Six new local restaurants open their doors (UPDATED); one popular one closes

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Orlando continues to add new restaurants seemingly daily, and we try to keep up as best we can so you, dear reader, are never at a loss when the eternal question of "Where should we eat?" comes up. Here's this week's haul:

  • Chef Greg Richie (of Cityfish) opens his Thornton Park Soco restaurant this week in the old Hue space, expanding his Central Boulevard reach. At the media preview, our favorite dishes exemplified his “Southern contemporary” theme: cassoulet of duck confit with boiled peanuts, chicken and dumplings, and chicken-fried cauliflower steak. Check out our gallery from the media preview here.
  • New player in the downtown pizza scene: Florida chainlet Chicago’s Stuffed Pizza has opened on Church Street downtown in the former Absinthe Bistro and Bar spot in the Bumby Arcade. Another CSP is slated to open in the Village at Lake Lily apartments in Maitland next month.
  • Mamak Asian Street Food has finally opened on Colonial Drive near Mills. The menu strongly resembles that of Hawkers Asian Street Fare – very strongly – but before the copycat accusations start to fly: We heard a rumor (which we can't confirm yet) that the owner is related to the guys who own Hawkers. Think dynasty, not larceny. OK, not so much! Since this blog post originally went up, the Mamak site was somehow redirected to a page defining the word "copycat" and one of the Hawkers principals reached out to us to let us know that "In no way is Hawkers affiliated with Mamak." We'll keep you posted as we learn more.
  • Attention, Drunk AmericansToby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill opens at the end of the month at Artegon Orlando Marketplace on I-Drive. The down-home menu includes "Toby's favorite," a fried bologna sandwich: "thick-cut bologna seared with onions, topped with American cheese and tangy Miracle Whip Dressing, all served on grilled garlic toast." Mama would be proud.
  • Look for Velo Creek Bike & Brew (that's "brew" as in coffee, not beer) opens next month in Oviedo, for all your cortadito and derailleur needs.
  • World of Beer on Lake Eola opens to the world 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20 – that's an awful pretty view from which to enjoy like 500 different beers.
  • According to their Facebook page, OLV Café in SoDo is “closed until further notice,” probably indefinitely. Employees hope that the cafe will reopen, but there are no definite developments on the immediate horizon.