It's not uncommon to hear. Foodies expressing their inner-most cravings for Middle-Eastern fare in Mount Dora
A new casual restaurant hopes to satisfy those hankerings. Aladdin's Mediterranean Grille, in the former home of Cerbiche on 19A, offers kabobs, kibbeh, gyros, falafel and kafta and other ethnic favorites. Side orders include taboule, lentils, hummus and rice and cucumber yogurt. Diners seeking less adventurous fare, can choose from a selection of seafood, as well as grilled steaks and chicken.
The atmosphere is very casual and the prices are reasonable with falafel and gyros sandwiches offered at $5.95 and combination platters at $8.99. Take-out is available.
Aladdin's is located at 3301 N. Highway 19A in Mount Dora.
For monthly updates on restaurant openings and events for Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares, click here...
Sometimes, once just isn't enough. After opening one business downtown, a local couple decided to double-down.
In late 2014, Kim and Martin van der Sanden purchased and renovated a commercial building on Magnolia Avenue in Eustis. The goal was to move their store, My Favorite Things on Bay Street, to the new location. Once the store was successfully relocated, the couple planned a new venture in the building's remaining space.
"There was a small space included with the building that was zoned as a deli/cafe, so we decided to take the plunge and add a small eatery to serve our downtown area", said Kim van der Sanden.
Small Batch Bistro had its soft opening on January 26. The restaurant's simple concept was to serve delicious breakfast and lunches, made freshly prepared in small batches. The van der Sanders joined forces with long-time friend, Jill Anderson who had catering experience and shared their passion for good food.
"We wanted to get away from the typical food service fare where things are pre-made and simply reheated, to offer a higher standard of food to nurture the taste buds and nourish the body," said Kim.
Breakfast options include quiche, blueberry pancakes, housemade granola parfait, plus fresh cinnamon rolls and muffins. Lunch options include homemade soups, fresh salads with housemade dressings and paninis. The house favorite is the roasted tomato balsamic bisque with the pesto grilled cheese, according to Anderson, the bistro's chef.
The warm decor uses cargo-styled chairs and reclaimed lumber to create a warm, contemporary atmosphere. The counter tops are made of large, natural edge wood planks that were handcrafted by Martin.
For monthly updates on openings and events for Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares, click here...
Browse the Straw Market. Enjoy a libation in the bar overlooking the sandy beach. Dance to live music. A Caribbean vacation? No. Welcome to the new restaurant and bar, Beach Bums, in downtown Eustis.
Business partners and co-owners of Sand Bar in Tavares, Roger Kooser and Travis Senning, are the masterminds behind the Beach Bums concept.
"We used to come here when it was Turkleton's Tavern. We'd play pool and air hockey and talk about what we would do with this space if we owned it. We never thought the opportunity would happen, and when it did, we went for it, said Kooser. "We wanted to create a place that was reminiscent of 1960s/70s beach experience. Think Beach Boys, boardwalks, beach parties."
The Beach Bums Bar, located at 12 Bay Street, is housed in what was originally an orange packing facility, then an auto repair shop, Turkleton's Tavern, and most recently, Rhythms. The 100 year-old cavernous building has old brick interior walls and a wood ceiling which add a sense of warmth to the space.
A few flat screen TVs are strategically placed throughout the bar, ready to broadcast the latest sporting event. Tables and conversational areas, with comfy sofas, give the bar a cozy feeling. Loading bays open directly onto the beach, giving customers front row seats to watch the action and listen to the live entertainment.
The owners named the beach "Kokomo," inspired by the Beach Boys song of the same name. The large rectangular courtyard has palm trees, and soon, sand will be added along with a fire pit and beach furniture. A few old boats are scattered around for additional seating and dining, and a performance stage will showcase live music on weekends.
Co-owner Senning, who is the executive chef commented, "We are offering some menu items featuring foods that were popular in the '60s and '70s, like fondue served in a variety of ways, and we will toast s'mores out by the fire pit."
"Besides the fondue menu, we will offer a bar menu, and Rocco and Rita Gaglioti, the former owners of Casa Mia in Tavares, are opening Rocco's Italian Deli in the Beach Bums complex," Kooser added. "Rounding out the concept, there is the Sloop John B Cigar Lounge--another nod to a Beach Boys songs--and a Straw Market with stalls like you see when you get off the cruise ship in the Bahamas. Eventually, a package liquor store will be added," continued Kooser.
