Iconic Park Avenue Restaurant Bids Adieu

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Editor’s note: This story was updated on May 13.

Café de France, at 526 S. Park Avenue, recently bid an impromptu farewell with a note on its Instagram account, according to a post on Bungalower.com.

“Closing this chapter was not an easy decision to make,” reads an excerpt from the post. “We apologize for not providing advance notice but the process moved faster than anticipated, and we would not have been able to provide the level of service that we always strived to achieve, if you were all to come for your last meal.”

COVID-19 restrictions hit the global restaurant industry especially hard with ongoing supply chain issues posing new challenges throughout the post pandemic recovery. Winter Park’s Curbside To-Go program proved helpful for take-out options, but will come to an end on June 1 to create additional parking spaces along Park Avenue.

“We thought it was simply time for us to retire,” said a representative from Café de France in an email to the32789. “We will spend more time with family and friends. And of course we will travel. We have no plans on opening a new restaurant.”

According to Orlando Weekly, popular East End Market tenant Farm & Haus will be opening a second location at the former Café de France address in August.

Café de France opened in 1982 with entrepreneurs Dominique and German Gutierrez taking the helm in 1985. The menu and ambiance helped the establishment earn a loyal following, most recently receiving the Critic’s Choice Award for Best French in the 2022 Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards. The dedication to their customers was highlighted by Dominique Gutierrez in a 2021 interview with Winter Park Magazine.

“Seventy percent of our guests are regulars,” she said in the interview. “German, the servers and I know them well. We know what they eat, we know what they drink and we know where they like to sit. That’s part of what you get by visiting a small restaurant. We have that little je ne sais quoi presence. It’s customer service.”

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