Food, fun and entertainment in Seminole County
By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong
Just minutes north of Orlando Florida attractions, Seminole County is experiencing a cultural and entrepreneurial resurgence. Called Orlando North by those in the know, it offers “an easier, wilder way to do Orlando” with “pristine nature parks, less crowded restaurants and more affordable hotels.” We spent several days touring Seminole County meeting business owners.
Here is a list of Seminole County Tourism’s favorite food, fun and entertainment and our notes on Orlando North.
The ABC’s Of Food, Fun and Entertainment
Afternoon Tea: Dickens Coffee and Tea Room, 3801 W. Lake Mary Blvd., Lake Mary
Bright Star-gazing at the Emil Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College, 100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford
Candy, like homemade marshmallows: Wondermade, 214 E. First St., Sanford
Authentic German Cuisine: Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, 205 E. First St., Sanford
Beers from local Craft Breweries, including The Hourglass Brewery, Celery City Craft, Red Cypress Brewery, Bowigens Beer Company Co., Sanford Brewing Company, and Wops Hops among many others
Canoeing on the Wekiwa River, plus kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing at Wekiva Island, 1014 Miami Springs Dr., Longwood
Awesome giraffe feedings: Central Florida Zoo, 3755 NW Hwy 18-92, Sanford
Baseball Tournaments at the Seminole County Sports Complex, 3450 E. Lake Mary Blvd., Sanford
Craines Roost Park events. From walkathons to concerts on the floating stage, sunset cinema and July 4th Fireworks, there are great events awaiting. 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs
Airboat rides with Black Hammock Adventures, on Lake Jesup, 2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Rd., Oviedo
Botanical Gardens at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 3755 NW Hwy 18-92, Sanford
Cross-Seminole Trail hiking, part of the Florida National Scenic Trail, in Lake Mary.
Orlando North Bike Trails
The Florida National Scenic Trail is “a federally designated, non-motorized, recreation trail that spans approximately 1,300 miles across some of the state’s most beautiful and unique landscapes.”
The trails provide access to picnic tables, water fountains, sports fields, and restrooms.
Bicyclists, runners and hikers can download maps for Seminole County’s popular trails such as:
The 14-mile Flagler Trail, which runs across several of Seminole County’s most scenic wilderness areas of Chuluota and Geneva, and is great for bird watching;
The 23-mile Cross Seminole Trail, ideal for hiking, cycling and horseback riding, takes you through Oviedo, Winter Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary and Sanford;
The 14-mile Seminole-Wekiva Trail, which includes Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary and Sanford, is a rail trail that runs alongside the tracks of Florida’s old Orange Beltway Railway, at one time the longest railroad in the country.
So check your tire pressure, put on your helmet, and pedal your way through Orlando North, Seminole County.
Our Orlando North Experiences
We spent several days touring Seminole County meeting business owners. In addition to all the quality entertainment and outside recreation options, this community is filled with delicious food and breweries.
Vinzo’s Italian Grill
We visited Vinzo's Italian Grill and Pizzeria in Casselberry, Florida and enjoyed one of the best Italian meals we have had anywhere. We asked owner Vinny Essa about his restaurant.
“Our philosophy is simple: Use exceptional quality ingredients combine it with traditional culinary skills (old time cooking techniques) and you will produce an amazing product. We have a mixture of our unique creations plus our intake on traditional Italian entrees. We believe listening to customers and following trends help create most of our hit dishes,” Essa told us.
Vinzo's Italian Grill and Pizzeria is located at 1006 State Road 436, Casselberry, Florida. You can phone them at 407-331-9090. For more information, visit http://www.vinzos.com/
The Townhouse Restaurant
The Townhouse is truly an Ovideo tradition. They have been serving up good food and good times since the 1950's with a family owned and operated philosophy of "great food at fair prices." they like to say that they are where Oviedo meets to eat!!
We spoke with owner Leigh-Ann Tepper as we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with District 2 Commissioner John Horan.
"We have a lot of loyal customers. Most eat here at least once a week. Some are here three times a week."
The Townhouse is located at 139 N Central Avenue, Oviedo, Florida.
For more information, visit http://www.oviedotownhouse.com or phone 407-365-5151.
The Tennessee Truffle
The Tennessee Truffle serves delicious southern breakfast and lunch. The décor is a delight with a kitchen that resembles a tin roof building. The dining area has red brick walls, booths, tables, bar stools and even a church pew.
Owner / chef Nat Russell said, “In the Appalachian Mountains, the Tennessee Truffle is the first thing to grow in the Spring.”
His Chocolate Gravy Biscuit is incredible!
The Tennessee Truffle is located at 125 W. 1st St. Sanford, Florida. Phone them at 407-942-3977. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/thetennesseetruffle/
Lonnie's Fusion Cuisine
Lonnie's Fusion Cuisine opened in October of 2012. Owned and operated by Chef Lonnie and his wife Christina.
Chef Lonnie loves mixing flavors from other cultures and fusing them with American Cuisine. All Lonnie's all meals are prepared to order to provide you with the best meal possible.
"I'm here to knock your socks off," Chef Lonnie told us. "Our specialty is seafood and my wife creates desserts. I like French and Caribbean and Asian influences on fresh seafood."
Lonnie's Fusion Cuisine is located at 124 N 4th St Ste 1700, Lake Mary, Florida.
For more information, visit http://www.lonniesfusioncuisine.com/ or phone 407-878-5804.
