Orlando bites: Here's an insider look at some new and upcoming local food spots

3 new restaurants, new grocery store find homes in Central Florida

By Anna Johnson - Digital Journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - New food spots in Central Florida are providing answers to the age-old question of "where should I eat tonight?"

Here's a look into four local restaurants and grocery store that either just opened or will be opening soon, including insider tips to know before heading there. Bring your foodie attitude and your appetite and dig in to our list below.

Sprouts Farmer's Market -- Opened Oct. 24
1999 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park
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Sprouts Farmer's Market opened the doors to its first Central Florida location Wednesday, bringing what spokesperson Kalia Pang describes as a "complete grocery store" to Winter Park.

"Sprouts is opening in Central Florida to meet the area’s growing demand for fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices," Pang said.

The market sells produce, prepared foods, meat, seafood, bulk foods and more. The chain is known for its prices on both organic and conventional produce, which are "significantly lower" than other stores, according to Pang. She also cited friendly, helpful employees and a variety of options for every diet as reasons the store stands out.

"Sprouts carries a significantly wider product selection in unique categories, such as plant-based and gluten- free," Pang said.

The Winter Park location sells both Central Florida and nation-wide brands as well as its own Sprouts brand of products. In an effort to reduce food waste, the store will donate unsold edible groceries to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, while items not fit for donation go to local cattle farms and composting facilities.

Know before you go: Pang said customers will be able to score exclusive coupons by downloading the Sprouts app.

 

A communal table at Susuru. Credit: Susuru Orlando

Susuru -- Opening in fall
8548 Palm Parkway, Orlando
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"Susuru" roughly translates from Japanese as "to sip," or "to slurp." At this new restaurant slated to open sometime this season near Disney, guests will be able to do both, with a wide selection of ramen, craft cocktails and other snacks.

Manager Angela Tsang said the new restaurant is modeled after Japanese gastropubs, known as izakayas. The atmosphere will begin outside of the space, with a retro-style mural created by Orlando artist Boy Kong and carry over into the dining experience, with long tables and meals that encourage sharing. Another merry-making factor -- craft cocktails created by local mixologist Nadine Rodriguez, who is also known as Tipsy Gypsy.

"Our goal is to provide a fun and friendly atmosphere, like those experienced in izakayas, that encourages communal dining among our customers," Tsang said.

The menu will include a traditional yakitori grill with Japanese-style Binchōtan charcoal for grilling meat and vegetables, plenty of ramen options. Tsang said the spot will even sell some off-menu limited items for intrepid diners, like chicken organs and the notorious chicken butt.

Susuru's owner Lewis Lin, who also owns Jade Sushi and New Asian in College Park, fell in love with the idea of a local izakaya while he was traveling in Japan.  

"They will feel like they've taken a step out of Orlando and a leap into Japan's Showa-era street scene," Tsang said. "While keeping in touch with our community, we've also included bits and pieces of vintage Florida charm that customers should keep an eye out for as well."

Know before you go: Tsang said one of the spot's signature offerings will be a creamy-style chicken ramen that is popular in Japan, known as Tori Paitan.


Burger and fries from MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes. Credit: MOOYAH on Instagram

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes -- Aiming for middle of November opening
1700 Oviedo Mall Boulevard, Oviedo
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MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes Oviedo location's owner Keith Fields traveled over state lines just to get a taste of a MOOYAH burger. He and the location's two other franchisees visited New Orleans to eat at and learn from a MOOYAH mall location that is similar to the one they plan to open in the Oviedo Mall's food court next month.

Fields, who has lived in Oviedo for over 15 years, said the new restaurant came from a local cry for more culinary variety. 

"Everyone loves to eat out in Oviedo and Oviedo definitely needs more restaurants,” Fields said. "I think it's gonna give just a little bit more flavor to the area.”

The spot specializes in made-to-order burgers and fries, all made in-house, even down to the buns, according to Fields. He said this meticulous homemade approach allows the owners and the location's 30 new employees to take pride in the food they serve.

"When customers come to MOOYAH, they’re gonna get fantastic food with great customer service,” Fields said.

Right now the owners are planning for a Nov. 12 opening, with a grand opening celebration slated for early 2019. This spot is the first of at least three planned Central Florida MOOYAH locations, Fields said. There's currently only one other location in the state in Miami.

"We're excited to be able to bring something fresh to Florida again," Fields said.

Know before you go: Fields' favorite thing to eat is the "double diablo burger," which is a double patty with crispy onion straws, jalapenos and hot sauce. The mall is open until 9 p.m. most weeknights and 6 p.m. on Sundays.

A bowl at Sus Hi. Credit: Sus Hi Eatstation

Sus Hi Eatstation -- Opened Oct. 19
9680 Narcoossee Road Suite 102, Lake Nona
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With two other locations in Central Florida, Sus Hi's Lake Nona "dojo" is anything but the owners' first sushi-rolling rodeo. 

The Narcoossee location, which opened two Fridays ago, is the first in the area. The first two stores are in east Orlando and Altamonte Springs. Owners Robert and Teresa Ly live in Lake Nona and have always wanted to open a Sus Hi close to home, according spokesman Thomas Wang. Another location is slated to open soon near Mall at Millenia.

Wang said the newly-opened restaurant will still give customers the food they expect while slightly updating their dining experience.

"Customers can expect an open, modern and refreshing feeling from the new Lake Nona Dojo," Wang said. "Our set up here is slightly upgraded from our other locations, but offers the same exact excellent menu items, quality and taste."

According to Wang, Sus Hi stands out because its guests have the ability to customize their meal to their liking. Menu items include rolls, bowls and wraps with a choice of toppings, proteins and sauces. 

"At Sus Hi Eatstation, our motto is 'Be Ninja, Eat Sushi,' where you get to become a ninja and customize your sushi each and every time," Wang said.

Know before you go: Parking can be found on both sides of the building. Wang urged customers to sign up for the restaurant's digital loyalty program to receive rewards and free food.

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