By Matt Hinckley
The biggest misconception about Orlando: the lifestyle here is connected to the theme parks.
In reality: it is more of a southern town. We're one of the few major Florida cities not on a coast. There's also a counter culture movement here that pushes back against Orlando's chains and urban sprawl.
I love living in Orlando because: on a personal level, I grew up here, so it will always be home to me. All my family and a lot of my friends live here. On a professional level, Orlando puts me a lot closer to the farms that I use most often. The culinary scene has changed drastically since I left. There’s an underground network of foodies here that do a great job supporting the small independent spots who are operating within the throng of chain restaurants all around them.
LOCAL DELICACY | Datil Pepper Sauce
When you visit Orlando, I suggest you try datil pepper sauce, because it is so unique to Central Florida and on the Slow Foods Arc Of Taste list of endangered heritage foods. They're delicious. Get some!
LOCALLY-MADE SOUVENIR | While The Sun Shines Apiary
This would make a great gift to take home because the urban beekeeper often rescues hives and treats his bees well. T: 407.687.6724
MY COMPANY | Hinckley's Fancy Meats
We procure cured meats and charcuterie using livestock from small independent local farms. We use heritage breed livestock like Mangalitsa and Berkshire pigs, or the Florida Cracker cow. And we try to incorporate invasive species like wild boar and occasionally some pesky fish.
I recommend you try our hunter’s sausage because it’s great in so many applications. You can eat it with eggs and toast in the morning, on a hoagie roll with sauerkraut and good mustard for lunch, or in all sorts of stews and pastas for dinner. It’s a very versatile sausage.
Chef Matt Hinckley's Orlando Guide
COFFEE | Lineage Coffee Roasting
This is how I start my day. Nothing fancy. Just a Caffe Americano brewed with good beans. But by all means, be as fancy as you like.
3201 Corrine Drive, Orlando FL 32803
T: 407.205.8096 | www.lineageroasting.com
BREAKFAST | Se7en Bites
I’m a bit of a cycling junkie and right next to my local bicycle shop is a great breakfast spot called Se7en Bites. It’s two birds and one stone for me. I get great coffee and a quick bite to eat before picking up any gear I need at the shop before my weekend rides.
207 N Primrose Drive, Orlando, FL 32803
SHOPS, MARKETS, & RESTAURANTS
East End Market
I have to say that East End Market is a great spot to check out. Not because Hinckley’s Fancy Meats are available there through Local Roots, but because there’s a wide variety of other locally-made stuff there as well. There’s coffee, a juice bar, a bakery, sushi, and a lot of packaged goods that are regionally crafted.
3201 Corrine Drive, Orlando, FL 32803
T: 321.236.3316 | www.eastendmkt.com
VIETNAMESE | Little Saigon & Pho 88
I hit the Vietnamese District around Mills/50 pretty regularly because it’s so close to my house. You can find spots there like Little Saigon or Pho 88 serving up bowls of noodles (pho) with tendon, tripe, and pig skin. They’ve been doing it for years and the people in the know (read: foodies and chefs) have gobbled it up. It has only been recently that those cuts have made their way into Orlando’s fancier restaurants.
Dandelion Communitea Cafe
They have a good variety of teas. You can get your kombucha on there too.
618 N Thornton Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803
T: 407.362.1864 | dandelioncommunitea.com
BEER | Ten10 Brewery & Brew Pub
This is dangerously close to my house. They brew on site and have some great beers. I love their IPA. It’s balanced. I get a lot of IPAs that are so hop forward you can’t even tell that there is malt underneath it. The altbier and golden ale are good choices as well.
1010 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803
T: 407.930.8993 | ten10brewing.com
NEW AMERICAN | FD Kitchen & Bar
I’ve got to throw a bone out to my fellow Michael’s Genuine alum, Chef Pete Morales, at FD Kitchen. He’s cooking some modern American cuisine using some familiar farms. Opt for the Crispy Pig Snacks or Fried Chicken & Johnny Cake.
1541 International Parkway #1001, Lake Mary, FL 32746
T: 407.915.5687 | fdkitchenbar.com
FARM-TO-TABLE | The Rusty Spoon
Chef Kathleen Blake is also doing a great job supporting our local community of farmers and growers. Her restaurant gives hope to Church Street Station, a once popular downtown area that dried up with the birth of some gaudy tourist destinations out west. The menu changes seasonally and it’s a great menu for sharing.
Church Street Market, 55 West Church Street, Orlando, FL 32801
T: 407.401.8811 | www.therustyspoon.com
Redlight Redlight Craft Beer Parlour
I’m a beer snob. And Redlight Redlight exhibits an ace selection of craft beer. You can find first-rate local brews there complimented by some winning selections from elsewhere.
Open until 2am
2810 Corrine Drive, Orlando, FL 32803
T: 407.893.9832 | redlightredlightbeerparlour.com
This is a great spot to crawl into after a late night downtown. They’ve got some outside-of-the-box taco offerings that are the perfect centerpiece for afterhours discussions about how to save the planet. Be careful not to trip over hipster beards or pocket chains though.
Open until 11pm, 4am on Weekends
932 N Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803
T: 321.236.7457 | www.takocheenaorlando.com
A SHORT DRIVE AWAY
Lone Cabbage Fish Camp
This is a bit outside Orlando on State Road 520. It’s right off the St. John’s River and has been there for well over 50 years. You can take an airboat ride there to watch alligators. Or better yet, you can eat fried alligator, frog legs, and catfish there. No need to dress up.
8199 West King Street, Cocoa, FL 32926
T: 321.632.4199 | www.twisterairboatrides.com/fishcamp.html
Chef Matt Hinckley
Owner of Hinckley's Fancy Meats where he is curing meats and making charcuterie in Orlando, FL. A Florida native, he recently returned to his hometown Orlando after working in New York as a chef at Public, and in Miami where he was the executive chef of The Hoxton, and sous chef at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. He is a member of The Butcher’s Guild, so don’t be surprised to find some interesting nose-to-tail picks on his menu.
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