Plus, tonight, we want to tuck you in. Sorta.
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🎤 Opera Orlando presents Carmen LIVE!

Don’t miss Bizet’s fiery masterwork Carmen in the Walt Disney Theater at Dr. Phillips Center - an original production set in 1960s Haiti.

Socially distanced seating starts at just $19

🍝 Psst... did you eat yet? Because today's newsletter will make you hungry.

Plus, tonight, we want to tuck you in. Sorta.

Welcome to Wednesday, folks. 

And not just any Wednesday: It’s St. Paddy’s Day, y’all. I’ll be celebrating at home with some cottage pie if I play my cards right. What about you, Pulptown readers — do you have green-clad plans? I know where you can get a healthy serving of corned beef and cabbage, but I’m not telling you just yet. You’ll have to keep reading… 

We’re changing things up and sticking to almost all food news in today’s newsletter, minus tonight’s bedtime story. 😴. We’re talking Portillo’s delayed opening, where to get your White Castle on, news about the Park Ave. Patisserie, and more. Plus, we’ve got one very important question for you: Did you eat yet?   

Speaking of pies and good Irish food, Lisa of @tastecooksip has us dreaming about lunch already with this shot of the chicken, mushroom, and leek pie from Claddagh Cottage in the Hourglass District. 📸: @tastecooksip | Wanna see your photo here? Tag either #pulptown or @pulptown on Instagram to be featured as our IG of the Day! 

What Orlando is talking about

🌭 Popular Chicago-based hot dog chain Portillo’s has once again postponed its Orlando opening. This time, there’s been no announcement of a future opening date, but we do know they’re still in the middle of hiring 150 new employees in case you know of anyone looking. (Orlando Weekly

🇫🇷 The IG-worthy Financier Patisserie & Café on Park Ave in Winter Park is making some changes at the request of its guests. The eatery is expanding its offerings and changes include a new name — Financier Bistro & Bar à Vin — and more savory selections coming to its menu. (The 32789)

🍿 Our buddies over at Bungalower are hosting a pop-up movie night on Friday and they’re featuring “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”. Here’s the plot twist: White Castle is being served up to whoever attends. Predictably, tickets are selling fast. (Bungalower)

  • Related:  Popular Orlando-based viral YouTubers Hellthy Junk Food are looking for a foodie chef to join their team. They want someone who can make burgers, deep-fried deliciousness, and desserts for them to devour on their popular TikTok channel. Is that you? It’s certainly not me — I can barely handle a grilled cheese. 😬 (Bungalower

🎨 The Walls of Pho Hoa just underwent a facelift. The popular walls known for their Instagrammable appeal just got a makeover courtesy of local artist @eduardosmet and the folks over at Deep Eddy Vodka. You can see for yourself the next time you’re eating noods at Pho Hoa, grabbing a bite at Se7en Bites or a drink at A La Cart. (Walls of PhoHoa on Instagram)

DID YOU EAT YET? With Mason Jar Provisions

As I mentioned above, we’re kicking off a new weekly series in Pulptown today. It’s called Did You Eat Yet, and every Wednesday, I’ll “sit-down” with a local restaurateur, chef, or foodie to talk about how they got their start, their favorite meals in Orlando, and maybe even sneak in a secret recipe or two. 

We’re kicking things off with a feature on AJ Haines, co-owner and chef of Mason Jar Provisions in Thornton Park. Full transparency, I know AJ from having worked with him at The Waterfront in SODO years ago. 

In a few sentences or less, tell us when you knew you'd get into this business. I moved to Orlando in 2009. It was always part of the plan to open a restaurant here. 

How did your role in the restaurant business come to be? I’ve worked in the industry for a long time (Besides The Waterfront, AJ also worked at Wolfie's Pizza Mia, The Parkview, Prato, Luma, and Via Napoli). I thought Mason Jar Provisions would get its start four years ago — that’s when I first started eyeing this space — but it got scooped up by another restaurant group before my investors got back to me. On April 20, 2020, I received a call that that space was available again. We (Jeff Darnell, business partner, GM of Burton's Bar) were both in our hometowns spending time with family during the shutdown. We immediately got to work on the opening of MJP.

You can eat one meal in Orlando that's not your own — where are you going and what's on the menu? King Cajun for the King Feast, and I’m definitely adding a cluster of king crab legs!

What is one Orlando food-related news story that you think people need to be paying more attention to? Supporting local restaurants is essential to their longevity right now and buying directly from those businesses is of key importance. Uber, Door Dash, Grub Hub — they all hurt our bottom lines and impact our survival as a sustainable restaurant.