Beach Bums is scheduled to officially open on Saturday, February 13. In keeping with the beach party theme, Kooser and Senning have scheduled a Beach Boys tribute band to kick off the inaugural event. The following Saturday, February 20, the Mount Dora Boomerz will hold their reunion concert and fundraiser to benefit K9S FOR WARRIORS.
Senning summed up the Beach Bums experience, "We have created a space that will make people feel like they have gone on vacation while they are still close to home."
Good news for Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares! The greatly anticipated opening of the Panera Bread, Tijuana Flats and Aldi is on track with businesses expected to begin opening in late summer or early fall, according to Steven Alafazanos of WIN Development. The project, called the Eustis Retail Center, is located on US 441 across from Target and also includes Tijuana Flats, Pacific Dental, Vitamin Shoppe and Mattress Firm.
The 43,463 square-foot shopping center only has 8,600 square feet of space available, according to Alafazanos.
Site work is currently in progress while the project awaits final engineering and construction plan approval from the City of Eustis. Florida Department of Transportation approval is expected in the coming weeks, according to Alafazanos.
Stay up-to-date on news, scoop and events for Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis, click here
They have been fixtures in Mount Dora since 2005. Their first downtown location was in what is now The Olive Branch Bar & Grille.
Wayne Taylor, Sr and Sheldon Bickford, owners of Lee Fusion Art Glass, later moved their store to Renaissance Building before deciding to concentrate on their wholesale business.
The pair plans to re-open Lee Fusion Art Glass in a new location of 4th Avenue on February 1, in the former space of Bowersock Gallery.
Mount Dora wan't their experience with retail. The original store has operated in Winter Harbor, Maine since 1985. Due to the opposite seasonality of the locations, they are able to split their time between the two scenic locations.
Unlike their previous downtown locations, the new space will now have a kiln, so original glass tableware can be made on site.
Lee Fusion Art Glass will also be selling artisan glass panels, , Tiffany-style lamps, hand-made jewelry, and other unique home and garden accessories.
Puzzle solved? Two sleuthy entrepreneurs may hold the key to bringing more festive entertainment to the area.
Mount Dora natives, Kara Hymel and Kristen McLain, have joined creative forces to start Mount Dora Explorers, an local entertainment company offering differently themed scavenger hunts for adults.
"We love Mount Dora so much. We truly think we have the best town with the best bars, restaurants, history, and scenery. We wanted to expose both tourists and locals alike to everything our great town has to offer in a fun, unique way." said Hymel. Read more...
After four and a half years, Bowersock Gallery will be closing it's doors and "Moving On."
The fine art gallery's final Mount Dora opening reception, featuring Pastel Artist Lynn Libby, is scheduled for Friday, January 8th, 6 to 8pm and run through January 13th. Beginning January 6, the gallery will offer a one week only "Moving On Sale" with 20% to 40% off selected paintings, jewelry, ceramics and sculptures. After careful consideration, the gallery's owners have decided to close the Mount Dora location to focus on its flag ship gallery in Provincetown, MA. and other projects. The growth of the Massachusetts location and the demand for the art of owner/curator Steven Bowersock is a key factor in the decision. Steve Bowersock, who also exhibits with the Woodman \ Shimko Gallery in Palm Springs, CA and at White Porch Gallery in Miami, FL. is currently in talks with other venues. "We're still there, just a click away," Gallery Manager Michael Senger says. "We've decided that Steve's career requires more hours in the studio and the Provincetown location, more attention and hours. The only thing that changes is we're running one less storefront so we can concentrate on advancing our online profile." Get more news for Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here
During his football career, Sammie Smith was a formidable force to be reckoned with. The All-American running back was the the first round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1989. He went on to have 532 carries and scored 15 touchdowns during his four NFL seasons.
Under the bright lights, the highs and lows of the young athlete's life were well documented. However, for more than a decade Smith is once again a positive force to be reckoned with. The retired athlete and Mount Dora resident is now empowering local youth through athletic training.
Smith, 48, and his wife, Shalonda, opened Kingdom Impact Sports (KIS) last year in the former HOOPS location in Mount Dora. The warehouse facility features speed, agility and strength training for all sports, as well as boot camps, baseball instruction and batting cage rentals and an Iron Mike pitching machine. Smith also mentors youths as a Lake County representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
A Zellwood native and Apopka High graduate, Smith played football at Florida State University where he was also a SEC Conference champion sprinter. The family moved to Mount Dora several years ago and the couple's two children, son Cre'Shawn, and daughter Sania, attend Mount Dora schools.
Kingdom Impact Sports is located at 1178 Camp Avenue. For more information on the training facility, click here