Questions and rumors abound about the recent clearing of a parcel on U.S. 441 in Mount Dora. The land is located immediately south of the RaceTrac station at Wolf Branch Road.
On April 19, planning staff at the City of Mount Dora met with a civil engineering firm for a standard informal meeting about the parcel. Preliminary meetings are normal when a developer is inquiring about a proposed project, according to a city official.
The land is outside of Mount Dora’s city limits and would require annexation before any development could be approved. To date no formal application or site plans have been submitted to the city. Although the name of the project will remain conjecture until formal paperwork is filed, of the 14 projects the engineering firm lists as current or completed projects, eight are Walmart Neighborhood Markets. A Neighborhood Market is consistent with much of the recent speculation about some type of Walmart store on the site. The firms lists neither Walmart Supercenters nor Sam’s Clubs as projects.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets compete with grocery and drug stores by offering fresh produce, meat and dairy products, fresh baked good, deli items, household supplies, a large wine section, health and beauty aids, plus a pharmacy. Each store employs up to 95 associates, according to the company.
Neighborhood Markets are one-fifth the size of regular Walmart Supercenters. These smaller stores average approximately 38,000 square feet, while the Supercenters average 182,000.
According to Walmart’s 2017 annual report, the company has over 4,600 total stores across the U.S. Those locations are within 10 miles of 90 percent of the country's population.
Sometimes nothing is better than enjoying beers among friends. Unless of course, it’s making beer among family.
It all started in 2015 when Jose Villafana, an army veteran and amateur beer-maker, set off on his trek to become a master brewer. Ever since, Jose and his brothers-in-law, Josh Greenberg and Chris Dunlop, honed their craft, testing and developing a wide range of craft beer styles.
Now the trio and Jose’s father, Jose Villafana Sr., are readying to open their own brewery, Wolf Branch Brewing in Eustis, named for the Mount Dora road where it all began.
The approximately 1,700 square-foot brewery will be in the historic Iron Block in Eustis. The building, dating back to 1882, will have an industrial, warehouse vibe that contains four fermenters, one brite tank, and a 3.5 barrel brew house. The space will feature wood and brick elements to create a lived-in style.
“We’re probably most excited about our lush outdoor beer garden, or as we call it, The Grove – adorned with living walls, hanging lights, wood tables and wood planters,” said Greenberg of the additional outdoor space. “When you’ve hit your breaking point at work or in day-to-day life, The Grove will be waiting to help you escape from the mundane and typical grind.”
Wolf Branch Brewing partners (from left): Josh Greenberg, Jose Villafana Jr., Jose Villafana Sr, Chris Dunlop
The new brewery will focus on crafting old-world styles of beer with modern tastes. The styles include a Belgian Witbier, a Bière de Garde, a Farmhouse Ale and a Coffee Milk Stout among others. Eight to ten house-brewed beers will be on tap at all times, plus two rotating guest taps and a growler station.
Understanding that good grub accompanies great beer, there are plans for the business to partner with select downtown Eustis eateries to offer patrons meals and light snacks The Mount Dora residents are also considering serving hard ciders and wine at the brewery.
A soft launch is anticipated in August and a grand opening in October, possibly for Oktoberfest. Eventually, brewery tours and classes are planned.
“As fellow neighbors, we know this community has been yearning for a unique craft brewery that they can call their own,” said Greenberg..
Watch for the Wolf Branch Brewing to open at 119 N. Bay Street in Eustis late this summer.
When it was announced last year that Epic Theatres was building a state-of-the-art multiplex in Mount Dora, movie-lovers waited anxiously for the first signs of construction. For months they have been reminded: Patience is truly a virtue.
After going through the design phase, construction crews are finally mobilizing for shovels to hit the dirt within the next two weeks. Epic Theatres typically have a 10- to 12-month construction process which puts the Mount Dora location’s opening in the first quarter of 2018, according to an Epic Theatres representative.
The 50,000 square-foot, 12-screen multiplex is being erected on the land between Target and Walmart. It will feature 1,400 reclining seats, beer and wine, two extra-large screens, optional reserved seats and an enhanced concession menu.
After the $10 million project is completed, Epic expects to hire between 30-50 employees depending on the season.
Locals are taking it hard. The Lost Parrot, a landmark restaurant in downtown Mount Dora, closed its doors earlier this week as the property changes hands.
The 4,500 square-foot historic building, formerly a Texaco station and Greyhound bus terminal, sold for $1.75 million. The buyer is 100 E. 4th Avenue LLC, which has the same principals as the building across the street occupied by Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant. The partners have a good track record of marketing and leasing their other Mount Dora properties.
For decades the family-owned building and establishment was known as much for its live music and over-sized rustic shutters as for its American-Caribbean food. Dee Hawking originally opened Eduardo's bar and restaurant and then took a break in 2006 to devote time to the family's tropical aviary. In 2011, Hawking and her three children, Patty, Sandy and Vicky, reopened Eduardo's, but renamed it The Lost Parrot after their escaped pet Macaw.
The popular venue launched the careers of some of the area's best musicians, including Jeff Whitfield and Stephen Currence decades ago.
The turnkey building is immediately available for lease. The family will retain the valuable liquor license for potential future sale.
Pineapple Place owners Michele & 'Hoosh' Hooshmanda (Photo: Trish Morgan, Mount Dora Buzz)
Those looking for a new hangout downtown, just got lucky. A new tavern and restaurant in Mount Dora has rounded out the town's many dining options.
The Pineapple Place, complete with a pool table and full bar,serves up gourmet burgers, steak kabobs and ribeye steaks, plus salads, wings, crab cakes and other American favorites. All beef is grass-fed and cut or ground in-house. The entrees are garnished with savory pineapple condiments like chutney and salsa.
The owners, Michele & 'Hoosh' Hooshmandan, bring over twenty years of corporate restaurant experience to the new venture. The friendly couple is joined in the business by their son and three daughters.
The expansive floor plan has over 4500 square feet of interior space, plus another thousand square feet of patio dining, providing plenty of room for private parties. The full bar offers happy hour from 4-7 p.m. on weekdays, live music, and a karaoke night.
The Pineapple Place is located at 322 N. Alexander St. in downtown Mount Dora.
Short, but sweet. Lake County’s blueberry season is rapidly becoming a favorite time of the year. Although typically only lasting 6 weeks, this year’s season promises to be bountiful.
The U-Pick season usually runs April through the end of May with current prices ranging from $4 to $8 a pound, depending on the farm. This year, some farms like Far Reach Ranch, Green Acres and King Grove began their season in March. Read more