Leigh Love & Jesse Thomas at PizzaAmore's current location. (Photo by Trish Morgan)
Luck was on her side in 2004 when Leigh Love, owner of Mount Dora's popular PizzAmore, offered Jesse Thomas a job in her first restaurant, 5th Avenue Cafe in downtown Mount Dora. The cafe was ahead of its time in Lake County, offering quality gourmet fare with fresh organic ingredients.
Thomas was a recent high school graduate working at Easterseals Camp Challenge in Sorrento before stepping in as the prep person making salads and side dishes at the popular restauant that opened in 2003. He held several increasingly responsible positions and learned the business along the way. When the executive chef left to pursue other challenges, Love promoted Thomas to the position. It's been the perfect match ever since.
In 2009, Love opened PizzAmore. The new endeavor incorporated all their experience from the gourmet cuisine of 5th Avenue Cafe and translated it into a separate warm and casual eatery. Today the kitchen dishes out classic Italian dishes, famous garlic knots, fresh pasta and salads, as well as pizza that was voted the best in Mount Dora.
Although Love has many favorite dishes on the menu, her favorite pie is the Spinach Fresca pizza. "It’s a wild blend of taste that pops in your mouth, and you feel really good eating it, too, with all that fresh spinach!" said Love.
As a former professional in corporate finance and marketing at GE Capital and Apple, Love has used her business savvy to ensure the success of PizzAmore. She and Thomas, now her business partner, are working together to expand his operational and administrative knowledge of the business.
Love and Thomas in front of PizzAmore on 5th Avenue. (Photo by Trish Morgan)
"Jesse and I are like yin & yang. We balance each other in so many ways – we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses." said Love about the cornerstone of their business partnership.
Their mutual goal is to put fresh, really tasty food on the table at a reasonable price. "A family can dine at PizzAmore and not break the bank, and the pizza gourmand can come and enjoy some really fresh, innovative, delicious meals," said Love about what diners experience in the historic home they purchased on 5th Avenue in 2015 and fully renovated to accommodate the growing restaurant.
The larger location now affords guests ample parking, a significantly larger bar that serves wine and craft beer, and outdoor dining. PizzAmore is located at 722 E. 5th Avenue.
To stay up to date on new restaurant openings and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, download the area's free mobile app. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
Shoppers have been clamoring about it for months. And months.
The sign along U.S. 441 teased passersby who were anxious for the European discount grocery store to open its Eustis location.
Fret no more. Aldi will have its Grand Opening at 9 a.m. on Thursday, February 16.
Aldi, which operates nearly 1,600 U.S. stores in 35 states and has sites in 18 countries worldwide, has hosted two hiring events for the new Eustis location on U.S. 441 across from Target. The company has a streamlined approach to retailing and sells primarily under its exclusive brands. Products range from fresh meats, home goods, award-winning wines, beer and baby goods to fresh, organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
The retailer’s philosophy is that everything they do is in alignment with conservation principles, from their smaller, energy-saving stores to recycled cartons and bags.
As part of the European chain’s discount strategy, the shopping experience is simplified. Shoppers should bring their own bags and are required to provide a quarter deposit for shopping carts so staff isn’t needed to corral carts. Aldi claims that as a result of their streamlined business model, customers can typically save fifty percent on most of their items.
To stay up to date on new store and restaurant openings and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, download the area's free mobile app. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
Much to the dismay of residents and visitors, the Orange Blossom Cannonball and Lake Dora Limited trains, will permanently depart the station on January 31. The last train rides are scheduled for today.
The train romanced passengers with its short excursions for almost six years on the tracks that connect Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis. However, the tracks owner, Pinsly Railroad Company, is changing their business strategy for the tracks so it didn't renew the train operator's lease.
"The excursion train just didn't fit in to what we hope to develop in the future," said Pete Petree, Pinsly's vice president. The section of tracks between Tavares & Mount Dora will now be used for storage.
Orange Blossom Cannonball Engine No. 2 is celebrating its 110th anniversary. The imposing locomotive began its career in logging and eventually began pulling excursion trains in various tracks in Arkansas. Later the black engine had an impressive run in films including "North and South", and “True Grit”.
Engine No. 2 will head the train today and cake will be served to passengers. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Download the free Mount Dora Buzz mobile app here for a convenient calendar of events. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
One thing is for sure. There's no shortage of things to do.
Mount Dora may be the epicenter for the area's activity, but neighboring cities also provide plenty of entertainment opportunities.
Now there's one-touch access to the area's entertainment calendar, local news, shopping, new restaurants, things to do, what's hot and more with the free mobile app for Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis.The robust app is available for Apple and Android devices in their respective app stores. Click here to download.
Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.For more news in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here.
Did you hear it? It was hard to miss the sound of communal jaws dropping in Lake County when it was announced the area's vintage trains, the Orange Blossom Cannonball and Lake Dora Limited, will permanently depart the station on January 31. The last train rides are scheduled for Sunday, January 29, 2017.
