Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

Azteca Mexican Restaurant
"Azteca Mexican Restaurant"
Olympus E-P2 with 17mm
1/1600s, f/5.6, ISO 200

It's January on University Blvd, so it must be time to recycle all those restaurants that went belly up the previous year. This used to be an Uno's Chicago Grill. I ate many a meal here, typically lunches. But the business turned sour, the competition from the other restaurants all up and down University turned fierce, and the higher cost eateries like this Uno's shut down and moved out.

It's going to be interesting to see how long Azteca survives. There's already a Chipotle's less than a block west on University, while less than a block in the other direction is El Cerro Grande, yet another Mexican food eatery chain.

They're Keeping the Bar
"They're Keeping the Bar"
Olympus E-P2 with 17mm
1/15s, f/5.6, ISO 200

It appears that Azteca is leaving most of the building intact. Yes, they're putting in clichéd Mexican arched walls, but for the most part theyre leaving the underlying building intact. It'll be interesting to see what it finally looks like.

Speaking of Mexican restaurants, this used to be a Don Pablo's back in 2007. It went belly up and then turned into a cheap-as-hell sports bar catering to UCF frat boys. Hardly anything was changed except for the signage out front. I lost track of the number of name changes the bar when through, except to say it was at least three. At least the parking lot'll be clear of plastic cups with leftover beer.

It's Dead Again
"It's Dead Again"
Olympus E-P2 with ZD 9-18mm and MMF-1 adapter
1/100s, f/5, ISO 200, 9mm, +1 EV

Here's a former Boston Market, again on University, transformed into a Japanese restaurant. This property wasn't empty that long (neither was the former Uno's). Needless to say it'll be interesting to see how long they stay in business. These businesses depend on patronage from the local engineers and UCF, primarily the engineers. With a number of DoD projects winding down, and with more cutbacks to existing programs in the offing, it remains to be seen if these competing restaurants can all become profitable and stick around.

Kyoto Japanese Sushi and Grill
"Kyoto Japanese Sushi & Grill"
Olympus E-P2 with 17mm
1/50s, f/4, ISO 200

This is the Tilted Kilt, a former Bennigan's fern bar. It's been in business since July 2010, which in this environment seems like an eternity. It's biggest draw are the young busty waitresses with plunging necklines and short skirts (pardon, kilts). It's a sports bar with recognizable food and alcoholic beverages of reasonable reputation. It's probably what helped drive the cheap bar in the former Don Pablo's out of business.

Except for a little paint and the sign over the entrance, nothing much changed.

Tilted Kilt, formerly Benigans
"Tilted Kilt"

Bennigan's Grill & Tavern UCF
"Bennigan's Grill and Tavern UCF"

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