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September is Magical Dining Month in Orlando

September 7, 2011

By Laura

I know we’re a little late on the bandwagon, as we are a week into September, but we thought we would let you know (or at least remind you) that September is Magical Dining Month in Orlando. This means that you can have a three course meal at any of the nearly 70 locations participating for just $30.


We are taking this month to experience some of the pricier restaurants (you know, the ones we were waiting to go to until someone got a raise or we won the lottery), because this is truly a steal! Not only are you getting a great price for these fancy and delicious (it better be delicious!) meals, but $1 from every magical dining meal goes to benefit the Girls and Boys Club of Central Florida. It’s time to do something good for your community and for your belly. Check out the list of participating restaurants and make your reservations.


This past weekend we took advantage and had dinner at Nick’s Italian Kitchen. The entrees at Nick’s Italian Kitchen are between $18 and $30 and we were able to try appetizers, entrees and dessert for just $30/person. We had a variety of entrees at our table. Some, like my eggplant rolatini were vegetarian, others (ahem, Erica) ordered entrees with the head and fin still attached! (In her defense, it was a surprise to her, just as much as it was to the vegetarians at the table!)


Nick’s was our first Magical Dining experience and we hope to get at least one more in this month. Which restaurant do you want to visit for Magical Dining Month?

Funky Monkey folks opening two restaurants in downtown Orlando

Funky Monkey owners will bring Prickly Pear and Nick's Italian Kitchen to downtown Orlando


3:04 PM EDT, April 18, 2011

The Prickly Pear and Nick's Italian Kitchen will open this summer in the Sanctuary in downtown Orlando in spaces formerly occupied by Graze and Fifi's.

The Prickly Pear will have a Southwestern accent. Nick's will showcase family-style Italian favorites.

"Southwestern means Arizona," says co-owner Eddie Nickell, who developed Bananas a Modern American Diner as well as the Funky Monkey in the Mills50 district near downtown Orlando and on International Drive with business partner Nicholas Olivieri. "Think Bobby Flay, not Mexican, think Cowboy steaks and smoked duck, Lobster quesadilla, tequila grilled shrimp on corn cakes with a chipolte butter, corn and jalapeno fritters and Prickly Pear signature margaritas."

Nick's, a nod to Olivieri, will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and will feature an extensive Italian wine list.

"We are super excited to have these spaces," said Nickell. "The Sanctuary is really going to explode as a downtown dining destination."

Two New Concepts Planned for Downtown Orlando

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 07:11

I told you last month that there would be new restaurants -- one with Southwestern cuisine and another with Italian -- in, respectively, the former Graze and Fifi’s Patisserie/Sanctuary Diner spaces on South Eola Drive. I can now give you the specifics: the Funky Monkey gang is expanding their portfolio with Prickly Pear and Nick’s Italian Kitchen. Both are slated for a summer opening.

Eddie Nickell and Nicholas Olivieri have signed the agreement to take over the restaurant spaces on the ground floor of the Sanctuary condominiums.

Prickly Pear will be Southwestern, but Nickell is quick to correct anyone who equates that with Tex-Mex. “Prickly Pear is something totally new to Central Florida,” say Nickell, “think Bobby Flay, not Mexican. With dishes ranging from a mouth-watering Smoked Duck Quesadilla to 22-oz Cowboy Steaks, Tequila Grilled Shrimp on Corn Cakes with Chipotle Butter to Corn and Jalapeno Fritters and our signature Prickly Pear Margaritas. This is true American cuisine from the frontier southwest.”

Nick’s Italian Kitchen will draw on Olivieri’s heritage and the menu will feature his family’s recipes and cuisine representing all regions of Italy.

Nickell and Olivieri own two Funky Monkey Wine Company restaurant, Bananas Diner -- and another under construction at Pointe Orlando -- and the recently opened Vault wine and gift shop on Mills Avenue. In addition, Nickell is the president of the Central Florida chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

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