Park Avenue, the main drag of Winter Park, offers many local boutiques and a few national retailers. For almost 40 years, the place to fuel up for a day of shopping has been Briarpatch (thebriarpatchrestaurant.com; 407-628-8651; 252 Park Ave. N). Before the humidity takes over, grab a prime people-watching seat at one of the sidewalk tables and try a Belgian waffle topped with two eggs and four chunky slices of bourbon-braised pork belly ($19). A short rib Benedict ($18) piles the braised beef and poached eggs on top of home fries and covers it all with chipotle hollandaise. On the weekends, there will probably be a line, but it moves fast, and there will be a cold-brew coffee cocktail spiked with coconut rum ($12) available as a reward for waiting.
Chefs James and Julie Petrakis, who helped make Winter Park a dining destination with the Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, have teamed with Rhys and Alexia Gawlak to open Swine & Sons (swineandsons.com; 407-636-7601; 595 W. Fairbanks Ave.) as a quick-serve and takeout option for their housemade charcuterie. Ask anyone behind the counter, and they’ll probably say their favorite sandwich is the pastrami ($12) brined for seven days, smoked for four hours, then cooked in a sous-vide bath for 12 hours before being sliced and topped with Swiss, horseradish mayo, bread-and-butter pickles, and a sprinkle of dill. A shrimp roll ($12) celebrates two of the state’s most famous ingredients — shrimp and citrus — on a sub roll so overstuffed that when all the extra filling falls out, you’ll find what amounts to a salad on the plate. Nothing goes to waste: Pimento cheese ($9) is topped with jam made with remnants of the charcuterie, offering a salty-sweet hit of pork.
Chef Brandon McGlamery already had a corner on Park Avenue’s fine dining market with Luma on Park and Prato when he opened Luke’s Kitchen and Bar (eatatlukes.com; 407-674-2400; 640 S. Orlando Ave.) in nearby Maitland. The vibe here is more relaxed, with classic dishes prepared with a James Beard Award nominee’s attention to detail. It’s easy to make a meal of the small plates, such as a few deviled eggs ($10), or a plate of fried fingerling potatoes on a bed of pimento cheese ($9). But if you’re game for a half a chicken ($23), the bird here comes off the rotisserie on top of a baked potato puree. The cocktail program takes a similarly classic approach with drinks such as a bracing Sazerac ($10). But if you need to drive back to a hotel on the other side of town, there’s a list of housemade sodas to keep it interesting.