I'm not flaunting my credentials," says chef Harold Henderson of North Quarter Tavern as he rattles off a litany of top-notch kitchens in which he's worked – K Restaurant, Luma on Park, Artisan's Table, Citrus Restaurant, Crooked Spoon, Bar J Me. "My point is that I've been around Orlando's food scene for a long time and can really appreciate it."
Like many of us, Henderson has witnessed the evolution and revolution of Orlando's dining scene with the rise of celebrity-chef-run Disney restaurants as well as local, community-inspired eateries and, like many of us, he's just as amazed. "I may be a bit biased, but I think Central Florida – Orlando, specifically – is the culinary hub of the most innovative and inspired food in Florida," he says. Henderson credits folks like Kevin Fonzo and Brandon McGlamery for leading the charge.
As for NQT, Henderson sees it as part of the fabric of the community. "We don't hold such a grand position, but taverns have historically been center points for communities, even used as courthouses and town halls in addition to just serving beer, and what we do is support the community, be it customer or purveyor." Indeed, the North Quarter Tavern is an avid supporter of local businesses and farmers – which, Henderson hopes, offers patrons a sense of comfort and a sense of home.
"We have a dish – 'Big Ed' – which is named for a customer and his eating capacity; it's a chef's choice of gluttony. We have fun with food, but still hold firm to the philosophy that it's a chef's responsibility to nourish, be it body or soul." —FKNorth Quarter Tavern
861 N. Orange Ave.