Patina Brings New Shine to Disney Springs and Double-Duty Dinnerware

The Friday Jr. edition of MRM’s Daily Bite includes news from Patina Restaurant Group, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and Eco-Products, Goya, Naf Naf and VenueLytics.

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Patina Restaurant Group Debuts New Restaurants at Disney Springs

The Edison at Disney Springs rang in 2018 with a gala, grand opening party. The “Industrial Gothic”- themed restaurant and entertainment venue from Patina Restaurant Group (PRG) was designed to be a playful dining experience for families, while at night, the space transforms into a destination focused on craft cocktails, contemporary American fare and entertainment unique to Central Florida. The Edison creates a completely unique combination of style, art and design with great food, cocktails and world-class entertainment.  A fully immersive experience, The Edison features multiple themed areas to explore, such as the Lab performance space, The Ember Parlour, Telegraph Lounge, The Patent Office, The Tesla Lounge, The Radio Room, and the Waterfront Patio.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PATINA RESTAURANT GROUP – An aerialist performs during the sold-out Grand-Opening New Year’s Eve Party at The Edison FLA at Disney Springs on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Phelan Ebenhack/AP Images for Patina Restaurant Group)

“The lights are officially on at The Edison and we’re delighted that guests can now experience the extraordinary entertainment, craft cocktails and cuisine unlike anything else in Central Florida,” said Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group. “The reimagined power plant celebrates an era of invention and imagination in a new and distinct way.”

Open for lunch and dinner, The Edison treats guests to menu creations of Chef PJ Finneran that consist of contemporary American fare such as Pork Belly Pops (chile-brown sugar glaze), Crispy Fried Chicken (cast iron buttermilk biscuits), and a signature The Edison Burger, (a juicy combination of house-ground sirloin, short rib and brisket, topped with Cabot cloth-bound cheddar, onion rings, smoked bacon, house pickles, lettuce, tomato, special sauce and served with hand-cut fries). The Edison will soon introduce Bartender’s Midnight Breakfast, a late-night menu that will include traditional breakfast fare at night and offer guests a perfect way to keep the party going as the evening is winding down.

The Edison’s beverage lineup focuses on artfully crafted cocktails, interesting beers and wines, and house-made punches that serve from two to 10 guests. The Edison Signature Series includes cocktails such as The Wonderlust(Pernod Absinthe, Nolet’s Gin, Crème de Violette, pineapple syrup, lemon), Lady Marmalade (Corsair Absinthe, Hangar One, Noilly Prat vermouth, Giffard Ginger, verjus, pomegranate), The Crimson Vesper (Absolut Elyx, Lilet Rouge, Plymouth Sloe Gin, orange) and The Edison (Woodford Reserve, Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, lemon).

The center of the restaurant is stage for a dance floor and performance stage, where an eclectic lineup of live entertainers including musicians, aerialists and dancers fire up the night.

PRG opened a new Italian restaurant located at the reimagined Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort — Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante. 

Patina Restaurant Group raised the curtain on its newest grand Italian trattoria, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  (Roberto Gonzalez/AP Images for Patina Restaurant Group)

Disney restaurants often have a backstory, part of the company’s tradition of immersive storytelling. Mirroring that tradition, Patina Restaurant Group collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering to create the story for Maria & Enzo’s. 

An intimate Italian trattoria set in the once-abandoned Disney Springs airline terminal from the 1930s, now transformed into a restaurant. The dining room is open and airy, featuring 50-foot ceilings with views of Lake Buena Vista. The restaurant interiors showcase artifacts that recall air travel of the time, with brightly illustrated pictographs, reimagined air terminal boarding gates and a First Class Lounge where randomly selected guests are upgraded upon arrival.

The menu, created by Michelin star-rated Chef Theo Schoenegger, features a variety of handmade pastas including Busiate con Granchio (spiral pasta with crab), Rigatoni all Norma (eggplant, chile, tomato, ricotta salata) and ‘Ncasciata al Forno (Sicilian baked pasta) – served tableside. Other highlights include Braciola di Maiale (Berkshire pork chop, plum mostarda), Nodino di Vitello(grilled veal chop) and Tonno (grilled ahi tuna steak, pistachio pesto) all served with rosemary potatoes and tempura fried vegetables. The spectacular wine list of more than 100 bottles is – lovingly — primarily Italian. The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 12 midnight daily, with weekend brunch coming soon.

The backstory is that the restaurant was the dream of Maria and Enzo who met in Italy before moving to Florida and wanted to introduce Italian cuisine to the townfolk of the bustling Disney Springs. An airline pilot, Enzo was drawn to an abandoned airline terminal, which became the spacious setting for the restaurant.

Patina Restaurant Group is a bicoastal boutique company.  In New York, its portfolio features Lincoln Ristorante, STATE Grill and Bar at the Empire State Building, Stella 34 Trattoria at Macy’s Herald Square, The Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center, Brasserie 8 ½, The Grand Tier Restaurant at the Metropolitan Opera, La Fonda del Sol at Grand Central, Yellow Magnolia Café at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Other East Coast properties include Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli at the Epcot World Showcase in Lake Buena Vista, Fla, and Morimoto Asia Orlando at Disney Springs.

On the West Coast its portfolio includes the renowned Los Angeles Times’ four-starred and Michelin-starred Patina Restaurant in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Café Pinot, Ray’s & Stark Bar, Catal, Tortilla Jo’s, Catal and Naples in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney District, Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, and catering and food service in museums and cultural centers throughout California.

Double-Duty Dinnerware

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh partnered with Eco-Products to offer dinnerware that does double duty: helping guests and the environment at the same time. Guests can eat from the plate while dining in,or use it as a takeout container for their meal at home. Better yet: It’s friendlier to the environment.

