A new California-Mexican restaurant is making its way to Winter Park – and doing so in style.
Cinco Tacos + Tequila, a restaurant specializing in Cali-Mex cuisine, is taking the place of the Carmel Kitchen & Wine Bar at 140 N. Orlando Avenue.
“We want to be a good neighbor and be an option for diners to come to and enjoy and smile,” owner Greg Pranzo said. “That’s what we’re really going for.”
The new addition to Winter Park’s food scene, which Pranzo hopes will have a grand opening September, will have a number of California and Mexican dishes. Pranzo himself is partial to their guacamole, queso fundido with chorizo, korean-fried barbecue, and more. Cinco’s will also have an array of vegan options like “The Impossible Taco” – a dish Pranzo says walks and talks like meat, but it’s not.
Cinco’s ingredients and all of the meals they create are made fresh – Pranzo is proud to say his new restaurant has a scratch kitchen.
Beyond the fresh food, customers checking out Cinco’s Tacos will experience some theatricality with their meal. The Cinco Burger has its cheese scraped off a cheese wheel by staff in front of the customers while the menu also includes dry-ice margaritas that smoke at the top. Customers also receive a complimentary basket of chips and salsa when they visit, too.
Pranzo has a number of franchises and concepts in a few states. Those include a pizza joint in Myrtle Beach, multiple bagel shops, food trucks, and Wahlburgers in several southeastern states.
When planning Cinco’s, Pranzo wanted the exterior aesthetic to match the posh neighborhood feel of Winter Park itself. To that end, the restaurant is covered in a faux ivy material to give it a luxurious look.
“I like to refer to Winter Park as the Beverly Hills of Orlando,” Pranzo said. “I think highly of that town and taking that approach, we decided to keep everything in Ivy to give you a good,Beverly Hills, L.A., sort of feel.”
The restaurant has been coming together for a few months and Pranzo is in the middle of the hiring process. National Tequila Day will serve both as ribbon cutting and the kickoff for Tequila Tuesdays at the eatery. Pranzo also plans for special Cinco de Mayo events each year.
He’s excited for Winter Park to experience everything Cinco has to offer.
“With (Guy Fieieri’s American Bar and Grill) everything is scratch-cooking,” Pranzo said. “To be able to handle a kitchen of that magnitude, we wanted to bring an elevation of taste…you need someone strong like Stephen (Wheeler) to be able to handle that.
Cinco’s is in the midst of hiring and training talent ahead of its planned grand opening, but it won’t all be new blood – Pranzo has brought some staff from his other concepts to bolster the ranks. He also runs the Guy Fieri’s American Bar and Grill in The Villages and is bringing over the former general manager Kin Lai and executive chef Stephen Wheeler to spearhead the new operation.