bright Futures Scholarship Program — a large and popular state financial-aid initiative — is struggling to preserve its solvency and is unable to help tens of thousands of budding scholars who would have qualified for in-state tuition support in previous years. The state legislature’s method for reducing these student grants, meanwhile, is raising issues of fairness and effectiveness. Bright Futures, founded in 1997, traditionally awarded scholarships to a broad cross section of incoming undergraduates. For example, in 2008 a high-school student could cop a grant with, among other things, unremarkable standardized test scores of 970 on the SAT or a 20 on the ACT. A 3.0, or B, grade point average was good enough. The 2008 SAT threshold was 12 percentage points lower than the average combined score of Florida high-school students last year. With an expansive definition of “merit,” one out of every three Florida high-school graduates received an initial Bright Futures award in 2008. Better yet, the Florida Lottery picked up the tab, shelling out almost a half-billion dollars that year without the need for any state tax increase. Hooray! What’s not to like? Florida designed the scholarship program to encourage satisfactory academic performance and, in theory, to help direct high-skilled college graduates into the state’s workforce. The program was doing just what it was intended to do. But then reality hit. Lottery revenues were maturing and couldn’t continue to absorb skyrocketing scholarship outlays. So Florida slashed the value of the scholarships and increased the standards required to qualify by mandating higher test scores. This year, state economists project just 12 percent of high-school graduates will receive an initial award, which can range from $2,300 to $3,100 a year for a full-time student. They also estimate the number of scholarships will contin-
ue to steeply decline through 2017. Government leaders say that Bright Futures must live within its means. That sounds fair to me. But how these leaders cut grants has been less so. That’s because the Florida legislature has limited awards by repeatedly hiking the SAT test score requirement, which is now 1170. That’s 188 points above the most recent SAT average. They’ve also hiked the ACT threshold, to an equally aggressive 26. Meanwhile, they’ve left the 3.0 GPA minimum untouched. Yes, there’s a back-story here. The problem is significant standardized testing achievement gaps between white and Asian-American students on one hand, and Hispanic and African-American students on the other. There’s a similar gap between well-off (or high socioeconomic status) students and low-SES students. Consequently, Hispanic students could see a 60 percent drop in scholarships, while the number of black recipients could drop by 75 percent, according to a recent University of South Florida analysis. That’s a problem, because minority and poor students — those who are least likely to be awarded Bright Futures scholarships — are the populations who’ve traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, and typically can least afford tuition. Meanwhile, well-off students, who can better afford standardized test prep courses and coaches, are overrepresented. So, let’s regroup here. This is a merit scholarship program, isn’t it? Equal results were never promised. However, Bright Futures does promise to identify high-school talent effectively.
Raising the GPA requirement, for example, may make better sense in defining merit. That’s because many college administrators and standardized test industry executives admit that it’s high-school performance measured by grades, not sstandardized test score, that’s the best predictor of college success. Higher grades, greater success in college, a better measure of talent deserving a merit scholarship. That makes sense to me. Some experts have suggested a sliding scale so exceptional grades would allow a student with below-par standardized test scores to secure a scholarship. Better yet, Florida, like many other states with merit scholarship programs, could ignore standardized test scores altogether and rely only on grades. To compensate for differing grading standards from school to school, Bright Futures might switch from an absolute GPA minimum for high-school seniors, now 3.0, to a proportionate grade point — say, the top 10 percent of each school’s senior class — to decide who qualifies for a grant. Such a change could ensure that the state’s best and brightest high schoolers enjoy a tuition break if they choose to attend a Florida school after graduation. Jim DeSimone is a principal at Orlando-based Knob Hill Companies and is a founding partner of Winter Park Magazine. He was previously vice-president of corporate affairs for Darden Restaurants, director of communication for the City of Orlando and a reporter and communications counsel for the Orlando Sentinel. He has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida, a masters degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Maryland College Park and a J.D. from the College of William and Mary.
W I N T E R PARK M AG AZI N E | SUMM ER 2014
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