The plates are made from sugarcane – a 100 percent renewable resource – and the custom to-go lids are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. The plate is durable, grease-resistant, freezer- and microwave-safe, and meets ASTM’s high standards for compostability. The nine-inch plate comes with a special lid custom-designed by Eco-Products for take-out meals. The lid is made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, meaning that water bottles and other plastics that could have gone to the landfill are now being given a new life. 

“Among many other reasons, our commitment to our guests and our environment is primarily why we strongly believe in using bio-based materials,” said Devin Handler, Director of Marketing for Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh. “Using these products saves natural resources and doesn’t contribute to the deterioration of our planet by generating materials that are destined for the landfill after just one use.”

“Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh stays ahead of its competition because it’s nimble, forward-thinking and innovative,” said Sarah Martinez, Director of Marketing for Eco-Products. “They truly care about their customers and about the environment. That’s a real recipe for success today.”

Goya Offers Culinary Scholarships

Goya Foods will offer five $20,000 nationwide Culinary Arts and Food Science Scholarships, granted annually, to five students entering their freshman year of college with an undergraduate degree in culinary arts and/or a food science.  One of the five scholarships will go to a student enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at County Prep High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Goya’s Culinary Arts Scholarship is available on a competitive basis to students entering an accredited two-year or four-year institution. Scholarships are in the amount of $5,000 awarded per academic year starting in Fall 2018 and are renewable for up to three additional years provided the student remains eligible to receive funding, totaling $20,000.

“We’ve always believed that through education and hard work, anyone can achieve a better future for themselves and their family,” says Peter Unanue, Executive Vice President of Goya Foods.  “We encourage students across the country who have a passion for food and nutrition to apply for the scholarship to support their continued academic success.”

Applicants of the Goya Culinary Arts Scholarship will be selected based on the standard requirements established by Goya and administered by Scholarship America® including academic achievement, leadership, and financial need, as well as an evaluation of an essay explaining how Goya has enriched their family traditions.  Among the criteria for consideration, students (1) Must plan to be enrolled in college full time starting in Fall 2018 in a degree seeking program within the U.S. as a Freshman at a two or four-year U.S. accredited institution to obtain their first undergraduate degree; (2) Must be majoring in Culinary Arts and/or Food Sciences; (3) Must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale; (4) Must be willing to complete 10 hours per month of community service while receiving funding; (5) Must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal permanent resident of the United States with a valid Social Security Number or have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

For more information and to apply,  click here.  Applications are due no later than February 15

Naf Naf Launches Perks App

 On January 17, Naf Naf  is launching its Naf Perks app, which can be easily accessed through the iPhone and Android app stores. To celebrate the launch, Naf Naf is offering guests a free entrée when they download the app and sign up (free entrée is available for redemption within 14 days after signing up for Naf Perks).

Paul Damico
Paul Damico

Naf Perks offers restaurant goers the chance to earn and redeem points for free food, order ahead, and access to special offers and exclusive Naf News. Members of Naf Perks will earn one point for every one dollar spent at the restaurant. Once they reach 100 points, guests receive $10 in rewards which can be used towards a free meal, baklava, a drink, or even catering. By inviting friends and family to sign up for Naf Perks, guests can earn an additional 10 bonus points and new users will be awarded with 20 points when they sign up on Facebook. The Naf Perks app  also allows customers to order in advance for easy store pick up.

“This is a new chapter for the Naf Naf brand. We are passionate about creating the best guest experience inside our four walls and we are now excited to extend this experience outside our restaurants and thank our guests for their loyalty with the new Naf Perks app,” said Paul Damico, CEO of Naf Naf. “Technology is an important part of our guests’ restaurant experience, and our goal is to create a seamless experience regardless of whether they are dining with us or taking their orders to-go.”

VenueLytics Introduces New Platform

VenueLytics announced VenueLytics VL SMB. The new platform enables independent hospitality businesses such restaurants, hotels, bars, nightclubs, casinos, and more, to add automated revenue boosting services.

“I love the real-time up-to date info that VenueLytics provides us,” said Marina Savinovic, GM and owner at Monte Carlo Night Club. “I no longer have to confirm with other co-workers on the availability of tables. It improved our communication tremendously. Even customers find it easier to reserve tables online.”

The platform enables business owners to manage and automate of all of their services on one easy to use platform to increase customer acquisition. VL SMB includes:

  • Reservation Management: Manage table/bottle service requests, floor maps, and guest lists in real-time.
  • Private Event Management: Manage booking for corporate events, private parties, etc.
  • Food and Drink Services: In-Venue mobile order and pickup services.
  • Ticketing: Real-Time online and offline ticketing for any event.
  • Engagement and Marketing: Promotion and customer engagement across social media and web.
  • Mobile Pay: Instant mobile pay for services.
  • Real-Time Analytics: Predictive analytics for enhanced customer service.
  • Games, Tournaments: Tournament details, game wait-time, etc.
  • Deals and Promotions: Offer deals and promotions across channels.
  • Internal Communication: Real-time alerts and notifications.
  • Fast Pass Service: Skip the line by paying a premium

Venues can track and engage customers in real-time via a white-labeled app, social media, website, and/or through the “ItzFun!” consumer app.

“The plug and play platform allows venues to choose and activate services with the click of a button, while eliminating the complexities of managing different services from multiple vendors. In addition, our services provide a memorable customer experience for guests and patrons through automation, real-time engagement and business analytics,” said Baskar Manivannan, co-founder and CEO of VenueLytics. “It’s a digital concierge platform that offers real-time integrated proprietary services, which is an enhanced and cost effective alternative to similar services offered by companies like Yelp, OpenTable, Ticketmaster, and other vendor.”