Attention foodies: The Grove at Winter Park shopping center, at the intersection of Aloma Avenue and Howell Branch Road, is about to receive two new restaurants — JJ’s Fusion Grille and Pho Cali.
JJ’s Fusion Grille
JJ’s Grille will open its second location at the Winter Park center.
“JJ (Paredes) always wanted to expand the concept, even when we were planning the first (restaurant) said Sandra Nasrallah, JJ Fusion Grille’s managing partner. “We checked out a spot at Grove, looked at the plans for renovations and how much life they were planning to give to the plaza. It felt like a perfect spot for our second run just far enough from our current location on Curry Ford and not too far so that we wouldn’t be pulling our hair out with both spots.”
The eatery mixes Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine. Paredes hails from Venezuela, and his mother, whose best friend was Lebanese, supplies many of Latin and Middle Eastern recipes used in the kitchen.
JJ’s is a build-your-own concept at which customers are welcome to combine the different dishes in any way they wish. Nasrallah recommends the spicy Mexican rice bowl topped with Venezuelan black beans, and the pita sandwich with eggplants and zucchini on the Middle Eastern side.
Nasrallah and Paredes work as the management team for the restaurant. They opened the first location in 2014 on Curry Ford Road.
She said the Grove location will be about 1500 square feet, a little larger than the original site. The duo has had a long road getting to this second location. An original attempt to open a second store in Apopka was “cursed” with contractor disputes and tenant relation issues Nasrallah said.
“It’s starting to feel real,” she said. “For a long time, it just felt like an idea. You go and see the space, and it’s still an empty shell. But now, we’re getting to the final weeks and it’s taking shape.”
Despite an unexpected permit issue popping up at the last minute, Nasrallah said they still are hopeful for a June 1 grand opening — just in time for Paredes’ birthday.
“We’ll have balloons, streamers, maybe a DJ,” she said. “We’re definitely going to give it a celebratory feel.”
After almost a year of planning, a new Vietnamese restaurant is set to arrive.
When Kimberly Bui moved to Orlando from California a few years ago, she felt there wasn’t much in the way of Vietnamese cuisine. She’s looking to change that.
“In California, we had really good (Vietnamese) food,” Bui said. “In Orlando, we don’t have as much of that…the number one things for me are the customers, food quality and being clean.”
Bui operates a couple of Quickly Boba locations in Orlando already but has been eager to open a third. The new restaurant, which Bui hopes will open in the Grove in June, will serve noodles, pho and other Vietnamese delicacies. She prides her restaurant in serving a high quantity of high-quality food.
“I like to cook better food for everyone,” Bui said. “It’s why I started my family business.”
JJ’S FUSION GRILLE
PHONE: (407) 802-2947
WEBSITE: jjsfusion grille.com
PHONE: (407) 270-4570