How has the pandemic affected your business? Being able to reach our customers to start with: As a business, we tried and found ways to make things work. Thornton Park District and the city helped with our parklets out front. Burton's owners purchased picnic tables to help expand seating for both of our businesses. Word-of-mouth and social media have helped, and our social media supporters City 2 Nite and Kaleigh Gardner, otherwise known as @itsthepizzaslut, have also helped get our food to the public through photos and videos.

How can Pulptown readers best support you right now? Stop in and order from us. Support other locally-owned small businesses. Hopefully, you like us, and knowing that you will, share our info with friends and family.

▶️ Find out where AJ would order his “last meal” from in Orlando, what he'd cook up for his favorite movie star, and what he hopes to be remembered for in 100 years by reading our full interview here

🥩 Are you hungry? Ready to eat yet? Mason Jar Provisions is serving up corned beef and cabbage tonight for the holiday. Tuesdays are Pasta Night and Fridays are Fish Fry Fridays. All of this in addition to its regular menu offerings of burgers, wings, ribs, fried pickles, and more southern delights.

📩 What restaurant/chef/foodie should we feature next time? Hit reply and let us know.

👀 Wanna play a game? 

We’re playing a little Orlando trivia with our members. One member who correctly answers this week’s question about a local civil rights legend by 6 p.m. tomorrow will win a free ad in an upcoming newsletter.

Wanna play? Join us! For $8 a month (or $80 a year), our members help make everything you know and love about Pulptown possible. Members get special perks like member-only trivia, exclusive content, and we have a little extra fun with them too. 😉


☮️ Take a yoga class in the garden at Mead Botanical Garden (Winter Park)

☘️ Enjoy a hearty St. Paddy's Day meal of bangers and mash and shepherd's pie followed by lots of Irish beer at Orlando Brewing (Orlando Brewing )

☘️ Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with live music and Irish eats at Claddagh Pub (Curry Ford West)

☮️ Start your St. Patrick's Day strong with yoga in the garden (Winter Park)

🖼 Take an exclusive tour of the current exhibit, "A Boundless Drop to a Boundless Ocean" at Orlando Museum of Art (Loch Haven Park)


🌸 Design your own spring floral arrangement via Facebook Live at In Bloom Florist's Spring Virtual Design Class (Online/SoDo)

🎶 Jam out to Jordan Foley and the Wheelhouse at this week's outdoor concert at The Plaza Live (Milk District)

🇨🇳 Travel the world and take a virtual tour of the Great Wall of China (Online)

💪 Run off that green beer before settling in for a nice easy yoga practice (Winter Garden)

🗣 Learn about the Central Florida woman journalist who took on the KKK in a segregated Florida (Online)

📚 Grab the kids and tune in as Orlando firefighters read bedtime stories on Facebook (Online)


☮️ Finish your week strong with a yoga class under the stars before indulging in a few tasty local brews (SoDo)

🌍 Join the Fridays for Future Orlando crew for a global climate strike outside city hall (Downtown)

☮️ Honor this Feel Good Friday with a virtual yoga class with Mo (Online)

🎉 Embrace spring's arrival with a rooftop party at the Grand Bohemian (Downtown)


🛍 Peruse local collectors' vintage, toys, comics, and the likes at this pop-up thrift shop (Thornton Park)

🍻 We're halfway to Oktoberfest — break out the lederhosen and dirndls for this outdoor/indoor drink fest (Ivanhoe)

🍿 Break out the blankets and chairs for beer and the big screen at Nora's Sugar Shack (Ivanhoe)

🍿 Grab your blankets and your fam for an outdoor movie night in the neighborhood (Colonialtown North)

🎶 Belt out your favorite Disney classic at this outdoor Broadway performance at the Dr. Phillips Center (Downtown)


🛍 Shop plants, art, vintage, and more at this weekend's Bazaar Botanica at Ivanhoe Park Brewing (Ivanhoe)

🛍 Shop local BIPOC makers at this weekly outdoor pop-up market (Winter Park)


🍸 Sign up for this virtual cocktail-making class slash history lesson courtesy of the history center and The Woods (Online)

One more thing

A few years back, we introduced our readers to Ben Ptashinsky, otherwise known as @equityben on Instagram. If you’d ever been to Hollywood Studios and sat through the “Frozen” show, you’d remember Ben. He was by far the best performer in the series and always kept your editor here laughing. 

Well, a year ago, Ben decided to hang up his mouse ears and spend more time at home; then the pandemic hit.  

He (with help from his adorable daughter Charlotte) has spent a year reading “BenTime stories” to kids (and adults) and has brought comfort far and wide during a year marked by tumult and uncertainty. But it’s the end of an era, and tonight’s his last “show”.  The show is pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation of $25. Tune in at 8 p.m. for his last hoorah — it's a special one as he reads his new children's book, "GoodyBen Makes Lemonade" (officially available today for purchase).

‘Til we meet again tomorrow, friends. Stay kind (and hungry!) out there!

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown

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