Lake Nona residents are enjoying a brand new hot-spot for their evening meals: Canvas. Overlooking one of the many bodies of water in Laureate Park, the 278-seat restaurant is a collaborative effort between Tavistock Restaurant Collection, Tavistock Development Company and Concentrics Restaurants, known locally for Luma on Park, Prato and Slate.
The dinner-only, waterfront restaurant is led by executive chef Bryan Thoman, who created a new American cuisine menu influence by Florida’s Southern and Latin American roots. The menu reflects the seasonality of regional produce and a fresh selection of Florida seafood. Menu highlights include cured pork shank with collard greens, pan-roasted Meyer lemon scallops, fried shrimp and oyster po’boy, house-cured snapper ceviche, peel-and-eat shrimp, and braised short ribs served with house-made ricotta cheese.
“Our goal is to create a menu that our guests can truly make their own,” Thoman says. “We have a fresh mix of menu options available in different portions, so that our guests can come in and dine however they’d like.”
Canvas bartenders craft a range of specialty cocktails, fusing more than 50 of the world’s most innovative liquors and liqueurs with bright citrus flavors. Options include Florida to Chinatown with St. Augustine Distillery vodka and lemon juice, the Nona Whiskey Sour with Rittenhouse Rye, and the Coastal Breezeway with Tito’s vodka and hopped grapefruit bitters. Local draft beers from Orlando Brewing Company, Crooked Can Brewery, Coppertail Brewing Co. and Two Henrys Brewing Company round out the drink list.
Adjacent to the restaurant is a market where guests can enjoy freshly prepared breakfast and lunch items and peruse a hand-selected collection of housewares, books and local goods. The Canvas bar opens daily at 3pm with a limited menu and the main dining room opens at 5pm. The Canvas market is open daily from 7am-8pm and is also home to the new Lake Nona Information Center.
Nona Blue Modern Tavern
Located at Lake Nona Village, Nona Blue Modern Tavern is an urbane pub with a sprawling wood-topped bar (and appropriate blue under-lighting) that serves fresh, quality American fare with modern twists. The eatery is the vision of founding partners Joe Davi, Bill Bona and pro-golfer Graeme McDowell.
The partners saw American dining trending toward smaller portions with different tastes. As the vision for Nona Blue developed, they began to craft their Shareables menu, featuring items that can be passed among an entire table or serve as a meal for a single guest.
The restaurant has won five Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards for Best Burger and Best Wine List. Among Nona Blue’s specialties? G-Mac and Cheese, of course.
Nona Blue is opening a second location in Ponte Vedra Beach this spring, just in time for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass (May 10-15).
Story appeared in the March/April 2016 issue (pg 62) of Orange Appeal magazine.