• Empty storefronts filling out in downtown Orlando


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Downtown Orlando appears to be getting its groove back.

    Although restaurants and bars have gone out of business in downtown Orlando, the vacant storefronts aren't staying empty for long.

    Just a few years ago, a restaurant closing in downtown Orlando meant a vacancy of several years.

    That is no longer the case. A good example is the newly opened Don Jefe's Tequila Parlour, formerly Antigua.

    While it's not surprising to see restaurants and bars shuttered regularly in downtown Orlando, what has changed is the pace at which they reopen under a new name.

    The new restaurant Lotus is training staff for the weekend's soft open in a space that was recently Nick's Italian Kitchen.

    Co-owner Jesse Newton said downtown Orlando is reviving, so locations like the one at Eola Drive and Church Street don't stay closed for long.

    "We're absolutely excited and think that downtown Orlando is ready to flourish," Newton said.

    Newton said it's much easier to go through the process of getting doors open and can be seen all over downtown Orlando.

    It's a trend that bodes well for Orlando foodies with unique new concepts like Kasa Tapas, Raw Bar and The Flame Broiler opening soon.

    In the case of a Five Guys burger joint that didn't last long, downtown Orlando veteran Graffiti Junktion plans to try a whole new concept in the former burger joint.

    "If you're not unique, you're certainly going to be closing down soon. It's a cutthroat industry and you always have to be better," Newton said.

    Much like the Graffiti Junktion owners trying a new concept, the owners of Lotus will be opening four locations in Orlando.

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    Empty storefronts filling out in downtown Orlando