With all the new additions – the ones already open and the ones poised on the edge that didn’t make it by press time – to one of Orlando’s hippest neighborhoods, the Milk District, chances are we only have a few more months left before we have to stop calling it one of the city’s hidden gems. Besides the new hangouts listed below, we’re looking forward to a new companion bar next to Southern Craft called District Dive, a natural wine and vegan food bar called Curate from Dixie Dharma’s Shaun Noonan, and a little ditty from Greg Peters of Graffiti Junktion called the Milkhouse, moving into the old Beer and Tobacco Outlet with a full liquor bar and light menu. So come out and enjoy while you still can, because the streets will be packed before we know it.
À La Cart
609 Irvington Ave., 407-776-4693, alacartorlando.com
The rumors are true – you can get a whole lobster on your pho here. This food truck park brings together vendors like Poke Kai, Adao Pastel Gourmet, Steak It Easy and SwedeDish, with a place for patrons to sit and a bar fully stocked with beer taps.
600 N. Bumby Ave., 407-650-8022, alchemyorlando.com
After more than 20 years in their College Park digs, the ne plus ultra of creative hair has moved into an extensively remodeled mid-mod building in the Milk District, complete with beautiful mural. Get your hairs done with/by the cool kids.
Echo Base Collectibles/Rebel Reprints
2422 E. Robinson St., 407-990-4836, echobasecollectibles.com
Like a scaled-down version of a hipster's Toys R Us, Echo Base Collectibles is a shop that sells both vintage and new "toys" for grown-ups. It shares a space with Rebel Reprints, which does archival printing for artists.
207 N. Bumby Ave., 407-730-5241, mxtacorestaurant.com
Yes, yet another taco joint in Central Florida. But this one is the real Distrito Federal deal, with a chef that's got serious cred. That means you'll taste flavors like sweet potato and mole from Oaxaca, and steak, avocado and pumpkin seed sauce from Yucatán, to name just a few.
The Nook on Robinson
2432 E. Robinson St., facebook.com/thenookonrobinson
The Nook on Robinson is what it says it is – a small, comfy nook. But size isn't everything, as the old adage reminds us, and the Nook's terrific mix of all things local, from beer, wine, cider, kombucha and pastries to the bands and community events they book, is truly the cherry on top of an already sweet setup.
Stasio's Italian Deli and Market
2320 E. Robinson St., 407-277-7755
Serious Italian butcher sandwiches like porchetta and broccoli rabe are served alongside Italian staples like pasta, tinned fish and Sanbitter sodas at this new joint – the brainchild of Giovanni Fernandez and Elise Sabatino, the power couple behind the Hourglass District project. Expect to grab and go since there's limited seating.
Whippoorwill Beer House & Package Store/Easy Luck Coffee & Bodega
An assortment of craft beers for drinking in-store or taking to-go, plus small bites from Orlando Meats, plus serious third-wave coffee and creative toasts from Easy Luck, equals your new round-the-clock hangout.
Whisky Lou's Lounge
121 N. Bumby Ave., 407-896-2593, facebook.com/whiskeylous
Whiskey Lou's Lounge is by no means a new establishment. However, it is under new ownership as of late last year. Fret not, though, because it's the same smoke-filled cheers spot it's always been, with its 50th anniversary this month – the only difference is you can expect to start seeing live bands.