The planned opening of Norman Van Aken's 1921 restaurant in downtown Mount Dora is August 9, according to the celebrity chef's Instagram post yesterday.
Although the Mount Dora restaurant was expected to open earlier in the year, foodies won't have long to wait now.
"1921 by Norman Van Aken" is the James Beard Award-winning chef's new restaurant in the historic Mount Dora on 4th Avenue. The converted and completely renovated home will be a 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.
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.
The chef 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.
The restaurant is in the old Garden Gate Tea Room building at 142 E. 4th Avenue, downtown.
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It's no secret. In the game of real estate, it's location, location, location. This week what is arguably Eustis' most desirable location was put up for sale.
The property is expected to be a cornerstone redevelopment project for Eustis, a city established in 1883 that now has over 19,000 residents.
In close proximity to Ferran Park, the city's waterfront entertainment district, the three square blocks sit adjacent to Grove Street and border Magnolia and Clifford Avenues, placing it in the epicenter of downtown.
Developers’ interest may be piqued by the land's flexible and permissive mixed-use designation, its enticing impact fee credits, and customized incentive package. The city is willing to provide parking assistance depending on the needs and scope of the project.
Eustis' proactive approach to economic development appears to be yielding positive results. The city boasts a downtown core residential vacancy rate of zero percent and the retail and restaurant vacancy rate for the same area is five percent, according to Tom Carrino, the city's Economic Development Director. The impressive statistics make downtown ripe for redevelopment at the $2.5 million asking price. The commercial rents in Eustis' downtown core range from eight to twelve dollars a square foot annually making it very attractive to business tenants. Due to the high occupancy rate, rents could creep slightly as a result of supply and demand, according to Carrino.
In addition to its commitment to economic development, the city is fulfilling its vision to expand its walkable downtown. Their efforts include significant improvements to the vast city-owned waterfront area and a streetscape that includes brick sidewalks and shade trees.
In the 1920's, the land was the site of the Fountain Inn and when businesses faltered during The Depression it was converted into Waterman Hospital. In 2003, the hospital moved to a new building on U.S. 441 and the old building was later demolished.
Two ownership groups, Eustis Partners and Lake Eustis Properties, are working together with the City of Eustis to market the property. Interested parties should contact the city's Economic Development director Tim Carrino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Above: The downtown map indicates the three block property with 1, 2 & 3.
The wooden paddles on the cheerful blue doors are the first hint. The freshly painted interior is another. Whispering Winds, a downtown gift shop, updated its look and expanded its product lines. Not only are loyal customers’ favorite items still stocked, but the shop now offers something bigger and unique to their downtown space.
Paddle boards and accessories now hang from the rear wall and various sizes of Maui Mats are displayed beneath. The largest version of the floating mat functions as a portable island accommodating up to 14 people with chairs and coolers. The new outdoor items will no doubt appeal to fresh air enthusiasts that previously didn’t have many local shopping opportunities.
The store’s owners, Dawn and Wayne McEnany, purchased Whispering Winds a few months ago to become the store's fourth owners in ten years. Each has improved the space over the years and the McEnanys flair is already visible. The new bright and welcoming feel and more contemporary items are intended to appeal to a wider market of locals and tourists alike.
“Ultimately, we really wanted to see more things in Mount Dora that relate to all ages in a healthy way,” said Dawn who grew up in Mount Dora.
The store also has essential outdoor accessories that shoppers may not have known they needed, but will no doubt discover they do. Floating sunglasses and microfiber beach towels that fold to the size of a tea towel will soon be coveted by outdoor junkies.
“We have so many new fun outdoor items that will be entering the store very soon, so stay tuned,” said Dawn. Whispering Winds is located at 439 N. Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora
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They are tiny, but ravenous. Termites have long enjoyed historic buildings as an entree on their limited menu.
After the successful tenting of an entire block of downtown Mount Dora last month, another downtown landlord is taking the same step to preserve its own large historic building.
Beginning on September 19, the building on the southwest corner of Donnelly Street and 4th Avenue will be enclosed in a fumigation tent with Vikane gas to eliminate drywood termites. The process takes three days and the building should re-open on September 21.
The large fumigation project involves three businesses: Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant, Mount Dora Olive Oil Company and Mount Dora Gold Exchange. The landlord, 351 North Donnelly Street LLC, will provide the businesses with refrigerated storage trucks for perishable items until the building is ready to re-open.
Dawn Williams, the building’s leasing agent, is working with Massey Pest Control, the same company that completed the earlier downtown fumigation, to assist tenants with specific questions and concerns.
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Ethnic food lovers are salivating over the opening of Mount Dora's newest restaurant. Saigon Fusion will offer Vietnamese selections, as well as Japanese hibachi and a large selection of fresh sushi.
Pho, the popular Vietnamese noodle soup, will be offered in thirteen varieties with prices ranging from $8.95 for chicken to $10.95 for their spicy beef version. The chef's special, stir-fried lemongrass chicken (Ga Xao Xa Ot), is $9.95, and a variety of vegetarian dishes are available at $9.95.
For sushi lovers, there are dozens of fresh rolls on the menu, in addition to traditional Japanese appetizers and combination sushi plates. The hibachi menu ranges in price from $8.95 for the lunch special to dinners starting at $9.95 for chicken to $25.95 for the twin lobster tail dinner.
The grand opening of Saigon Fusion is scheduled for July 19 at 16700 U.S. Highway 441 in Mount Dora.
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Residents in Tavares are thrilled about the convenience of the new Publix set to open at Tavares Crossroads on S.R. 19.
As the opening date gets closer, Publix is hosting a hiring event for positions in all departments on July 15 and 16 at the Eustis Village Publix on David Walker Road and U.S. 441. The Lakeland based company will be conducting interviews on the spot from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.
Applicants can walk in or pre-schedule an appointment by visiting www.publix.fullslate.com and selecting the appropriate event. Readers are encouraged to help spread the word to anyone looking for employment with the reputable company.
Stay up-to-date on the store's opening date when available on the Mount Dora Buzz Facebook page.
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