This month, Baldwin Park residents will bid farewell to Provisions & Buzz and welcome the restaurant with a new name and branding as Blue Jackets Gastropub.
The 2,736-square-foot facility, with a 150-seat capacity, has been undergoing massive renovations in the past few weeks and planed to finish the work and open to the public Monday, Dec. 5. The restaurant closed Monday, Nov. 28, prior to the reopening.
New owner Don Behrmann, who bought the location in September 2021, has a long history with the restaurant and its past owners. Now, he will be working to keep the family integrity of the restaurant as well as capitalize on its success with the new changes.
“I loved coming here for years,” Behrmann says. “It was a restaurant that I felt was like my home. I want the place to be successful, popular and be the place that everyone in Baldwin Park wants to go to. I want to walk in here and see it busy and see people happy. That will be what makes it feel successful for me.”
BLUE JACKETS GASTROPUB
Behrmann said he did not want to change the name of the location initially, because he thought the place still needed a lot of work.
The new owner started with smaller and gradual renovations — cleaning up the restaurant, the restroom facilities and more.
“I’ve had to put a lot in just to do that, but I never felt like I had a new brand so to speak,” he says. “I didn’t have anything that I really could say, ‘This is what I wanted it to be,’ I was still trying to figure that out.”
After going through a management change a few months ago, Behrmann has now taken a more hands-on approach in the restaurant
The new name, Blue Jackets Gastropub, comes not only from the current local Blue Jacket Park but also pays tribute to the area’s history as the previous site for the Orlando Naval Training Center. “Blue jacket” is a term for enlisted personnel in the U.S. Navy. Although there are all types of restaurants in the area, Behrmann felt Baldwin Park was missing an American restaurant.
“We want to provide high-quality comfort food in general Americana cuisine,” he says. “We want to offer basically something for everyone — not just in terms of food choices but in terms of atmosphere. I want it to be a place where anybody can bring anybody. You could come with your family. You could come to watch ball games with your friends. You could come for a date night. We want to offer a little something for everybody with a neighborhood feel.”
The new menu will include steaks, pasta, salads, a variety of appetizers, wings and burgers.
Behrmann is proud of the new menu, which he has been creating with head chef Gabriel “Smokey” Gonzalez, who worked with the previous owners.
In addition, the two are working with a special friend of Behrmann’s, an experienced chef for a major restaurant in town, who has provided important input, guidance and consultation on the new menu.
John Ziobrowski, who previously served as a manager at Gator’s Dockside and was the manager at the location when Behrmann bought the place, and Eric Wright, who previously worked for Galleria, will lead the staff team as managers.
“John’s been around; he knows people in the neighborhood, and he knows the restaurant business,” Behrmann says. “Eric is very knowledgeable when it comes to managing the bar, creating interesting cocktails, evaluating wines — all of that.”
Bill Vasquez and Colleen Sheive, of Construction Services of Orlando, are local residents helping with the continued renovations.
“They’re proud of what they’re doing,” he says. “They’re not doing work and leaving. They’ll be here every week, because it’s also where they live and they’ve been doing amazing work.”
Although a variety of renovations — including new stone, drapes, ceiling, chairs and bar — already are in, the revamp also will include new outside patio furniture, planters, an area to sit at the entrance, the addition of chandelier, lights on the walls, artwork, signage and dishware.
“What this place has struggled with is lack of consistency as a restaurant,” Behrmann says. “That’s what I see as being what the neighborhood wants, and I feel like we’re definitely going to be able to deliver that.”
Behrmann has been in Orlando for almost 30 years and started his own practice in 1993 called Integrity Medical Group, where he served as a neurosurgeon. He has lived in various homes in Baldwin Park since 1998.
“I’ve become familiar with the place and the people,” he says of Baldwin Park. “This particular place started out as the Baldwin Park Steakhouse when Baldwin Park first started.”
The restaurant was then bought by the Lacey family and changed to Jack’s Steakhouse.
Bob Lacey is a close friend of Behrmann’s, and Bob Lacey’s son, Chris, was the head chef.
When Chris Lacey died unexpectedly in 2014, the Laceys decided they wanted to keep the restaurant in the family. Jack’s Steakhouse was sold to Bob’s brother-in-law, a businessman in Texas, and in 2015 became Provisions & Buzz.
“The Laceys kept the restaurant in the family but with an absentee owner not living in the area,” Behrmann said. “I think the place sort of trudged along and then COVID hit, and then everything struggled.”
Noticing his favorite restaurant struggle, Behrmann approached his friend Bob Lacey.
Behrmann was inspired to buy the restaurant not only because he did not like watching it go downhill but also because of his knowledge of the neighborhood’s history.
“I want the place to be something I’m proud of (and) that the neighborhood is proud of,” he says.
Chuck Lacey’s photograph will continue to hang on the wall above the bar honoring the family.