Simple. Local. Delicious.
I am a planner. I’m the friend who loves to plan things months in advance, researches venues until all options have been explored, devises a payment schedule, creates an itinerary and designs classy (and fun!) personalized invitations. It doesn’t matter the event. I simply love to plan. So imagine my chagrin, when here it was, two weeks before my birthday, and I had yet to decide what, when or where I would be celebrating the anniversary of my birth. It was quite embarrassing, I assure you.
Lucky for me, a new restaurant had recently opened in the beautiful 55 W. Church Street building in downtown Orlando. Located right in the heart of the restaurant/bar/nightlife section of downtown Orlando, I had passed The Rusty Spoon many times, and often commented on its elegant exterior and intriguing name. So, I thought to myself, why not be a little adventurous and take a gamble on a birthday dinner at a locale that no one had yet visited.
First, I absolutely love the concept of The Rusty Spoon. Based on the original English pub, which at first offered little to no food (obviously, the primary purpose of the pub was to serve alcohol), pubs then evolved to serve “pub grub” — comfort foods that were fresh and had clean flavors. Fast forward to the 90s and the invention of the gastro pub, the inspiration for The Rusty Spoon — American cuisine rooted in European flavors. The best part being that the ingredients are sourced from Florida farmers who feed their livestock all-natural diets that are free of hormones, antibiotics and unnatural supplements. The food is in season, starts local, and stays local. How awesomely cool is that?
The Monday evening of my birthday, 14 of my closest friends and I visited The Rusty Spoon. I had made a reservation, and we were immediately seated by the very friendly hostess. Our server promptly took our drink orders, and the evening was off and running! Other than a slightly longer-than-normal wait time for our beverages (well, there were 15 of us), the meal was flawless. Yes, the restaurant has some really cool elements — the napkin holders were great, the artwork was unique and fun, and everything from the chairs to the bathroom sink to the linens looked and felt expensive. But all that aside, the food was the star. Our group had conveniently managed to order almost one of every entrée, and there wasn’t a single complaint. The plates with the lamb, steak and 55 burger were especially clean. Rumor has it the lunch menu is just as appealing, and The Rusty Spoon even boasts a food truck!
With its prime location on Church Street in downtown Orlando, elegant and contemporary furnishings, unique style, incredible food and incredible food (yes, it deserves to be said twice), The Rusty Spoon is a pretty cool take on a pretty well-used concept. But please don’t let “pub” fool you. Yes the drinks are great and do their job, but it’s the fresh, local menu that really makes The Rusty Spoon a downtown Orlando must-visit. Or at the very least, track down that food truck.
Looking to do something before or after dinner?
Downtown Orlando has great live entertainment, in addition to a wide variety of bars, clubs and lounges. Here are a few places to check out after a delicious dinner at The Rusty Spoon.
Mad Cow Theatre is located across the street from The Rusty Spoon. It's a great place to catch a live piece of theater in an intimate setting.
Corona Cigar Company is around the corner on Orange Ave. They offer an incredible cigar selection in their retail space, and a very unique smoking lounge complete with a bar that serves liquor, beer and wine. They also have outdoor seating that overlooks Orange Street for excellent people-watching.
SAK Comedy Lab is a great place to laugh. Located a little further north on Orange Ave just above City Arts Factory, they have multiple shows per night to accommodate any schedule.