Instagram influencer Christina Petsos is back to show you don’t have to wait for Pride Month to savor delicious LGBTQ+ owned restaurants in Orlando (‘Orlando Strong’ mural at Se7en Bites pictured, courtesy City of Orlando).
In Orlando, we strive to be an inclusive community — meaning we accept all people for who they are. Our LGBTQ+ community has made great strides, and I am a proud ally who believes it is important to feature and support LGBTQ+ owned businesses to show they are loved and valued. This month, I wanted to feature some special businesses close to my heart that I genuinely love, all LGBTQ+ owned — and all delicious.
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Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
I get asked where to eat at Disney Springs® often, and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is the very first place I always recommend if you can snag a reservation. Smith is a James Beard Award winner and prior personal chef for Oprah Winfrey. To say he is talented is an understatement.
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Smith was raised in Florida, and Homecomin’ is a nod to his roots. The food is mainly Southern comfort food. I have dined here multiple times, and it always hits every single visit. Whether you are visiting or a local, Homecomin’ should be on your short list of restaurants to experience.
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One of my favorite things at Homecomin’ is the moonshine flight. You can try all the flavors this way (and maybe get a bit of a buzz). For an entree, I tend to always order the Fried Chicken & Doughnuts with mac and cheese. I’m not usually a creature of habit, but it is just so good that I know I need it every time.
The Glass Knife
On bustling Orlando Avenue in Winter Park sits the impressive bakery known as The Glass Knife. They are well known for their beautiful, handcrafted pastries and scratch-made savory dishes. In June, they have fun Pride-themed pastries. You can’t miss their giant cinnamon rolls or a petite cake either. Grab a cup of coffee, too — I’ve enjoyed every flavor I’ve tried. And do not sleep on their savory items like the Egg Biscuit Sandwich; it’s one of my favorite things here. They are also super dog friendly.
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The name of The Glass Knife is rooted in history and family tradition. Owner/founder Steve Brown’s mother was a cake decorator and she collected glass knives. In fact, all the glass knives in the long table inside the eatery belonged to her. Glass knives were common before stainless steel knives were created. Prior to that, if a cake was cut with a metal knife, it would leave a metallic taste, so a man named John Didio decided a glass knife was needed so there was no taste left behind.
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When the sign for The Glass Knife went up, Brown was contacted by John Didio’s granddaughter. Turns out, she lives in Central Florida! Small world. Her family donated one of Didio’s printing plates, which is also on display in the store. Be sure to look for it next time you’re there. And if you’re wondering what Brown’s favorite treat in their case is, it’s the Oatmeal Creme Pie.
Chef Trina Gregory-Popst isn’t a Food Network regular and head of a MICHELIN Recommended restaurant for nothing. The Se7en Bites owner is a master in the kitchen. Talk about some down-home, Southern comfort cooking, right in the heart of Orlando’s Milk District.
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I tend to always go for the sweet options here, but the savory is just as good. Each year for Pride Month, Se7en Bites has a rainbow cake and rainbow cinnamon rolls (they are heavenly). And no matter the time of year, you can get a myriad of other baked goods that are all fantastic choices. If I had to tell you what to get, it would be the Signature Chicken Biscuit, Minnie Pearl or Nighttime Sky Pie.
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Chef Trina is a local pillar here in the Orlando community, which is evident by the other local businesses who partner with her such as Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. and Orange Blossom Brewing Co. In fact, Se7en Bites is the only restaurant Barnie’s has ever agreed to create a coffee for. If you visit, bring your hunger, because the portions are massive. You will leave here very satisfied.
South of Orlando’s SoDo district, Hungry Pants is a “plant curious” restaurant serving up some seriously great comfort food that you don’t have to feel guilty eating. What is plant curious? It means that the dishes here are based around vegetables with the option to add protein. This makes it a great option for everyone. You know how sometimes vegans and non-vegans struggle to find a place that truly accommodates them all? Hungry Pants totally solves that problem. Everything is made with clean and high-quality ingredients, something the owners (and I) find extremely important.
The menu is very much built around sharing, as co-owner and managing partner Alex Marin loves to entertain. They have lighter bites separated into “nibble” and “nosh” sections to emulate this. One must-try dish here is the Most Delicious Potatoes. Trust me on this one: They will change your life.
This summer, they gave a Mediterranean feel to their menu, and I’m loving it. Everything has amazing flavor, and I definitely recommend it. They also have a super fun pineapple lemonade with pea tea that changes colors when you put lemon in it.
Located in downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park neighborhood, this Caribbean inspired restaurant hosts a fabulous drag brunch on Sundays, and a lovely dinner in the evenings. Their drag brunch is a lot of fun and typically sells out each Sunday, so it does require a reservation.
Island Time’s dinner service is not to be missed, though. The food here is big in flavor, with notable options like their Braised Oxtail and Snapper Escovitch.
I love sitting out on their patio near sunset and enjoying the weather when it is nice out. This is an awesome neighborhood spot that is great to hang out with your friends at.
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