Chicken marsala? Check. Penne alla Vodka? Check. White linen table clothes and trained staff? Check. Friendly owner. Double check!
After much anticipation, as well as some building delays, the Olive Branch Mediterranean-Italian Grille & Bar is open today and serving lunch and dinner. The menu features Italian classics, including Seafood Fra Diavlo and Shrimp Scampi, as well as Chicken Marsala, Veal Osso Bucco and daily specials. There is also a children's menu and drool-worthy dessert selections.
New Yorkers, Jerry & Karen Vejseli, decided to sell their Long Island restaurant and embark on a new business in Mount Dora. In doing so, they transformed the old Merrill's Market space into a vibrant, contemporary dining room and bar. Jerry, now a Eustis resident, brings with him years of restaurant experience and will serve as executive chef.
Initially, the Olive Branch will serve beer and wine then add a full liquor bar once more outdoor seating is added in the coming weeks. Like Merrill's, the Vejseli's plan to have live music on the ample patio.
The Olive Branch is located at 115 W. 3rd Avenue in downtown Mount Dora, across from the Chamber of Commerce.
Just off the beaten path stands a secret locals have known for years. An unassuming walk-up style eatery in the Grandview Business District has been enticing residents from all over town by dishing up soulful meals.
Ivory's, a small family-owned restaurant cooks up recipes that are made from scratch from family recipes, according to owner Maria Thomas. The business was named for Thomas' grandfather.
The casual menu includes a wide range of breakfast items, plus lunch and dinners featuring fresh burgers, sandwiches and wings among other standards. The restaurant is also known for its soul food specialities like fried catfish, rice & beans and collard greens.
Quality and value-driven, Ivory's offers full breakfasts starting at $4.50 and a cooked-to-order cheeseburger and crispy fries are $3.75. The lemon pepper wings are the same price. Larger meals like pork chops with rice and beans are $7.50.
Thomas built the business from the ground up eight years ago in Mount Dora's historic East Town area which is located a few blocks east of Donnelly Street. The concept came from her mother's and aunt's successful restaurant in Fort Lauderdale that shares the same name and recipes.
Seating is limited to a couple of outdoor tables, so much of the business is take-out. Call-ahead service is available.
Ivory's is located at 1325 Grandview Street. It is open Thursday-Saturday from 9am-6pm and Sunday from 11am-4pm. (352) 735-6797. This is part one of a three-part series on Mount Dora' Grandview Business District.
Can you say deja vu? It's ironic a new downtown restaurant will coincidentally have the same name as the previous one in that location, except it's in Spanish.
Las Palmas, plans to open in Mount Dora in the former home of The Palm Tree Grill. This will be the second location for the Cuban restaurant that has been in business in Sebastian, Florida for the last five years.
The new restaurant will feature authentic Cuban fare made from scratch using family recipes, according to owner Edna Gonzalez. The houses specialties include a churassco steak, seafood paella, oxtail in red wine sauce, as well as snapper with black bean and mango salsa. In addition, the menu will also have a few Cuban-inspired Mexican and Puerto Rican dishes.
Gonzales said she and her husband decided to open a location in Mount Dora after falling in love with the town after a recent return visit. "It's an adorable town, like a little piece of a movie," said Gonzalez.
The couple saw the 'For Rent' sign in the window of the vacant space and worked with local real estate agent, Dawn Williams.
The eatery will also serve sandwiches with fries starting at $10 and entrees ranging from $12-$23. The restaurant will offer a full bar that includes mojitos, margaritas and sangria that are all made from scratch. The bar features two-for-one cocktails every day, all day. Catering will also be available.
The restaurant will be accepting applications for all positions Wednesday-Friday from 11-5pm at the downtown at 351 N. Donnelly Street.