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ICON Park’s Light Shows, Restaurant Specials, Endless Family Entertainment for Fourth of July Weekend



Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. – This Independence Day, ICON Park and its tenant businesses are throwing America an iconic birthday party!


Throughout Independence Day weekend, The Wheel, ICON Park’s signature attraction, will be decked out in the bright red, white and blue of the American flag.


On Monday, July 4, the entertainment destination will host patriotic light shows at 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Watch as The Wheel’s 64,000 LED lights dance to the patriotic soundtrack during a 10-minute production.


The drinks will be flowing at ICON Park’s The Wheelhouse Bar, The Lawn Bar and Sky Bar. Guests can unlock specials including $4 house shots, $4 domestic beers, $8 July 4th Hurricanes and two-for-one well cocktails.


Ole Red Orlando
Throughout July, Ole Red Orlando is proud to sponsor The Wheel. Any guest who purchases a ticket to The Wheel will receive one free order of Fried Pickles and Green Tomatoes per party (dine-in only). This signature appetizer is the epitome of summer – House-pickled green tomatoes are served with red and white bar-b-que sauces.


In honor of America’s birthday, the restaurant is mixing up a celebratory drink now through July 5. The Ole Red White and Blue Strawberry Mule features vodka, strawberry, ginger beer and blueberries.


Sloppy Joe’s Orlando
On July 4, Sloppy Joe’s Orlando is bringing the Red, White and BOOZE! The restaurant is offering drink specials such as $2 Jello shots, $4 domestic drafts and $5 wells. Every evening, Sloppy Joe’s has a special Sunset Celebration where it toasts with the original Key West location via a live feed. During the patriotic toast on the fourth, guests can enjoy $3 Sunset Shots, $4 Pilar Rum Sun Shots and $20 Papa’s Pilar Rum Flights.


Tapa Toro
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience on the Fourth, take advantage of Tapa Toro’s Bite 30 special. The Prix Fixe dinner is just $35 for three unique courses. Menu options include Empanadas, Chicken Madeira, The Big Pintxo, Flan, Tres Leches and so much more.


Tapa Toro combines contemporary, Spanish cuisine with a vibrant, energetic atmosphere. Its unique paella pit, vibrant tapas menu and extensive selection of imported wines will guide guests through a culinary journey of Spanish flavors and culture in the heart of Central Florida. Don’t miss the nightly flamenco performance at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.


Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips
After a fun day enjoying the celebration, head to Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips to cool down with a hand-crafted Biscoff Shake topped with whipped cream and finished with a Biscoff cookie.


With more than 50 amazing restaurants, funky bars, boutique shops and can’t-miss attractions, ICON Park offers fun for the whole family this holiday weekend. Take a ride on the brand-new carousel, blow your mind at Museum of Illusions, hang with your favorite stars at Madame Tussauds or discover a new, underwater world at SEA LIFE.


ICON Park is at the center of the new Orlando Entertainment District. Conveniently located near I-4, Florida’s Turnpike and the Beachline, this premiere entertainment destination is easy to access and offers free parking for any Central Florida resident or Orlando tourist.

To learn more about ICON Park, visit

Central Florida News

Loggerhead Distillery’s Cocktail Crawl returns to Historic Downtown Sanford this November



SANFORD, Fla. (October 18, 2022)-If you’re a fan of Loggerhead Distillery and its delicious small batch craft spirits, November is your favorite month of the year.
The Loggerhead Cocktail Crawl is back for a fourth year in a row, challenging bartenders of the top 15 bars and restaurants in Historic Downtown Sanford to create the best cocktail using Loggerhead’s craft spirits. And yes, Loggerhead Distillery gets to participate this year.
On November 1st residents can pick up their “drink card” at Loggerhead Distillery or any participating business and begin their tastings. Through November, customers can try each cocktail featuring Loggerhead spirits and have the bartender punch their card.
“We’re so excited to be holding this event again,” said Colby Theisen, co-owner of Loggerhead Distillery. “We’re proud watching our favorite businesses participate, and love that our customers get to try some amazing drinks.”
If guests visit at least 5 participating bars and restaurants and turn their card in at Loggerhead before the end of the month, they can get 15% off any product. Visit 10, and they get 15% off and a Cocktail Crawl ’22 shirt. Get the signature cocktail at all 15, and they get 15% off, the shirt, and they will be entered into the drawing for a prize basket featuring Loggerhead products, including spirits, tasting glasses, swag, mixers, and more.
Participating Bars and Restaurants include:
  • Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe
  • Tuffy’s Music Box
  • The Basin
  • Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge
  • The District Eatery, Tap & Barrel
  • The Old Jailhouse
  • The Station Bar & Grub
  • The Yardery
  • El Zocalo Mexican Restaurant
  • The Wet Spot
  • Celery City Craft
  • West End Trading Company
  • