Quick Bites: Midtown Grill is Tops

Suzanne Holmes seems to have the touch when it comes to restaurants. Before Midtown Grill, nestled in downtown Leesburg, Holmes owned a nearby store, Sinfully Sweets, that started out with only confections but soon turned into an extremely popular sandwich shop. She sold it to her kitchen managers and leased what used to be 5th Street Charhouse for her latest endeavor. Together, she and her father, Allen Girard, gutted the entire building, raised the ceiling height, added gorgeous trim, recessed lighting and walls, and much more.

On one side of the restaurant, you can enjoy your meal under soft lighting in oversized booths surrounded by metal and fabric artwork. The other side is nothing short of a full-scale sports bar with a stage for live entertainment and wide screens for enjoying your favorite sports.

On my visit, I had the Midtown Salmon with bourbon sauce after enjoying the chunky Shrimp and Crab Dip appetizer. A mandarin orange salad, drizzled with sesame ginger dressing made with a Balsamic reduction, and a loaded baked potato were my sides along with fresh ciabatta bread.

Chef John Dye is Holmes’ secret to happy customers, and she’s by his side most of the time, overseeing his creations for the evening, many that are not even on the menu.

“He amazes me with some of the things he comes up with,” Holmes says. “He’s very creative and has been a huge asset since
his arrival.”

There is far too much to say about this beautiful restaurant, but you can visit leesburgmidtowngrill.com to view photos and find out information about specials including “Girls Gone Wine,” karaoke, and NFL and college football.

If you’re looking for a romantic setting, ask about the private room of booths with extra high backs and sides. Reserve yours for the upcoming holidays, especially Valentine’s Day, since seating is limited. A private bar with a bartender is also in the room. If you’re looking to impress, have fun, and enjoy great food, call (352) 787-0023.

Meanwhile in Mount Dora, Athens NY Style Diner opened about four months ago.

“I was raised in the restaurant business in New York,” says Owner Christopher Kitrinos. “Our family has had old-fashioned diners to four-star European restaurants.”

Located in a strip mall on Hwy. 441, the interior offers lots of open space, including a private area of 64 seats. Run by mom, dad, son, future wife, and sister, this eatery is definitely a family affair. Family-friendly is actually an understatement, especially when you see all the little customers’ drawings on the walls.

The menu offers over 120 items, including authentic Greek dishes. A native of Greece, Christopher’s dad came out of retirement to create all the desserts and uses old family’s recipes for many of them. Selections include NY Mousse Cheesecake, Baklava, and Banana or Coconut Cream pie, among many others. A tall dessert case proudly displays the quickly disappearing confections.

“Almost everything is made fresh here daily,” Kitrinos says. One of our best items is the battered haddock. We’ve sold over 200 pounds of it on Friday nights.”

Athens NY Diner also offers beer and wine and is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The website—athensnydiner.com—is under construction, but call (352) 385-3592 for party reservations, platters, or catering this holiday season.

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