The Smiling Bison
The Smiling Bison never intended to offer bison on the menu! It was named after owner Josh Oakley’s hometown of Buffalo, New York.
Even though serving bison wasn’t the original plan, they do serve an outstanding 1/3 pound bison burger.
The Smiling Bison vision “includes a primary focus on handcrafting creative, high quality, delicious tasting foods while utilizing the local food supply chain whenever possible. Additionally, within the restaurant, we take great pride in creating and sustaining an environment that completely compliments the food.”
Chef / Owner Josh Oakley told us, “We try to get everything fresh. We get some ingredients from Titusville,.“
The Smiling Bison is located at 107 S Magnolia Ave, Sanford, Florida. Phone 407-915-6086. For more information, visit http://smilingbison.com/sanford/
Crepevine founder Serge Osaulenko developed a love for crepes during a six week visit to Greece. We are glad he did. His Munchy Crunchy (banana, yogurt, almonds, granola, dried cranberry, honey) and Sweet Tooth (banana, fresh strawberries, nutella, peanut butter) are fantastic.
The Crepevine is located at 249 West State Road 436, Altamonte Springs, Florida. Phone 321-972-8999. For more information, visit www.thecrepevine.com
We joined Theo Hollerbach for lunch at his popular Hollerbach's and we enjoyed a variety of German foods. “It’s comfort food to me. It’s just good home cooking,” he said.
Theo is a lot of fun! Here’s a little bit of what he told us.
“We like to say Hollerbach's – Where Gemütlichkeit Happens. It means happiness, peace through meals.”
“We’re going to be trying the Kissing Beer. If you have a good beer, you have a better chance at getting a kiss!”
“We have a really good oompah band and people spend two to three hours enjoying themselves. Some of our guests start a conga line and dance around the restaurant.”
Hollerbach's is located at 205 E 1st Street, Sanford, Florida. For more information, visit https://hollerbachs.com/
Hourglass Brewing is all about quality. They never use any of malt, hop or flavor extracts. They use only natural ingredients “from locally grown tropical fruits to Indian and South American herbs, hops from Africa and Japan, or malt from Chile and Scotland.”
Their 240 seat taproom is decorated with “nostalgic remembrances, geek culture, and the work of local artists.” Table top and console games are offered for free play and they host live music and comedy nights.
Matt Gemmell told us, “We try to make it about beer first. You try flavors but at the end of the day, it’s still beer and that’s important for us. Brewing is both an art and a science. It is a blend of the two. There is a lot of guesswork and experimentation. Sometimes we want people to come in and say what the hell is that?”
Hourglass Brewing is located at 480 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd, Longwood, Florida. Phone 407- 262-0056. For more information, visit http://thehourglassbrewery.com/
Wop’s Hops Brewery
Wop’s Hops Brewing Company is Sanford’s first microbrewery. It is located in historic downtown Sanford in the landmark Stokes Fish Market building.
Wop’s Hops Brewing Company offers fine craft ales, a selection of wines, sodas and dog-friendly beer garden.
“It’s fun to be part of the craft beer scene in Florida. I approach brewing beer the way a chef approaches a fine meal. It has a lot of art to it,” co-owner Greg Piecora told us.
Wop’s Hops Brewing Company is located at 419 S Sanford Ave, Sanford, Florida. Phone 407-878-7819. For more information, visit www.wopshopsbrewing.com
Bowigens Beer Company
Bowigens is a mixture of the owner’s (Kevin Wigen and Bobby Bowen) last names.
Bowigens Beer Company began when musicians and long-time friends Kevin Wigen and Bobby Bowen turned their love for brewing beer into a business.
Wigen and Bowen rely on a strong balance between art and science and pride themselves on being artistic brewers.
“Most of the time, you are drinking beer that is 24 hours old. Every beer goes into a specific glass that accentuates the flavor. We feel like we’re helping educate people about beer,” Bowen told us.
Bowigens Beer Company is located at 1014 State Road 436, Casselberry, Florida. Phone 407-960-7816. 407-878-7819. For more information, visit https://www.bowigens.com/
Limo Cycle Tours
Tour Sanford, Florida on a pedal powered bar! Even though drinking and driving is thankfully illegal, drinking and pedaling is not…when you are on a Limo Cycle Tour in Sanford, Florida. We enjoyed a Limo Cycle Tour and spoke with Managing Partner Steve Tishman.
“Limo Cycle is an eco-friendly, pedal-powered, team building, pub crawling, birthday celebrating, bachelorette partying, memory making good time!” Tishman said.
Limo Cycle Tours is located at 303 W 3rd St, #4, Sanford, Florida. For more information, visit www.limocycle.com or phone 855-756-9FUN.
Seminole County or Orlando North offers a wide variety of quality food, fun and entertainment.
For more information, visit www.DoOrlandoNorth.com
For gay travelers, view the LGBT Guide to Orlando at http://www.visitorlando.com/lgbtq/
For nudist and naturist travelers, nearby Cypress Cove Nudist Resort is the Orlando area's most peaceful, welcoming and natural resort. For more information, visit http://www.gaytravelersmagazine.com/cypress-cove-nudist-resort.html
Article and photos by Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong
Copyright 2017 Sunny Harbor Publishing.
Sunny Harbor Publishing, PO Box 560318, Rockledge, FL 32956
Phone: 321-446-7552. Email: SunnyHarborPublishing@yahoo.com Website: www.SunnyHarborPublishing.org