Quick Bites: Carmichael’s Returns To Ocala

The familiar logo has some wondering if it’s the real thing or déjà vu. Well, it’s the real thing! Carmichael’s Restaurant is back, right down to the same phone number, (352) 622-3636. The menu is almost identical to the old, and the sunset dinners pick up where they left off three years ago at $7.89. Luckily for me, that includes my favorite—the Roast Turkey with Pennsylvania Country Dressing. Ken DePasquale is on-hand, reinforcing the Carmichael’s concept while General Manager, Ron Reddish, oversees the daily operations.

Says DePasquale of the old days at Carmichael’s on the Boulevard, “Ron was a formidable competitor for me in the ‘80s when he operated Bennigan’s.” He adds with a chuckle, “I was happy when he left. Now I’m just happy to have him here. I can’t think of anyone that could do a better job.”

Although traditionally Carmichael’s was also open for breakfast, DePasquale tried to get away with just lunch and dinner. “Our customers wouldn’t hear of it,” he says.

Along with those delicious dinner rolls in the evening, served with your choice of butter, jam, or peanut butter, the irresistible orange rolls are also back in the mornings, seven days a week.

In other news, if I said that two-for-one fajitas are back on Wednesday nights, which restaurant are you thinking of? How about the best tasting jumbo onion rings on a stick? If you said Cody’s Original Roadhouse Grill, you’re right.

Cody’s new owner, John Demetriadis, is opening in the old HOPS on SR 200 this month. Remodeling includes removing the carpet and replacing it with a non-skid floor for peanut shells that patrons are allowed to drop anywhere they please. The kitchen is larger. The mini microbrewery is a game room, and the dining room middle section that consisted of two-seaters is gone to accommodate larger parties.

Demetriadis, who has no affiliation with the last owners on East 40, has 35 years in the hospitality field under his belt, ranging from work in private businesses to large franchise corporations. Asked why this location, he says, “Ocala has been screaming for a Cody’s since the last one closed. Even in this market, our numbers show there’s potential to do well.”

Visit www.codysoriginalroadhouse.com and click on “specials” to see the deals offered throughout the week.

A new service is in town. It’s been tried several times but no one seemed to have a handle on it like Jason and Vicki Boutwell do. www.OcalaFood.com is a delivery service much like GatorFood.com in Gainesville. The delivery fee is more than reasonable at $5.99 per restaurant or $3.99 if you order online. With current gas prices, the deal is even sweeter.

Of course, you’re expected to tip your driver the customary 15-20 percent, but remember, an order of one meal or 20 meals from the same restaurant will incur only one delivery fee. You may have seen the digest-sized booklet around town with participating restaurants and their menus. Go to their Web site for more options as newer restaurants are signing up every month.

Nibbles: Newly closed restaurants include HOPS, Shells Seafood, and Bennigan’s. HOPS (Cody’s) and Perkins (Agave) have found new owners. There are no indications of remodeling at Bella Luna despite the sign noting otherwise. On The Flipside Café has opened in the old Bistro Mediterranean Grill (more next issue). José Moreno’s Uptown Grill on Silver Springs Boulevard is featuring a new, extensive dinner menu. See it at www.uptowngrillocala.com.

What new restaurant would
you like to see come to Ocala?
 E-mail your response to
roseann@ocalastyle.com  and we’ll
put the results in future issues.

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