The train romanced passengers with its short excursions for almost six years on the tracks that connect Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis. Read more
News & Events for Mount Dora • Tavares • Eustis Get your free subscription to monthly issue here.
In preparation for its Eustis grand opening, ALDI, a global grocery retaier in 18 countries, will be hosting two hiring events for the new location on U.S. 441.
Both events will be held at the Country Club of Mount Dora on Friday, January 13 and January 20 from 7 a.m. to noon. The address is 1900 Country Club Boulevard. Positions available include store associates, shift managers and manager trainee positions.
Employees averaging more than 25 hours a week are eligible for full health insurance benefits and dental coverage. All employees are invited to participate in the 401(k) program. Wages for associates are $12 an hour, shift manager $16 per hour and manager trainees have a starting salary of approximately $46,000 annual.
Applicants must be 18 years or older with a high school diploma or GED, as well as be available to work any time between 5 a.m. to11 p.m., Monday through Sunday. Retail experience is preferred for associates and one year of management experience is required for Manager Trainees who must be willing to move within central Florida. All positions require the ability to lift 45 pounds and pass a drug screening and background check.
ALDI operates nearly 1,600 US stores in 35 states. The company has a streamlined approach to retailing and sells primarily under its exclusive brands. ALDI's grand opening is currently in the planning process. Mount Dora Buzz will provide the date as soon as it is available.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Download the free Mount Dora Buzz mobile app here for a convenient calendar of events. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
News & Events for Mount Dora • Tavares • Eustis Get your free subscription to monthly issue here.
Download the free Mount Dora Buzz mobile app here for more events and news.
Ears perked up over a year ago when seafood lovers learned New England lobster rolls would be dished up in a new Mount Dora eatery. Fast forward to the present and the new owner of Let's Do Lunch has assured loyal diners those mouth-watering treats and the cafe's other popular menu items will remain the same.
Cathrine and Christopher Flury purchased the restaurant last week, making it their second business in downtown Mount Dora. The couple, originally from Switzerland, purchased Scoops on 5th last August. The popular ice cream parlor is known for their 36 flavors of ice cream, gigantic fresh cookies and one-pound eclairs.
"I like to be busy," said Cathrine as to why they purchased a second small business downtown.
The transition of Let's Do Lunch has been a smooth one, according to Cathrine. The lunch spot will continue to serve the same soups, sandwiches and salads and will consider adding new items in the coming months. One change may be the extending of hours until 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The Flurys moved to Lake County from Uruguay with their three children last year. Cathrine brings to the table a long history in the restaurant and bakery businesses, as well as experience in hospitality management in some of Switzerland's hottest tourist destinations.
During the high season the cafe plans to be open seven days a week. Let's Do Lunch is located at 426 N. Donnelly Street.
Despite the recent proliferation of casual sushi eateries in Lake County, connoisseurs have often felt compelled to make the pilgrimage to Lake Mary or Orlando in their quest for more sophisticated offerings.
That changed with the opening of Momiji Japanese Restaurant in Sorrento. One visit to this sushi bar and grill and guests know they have stumbled onto a new favorite. The modern and sophisticated interior gives a hint of what awaits.
The appetizer menu is vast and includes a spicy tuna tartare ($12), beef negimaki ($9), rainbow naruto ($13), and yellowtail jalapeno ($12) along with sixty-five varieties of rolls and handrolls. Entrees include lobster tail and salmon hibachi, filet mignon teriyaki and seafood soba. All dishes were served by attentive and friendly servers.
Bento box entrees are also available with options including beef negimaki and Red Snapper or chicken teriyaki, as well as a sushi and sashimi combination ($20 dinner). Boxes come with soup or salad, shumai dumplings, California rolls and steamed rice.
The lunch specials are certainly worth the short trip on the country roads. The maki combo dishes up any three featured rolls for $13 while bento boxes and hibachi specials start at $11.
Momiji opened in October with a full bar that includes an impressive saki menu with 24 varieties. The sleek bar serves premium traditional cocktails, but more folks may opt of cocktails with more of an Asian flair like a Japanese Margarita, Lychee Martini or Asian Tropic Mojito.
Not to be forgotten are the tempura desserts like red bean ice cream, bananas or cheesecake.
The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It's located at 24400 State Road 44 in Sorrento in the Publix shopping center.
What's better than breakfast? Breakfast served all day. Well, it's more like 2 p.m.
Dora Cafe opened in December and offers traditional diner fare including pancakes, eggs, corned beef hash, and biscuits and gravy.
The restaurant also serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those menu items include simple favorites like burgers, grilled cheese, reuben sandwiches and country fried steaks. Chicken, egg and tuna salads are also on the menu, along with a soup of the day.
The interior is simple and the prices are very reasonable with full breakfasts starting at four dollars and a burger and fries coming in at $6.95.
Dora Cafe is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's located in the former space of Lisa's Kitchen at 3201 North Highway 19A in Mount Dora.