Imagine mojitos under the stars and live music with a spectacular view. That's exactly what Edna Gonzalez, owner of Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant, envisioned when she brainstormed the addition of a rooftop bar and dining area to her eatery at the prime location of Donnelly Street and 4th Avenue.
Gonzalez quickly discussed the project's feasibility with the building's owner and the city's building department. No major obstacles were foreseen.
An architect will now draft the plans for the project which will include reinforcing the roof and constructing two staircases, according to Gonzalez. The goal is to have the 4500 square-foot roof transformed by October for guests to enjoy.
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Some headed straight for the purses and shoes. Others nabbed the Coach bags and other designer goods. Then there were those that seemingly lost in the endless racks of clothing that stretched for miles. Judging by their smiles, bargain hunters found what they were looking for and more.
That was the scene when the new Goodwill Retail Store and Donation Center opened in Eustis today. The newly built store on US 441 sits on the border of Mount Dora and sells everything from costume jewelry and coats to golf balls, housewares, furniture and even a Brett Favre Packer jersey.
The store is located on US 411 next to Ace Hardware and just north of Donnelly Street.
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Historic buildings come with plenty of charm, character and often a hefty dose of maintenance. Downtown landlords have been battling dry wood termites by spot treating for years. This year a group of property owners is working together to win the war. On Monday, June 27, 2016, the entire east side of the 400 block of Donnelly Street will be enclosed in a tent for three days to fumigate with Vikane gas to eliminate dry wood termites. The protective action is necessary during the insects' swarming season for the safety of everyone and every building on the block. The large fumigation project involves nine historic buildings, five different landlords, thirty-seven businesses, and five apartment residents. Business owners and residents will not have access to their leased property during the three-day fumigation process. All five unrelated building owners on this block are working together on this project and coordinating meetings with the fumigation company to assist tenants with specific questions and concerns. "If there was any other solution which could still protect our safety, and that of these historic buildings, please trust me when I say I would embrace it. Sadly, fumigation is our only option," said Sandi Weld, property manager for CFL Property Group, one of the affected landlords.
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A creative new merchant marvels at details others may overlook.
Carolyn Wood has a talent for transforming vintage furnishings into updated, stylish pieces. Her new store, Love Home Harmony, will open in early July and feature an eclectic mix of re-designed vintage furniture and home accents that will complement current styles and trends.
Wood utilizes paint, fabric, stenciling, decoupage and other techniques to achieve her creative vision for each piece. The store will be filled with a variety of furnishings, as well as lamps, wall decor, smaller home accessories and artwork.
Wood and her husband, Brian (Woody), were visiting from New Jersey when they fell in love with Mount Dora's historic homes and picturesque downtown. She immediately knew a store downtown was in her future.
"Above all we knew we wanted to live downtown and be able to walk to everything," said Wood, who has the perfect cheerful disposition for retail. "We enjoy the small-town feel where you get to know all the locals, but also enjoy sharing our beautiful town with all the visitors. "
In 2013, the couple bought a historic 1925 home that is located just blocks from downtown. The Woods eagerly relocated a year ago.
"I'm beyond excited to live in downtown Mount Dora and now I can walk to my store everyday and do what I love!" said Wood.
In the months ahead, Wood plans to share her talents by offering classes in furniture painting, decoupage and stenciling.
Love Home Harmony is located at 120 E. 4th Avenue. Store hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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What's better than scoring big at a yard sale? A big yard sale with more to score.
This June, Renningers Antique Center will host the biggest and longest yard sale in Central Florida. The outdoor event will feature three days of antiques, vintage, collectibles, plants, produce, household goods, tools, designer clothing and more.
In addition to shoppers hunting for the deal of the century, sellers can clean out their garages and hawk their treasures by grabbing one of the $25 spaces that is the size of a car or truck and settling up tables and tents. Renningers has tents and tables available for $75 on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The longest yard sale runs June 17-19 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For information about a space call (352) 383-8393.
A new Latin restaurant opened its doors in a familiar downtown Eustis location. Maria's Latin Diner, a fast-casual eatery, opened last week in the former home of That Cuban Place.
The family-owned restaurant features a large steam table that boasts a selection of traditional Latin main courses including pernil (roasted pork), rabo (oxtail) and ropa vieja (shredded beef).
To meet the fast-casual concept, the dishes are hot and ready to serve when customers arrive. The selection of entrees on the daily menu rotates; however all are accompanied with rice, beans and another side dish. Some of the popular entrees like the pernil and the beef stew are available every day.
Meals can be ordered in two portion sizes from the steam table. A small portion is $5.99 and a large is $8.99.
In addition to the ready-made entrees, the eatery also offers burgers and a small selection of sandwiches that range in price from $5.99 to $8.99. Steak, pork, chicken and seafood dishes can be made to order and range in price from $6.99 to $12.95. Mofongo, a traditional Caribbean Latin green plantain mash, ranges from $7.99 for the plain to $14.95 with skirt steak.
Soup, assorted empanadas (savory turnovers), flan and tres leches are also served daily.
Maria's Latin Diner is open six days a week and is located at 1 N. Eustis Street. The restaurant is closed on Mondays,
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Although the Mount Dora restaurant was expected to open earlier in the year and then in June, foodies will now have to wait until July, according to the building owner's Facebook page.
Van Aken and his experienced management team arrived well-equipped with passion and patience to pursue their culinary vision in downtown Mount Dora. There is no doubt transforming the historic building into a first class restaurant required plenty of both.
"1921 by Norman Van Aken" is the James Beard Award-winning chef's new restaurant under construction. The historic converted home built in 1921 is the area's much anticipated, fine dining venue featuring a modern Florida cuisine.
The impressive setting will include seating for approximately 150 diners, a state-of-the-art open kitchen, full bar, chef's table for up to ten guests and decor reflecting the restaurant's partnership with the Modernism Museum Mount Dora.
1921 will have strong influences from the diverse cuisines of Southern Florida, as well as Southern traditions from Northern Florida and will access local farms for much of its produce.
A cookbook author and culinary trailblazer known for introducing "fusion" into the culinary arts, Van Aken is widely credited for developing New World Cuisine. He is currently the chef-owner of “Norman's" at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando.
Van Aken has entrusted Camilo Velasco, as chef de cuisine of 1921. The talented, Columbian-born chef and Geisler enjoyed collaborating together previously at Norman's award-winning, Orlando location. Before re-joining Van Aken, Geisler managed the celebrated The Ravenous Pig in Orlando.
1921 will also feature craft cocktails and an extensive wine list to rival any in the state. It will offer a selection of old world and new wines available by the glass or the bottle to accommodate differing tastes, according to Geisler who is also a passionate sommelier.
Van Aken is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage" and was honored as a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award “Best Chef in America, the culinary world's equivalent of an Oscar.
1921 is currently looking for people passionate about food to join their staff. Anyone interested can stop by the 142 E. 4th Avenue location to fill out an application.
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