Quick Bites: The Fast Casual Alternative

According to Wikipedia, a fast casual restaurant is similar to a fast-food restaurant. While it doesn’t offer full table service, it does boast a higher quality of food and atmosphere. Fast casual is a growing concept as the option between fast-food and casual dining. Cool Blue Burrito, (352) 237-2665, a couple of doors down from Harry’s, definitely fits the bill.


An idea born in St. Cloud, Fla., David and Shyvonne White envisioned Cool Blue Burrito for Ocala. The restaurant’s surfing theme is complete with flat screens showing continuous videos of wipeouts and pipelines. The menu is basic but the food is far from it, like the Jamaican jerk chicken, lobster quesadillas, black bean soup, and chicken gumbo.


Lorenzo DelGiudice is at it again. After selling Lorenzo’s Pizza & Pasta on Hwy. 27 in 2003, which is still in business, he’s now operating Lorenzo’s Kucina, (352) 861-8882, on the east side of the Friendship Center on SR 200. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves pizza and deli items such as subs, soups, and salads. Also on the menu are many Italian dishes made to order, reasonably ranging from $10.50 to $13.95.


Pulp Kitchen, (352) 237-0745, opened in June where Rondo’s used to be in the College Park Plaza on SR 200. The remodeled unit is now lighter, brighter, and cleverly decorated with a Hollywood theme.


Partners Michael Monisky and Jeremy Strawder invite you to come in and try their Bang Bang Chicken with Kaboom sauce. The menu is creatively written with movie star and theatrical innuendos. Try the bison, black Angus, and many other items on the extensive menu. One signature dish is the “Be Cool Burger” served with peanut butter instead of mayo! Travolta has no affiliation with Pulp Kitchen, “but we sure would like for him to come and try us out,” says Monisky.


Nibbles: The Pizza Factory, (352) 368-5000, is under new ownership. Dewayne Mona hasn’t changed the menu much but has changed the quality.


“We make all our pasta dishes in house and to order,” he says. “We now offer a dessert calzone.”


Stuffed with a sweet ricotta cream and a fruit of your choice, the calzone is sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a side of icing. Spicy Pickle (www.spicypickle.com) is coming to the new mall on SR 200. Johnny’s Pizzeria opens this month on 14th Street. Just a few doors down and after 15 years in business, Eddie’s Place has closed and is moving to a new location. Carol Aschbrenner who wrote in requesting a German restaurant will be happy to know The Schnitzel Factory will be opening in its place.


Roundup Café on N. Magnolia is under new ownership by previous owners Hugh and Beth Rose of Horse & Hounds. Taco Maker (www.tacomaker.com) is coming to the east side of Ocala. Agave, a plant that serves many purposes and is used to make tequila, is the name of a new restaurant under construction where Perkins used to be.


Raven McMillan, shift manager for Starbucks, is excited about working at the new east Ocala location.


“I love working there because the company is flexible with my college classes,” she says. “Even on my days off, I hang out there because it’s like family.”


Bagelicious is now open on Sundays. Carmichael’s Café has closed in Ocala Palms and is now operating under a new name with a new menu. PI, a pizzeria and more, is under construction next to Ocala Wine Experience. Fiore’s on Pine Avenue is under new ownership. China Star Sushi is coming to Canopy Oaks on SR 200. The new Mi Tierra Caliente is located off of I-75 by 484.


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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