Exploring Our Favorite Local Spots in Orlando
In this 8-part series, we are shining a light on small businesses in the cities where we currently operate. With so many communities struggling today, we’re inviting you to join us in standing by local establishments you know and love. Each week we’ll feature a different city, highlighting five gems submitted by our riders and employees, and give away $1,000 worth of gift cards to these spots on our Instagram account.
In 2018, according to Visit Florida, Orlando set the US tourism record for the 8th consecutive year by attracting 126 MILLION out-of-state visitors! O-Town (one of its nicknames) is known for its famous theme parks — Disneyworld, Universal Orlando, and Gatorland — but it has more to offer than just thrills. With a thriving performing arts scene, a booming tech industry, scenic golf courses, and great weather, there are many reasons to visit.
Orlando’s neighborhoods are especially alluring. In Park Lake Highland, you can dine in the Mills 50 District with a dazzling view of the city skyline. The Milk District is home to The Plaza Live (one of the area’s oldest theaters) and is well-known for its food truck and street party scene. Audubon Park is a neighborhood committed to environmental sustainability; in recent years they planted 500 species of native plants in the area!
Whether you’re a local or a visitor from out of town, one of the best ways to get an authentic Orlando experience is to bounce around the neighborhoods mentioned above, and more, to check out some of the excellent small businesses therein.
Here are five of our favorite spots to get you started. Thank you to our riders and employees for your submissions, along with personal anecdotes.
Tako Cheena: In 2011, Edgardo Guzman opened this unique eatery and started serving up tacos with a twist. With varieties such as Thai peanut chicken (served with cabbage, Thai peanut sauce, cilantro, scallion, crushed peanuts) and Korean beef (cabbage, kimchi, cilantro, scallion, sesame seeds), patrons were intrigued and delighted. “Their tacos are so interesting!” Shayna Z said. “I’d never had anything like them, but once I took my first bite, I was in love with the flavor combinations.” You can fall in love, too, by visiting their website for menus and locations. Photos courtesy of Tako Cheena.
The Heavy: The Heavy is more than just a store — it’s an experience. Owner Jen Crotty intentionally created this outdoor/indoor space to have a relaxed, community feel. It includes pop-up food vendors, a flower bar, and local artisan goods. “The Heavy is such an eclectic little gem,” Christina explained. “This warehouse turned plant paradise is the afternoon getaway you didn’t know you needed. They sell plants, succulents, and custom arrangements, along with knick-knacks, and they have a dope coffee bar. It’s one of my favorite spots to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle.” Visit their website to schedule a shopping appointment or to purchase gift cards. Photos courtesy of The Heavy.
Farm and Haus: It’s a family affair! Brittany Walsh-Lyne and Patrick Lyne started Farm and Haus as a dinner delivery service, preparing food out of their home kitchen, in 2015. To their delight, the demand was high for local, organic, nutrient-dense food, and they’ve been growing ever since. With a counter-service location in East End Market and several mobile cafes, the Lyne family takes pride in serving Orlando healthy and delicious food. “Farm and Haus is one of those restaurants where your body feels great after you finish your meal,” Polly O remarked. “Their Mediterranean Bowl is especially tasty!” Check out their website for a full menu, and to order takeout or purchase gift cards. Photos courtesy of Farm and Haus
Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream: Once upon a time, Kelly Seidl was a nursing school student. To help pay for her education, she took a job at an ice cream shop. While working, every time Kelly handed a customer a scoop, she realized it put a big smile on their face. Those ice cream smiles were so infectious and uplifting that she decided to make a career out creating them. “You can taste the love in Kelly’s Homemade ice cream,” Juan P exclaimed. “It’s so fresh and good. I’m there at least once a week, and I always bring new friends so they can experience it, too.” You can purchase gift cards on their website. Photos courtesy of Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream.
B3 Cafe: Jen and Darrell Cunningham, central Florida mainstays and cycling fanatics, craved a community gathering spot where they themselves could hang out. Such is the origin story of B3 Cafe, a local hub specializing in good, healthy food and a friendly atmosphere. They boast free monthly beer tasting events, vegan and gluten-free meal options, and a commitment to environmental sustainability. Judy A calls it the “ultimate neighborhood cafe.” She adds, “There is a welcoming and friendly vibe that always keeps me coming back.” Check out their website for gift cards or visit in-person for a takeout order. Photos courtesy of B3 Cafe.
And that’s a wrap, folks! In the last two months we’ve taken you on a tour of some amazing small businesses across the country. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. Our communities are important to us, and local companies give those communities their character and identity. Thank you to all our riders and employees for submissions. We hope to see you on the roads soon, safe and healthy!