Food & Drink » Restaurant Review

Craft beer battles, the return of La Coquina’s brunch and tons of new restaurants

Tip Jar: local food news



Beer lovers won’t want to miss two free events at Whole Foods Market on Sand Lake Road: 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, Beer Brewing 101 teaches the basics of crafting suds; and 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, the third annual Battle of the Brews allows those 21 and over to try eight different beers and vote for a champion in a bracket-style battle. Bring your ID.

At Cask & Larder, brewmeister Ron Raike got hold of some prized citra hops, known for their tropical fruit flavors and aroma. Raike will fashion 30 kegs of an IPA that C&L will start pouring in early February.

All you brunch hounds still lamenting the loss of La Coquina, be sure to mark Feb. 2 on your calendar: In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, La Coquina makes a one-time return. Seatings run from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and cost is $69 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 407-239-3830 for reservations.

Emeril’s Tchoup Chop unveiled a revamped interior including a renovated sushi bar and Japanese robata grill, as well as a new chef de cuisine: Ryan Vargas. Vargas replaces noted chef Greg Richie, who’ll helm the kitchen at the yet-to-be-named restaurant taking over the HUE space in Thornton Park. Other Universal happenings: Feb. 7, Harbor Nights Romantico at Portofino Bay Hotel features 15 wines and gourmet fare from Mama Della’s, Trattoria del Porto and Bice Ristorante. Cost is $45 online or $55 at the door. Reserved seating, which includes a private wine station, is $75.


The Strand has opened in the former Chuck’s Diner space on Mills Avenue, serving “new American” cuisine … Raw Juice Bar and Healthy Eats has opened in Thornton Park … Over in Lake Mary, a second Ravalia’s Pasta Bar has opened up in the Lake Mary Centre plaza, as has a Jimmy Hula’s … When Saks Fifth Avenue closes March 15 at the Florida Mall, the space will be used as an expanded food court. Take that, rich people!

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.