Boca Winter Park, a staple of the Park Avenue dining scene, has a new owner. Artistry Restaurants SB, LLC, recently became the owner of the restaurant, which has been owned by BE-1 since its opening. Located at 358 N. Park Ave., Boca has offered locally sourced American food, charcuterie, and craft cocktails on Park Avenue for nearly seven years.
According to Scott Joseph, publisher of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide and longtime restaurant reviewer, the sale of Boca Winter Park also included Boca’s sister concept, Atlantic Beer & Oyster Bar.
“When I heard about the sale of Boca the thing that surprised me the most was how little I’ve thought about the restaurant over the past several years,” Joseph said. “When I’m asked about restaurants on Park Avenue, Boca never comes to mind.”
Prior to the current Boca Winter Park restaurant, which opened in 2014, the corner Park Avenue space was owned and operated by Winter Park Grill, the concept Joseph first reviewed for the Orlando Sentinel in 1988. Since then, the space has housed other tenants such as Zak’s on Park Avenue, Chapters on Park, East of Paris, Circa 1926, Galopin, and Matilda’s on Park.
“One of the best things the previous owners did was make the bar a central focus of the space. I would guess it’s the bar business that has sustained it over the years,” Joseph said. “There’s nothing wrong about a strong cocktail menu, but I’d like to see the kitchen step up and make Boca a dining destination.”
Artistry Restaurants started representing restaurants in Winter Park in 2020 and operates the Burger U at UCF and Boca’s original Sarasota location. As the new owners of Boca, Artistry Restaurants plans to revive the brand for Boca’s Winter Park location. Darren Brach, area manager for Boca, told Joseph that the restaurant aims to better identify what it is, and they are working to “hone the concept.”
“The name Boca doesn’t tell patrons what to expect (and frankly is an odd name for a Winter Park restaurant),” Joseph said. “The new owners should focus on what the theme of the restaurant should be – farm-to-table? Seafood? Florida fresh? – and communicate that to the guests.”
To benefit both Boca and Winter Park’s foodie community, Joseph believes its “new owners could elevate the quality and consistency of food and service.”
Scott Joseph has proven to be a significant asset to the community during his 34-year tenure of reviewing restaurants in and around Central Florida. While writing for the Orlando Sentinel, Joseph wrote two spotlight columns: Chow Hound, which featured casual dining concepts and news about the local dining scene and national trends, and Table Matters, in which he reviewed fine-dining restaurants.
For more information, see Scott Joseph’s article.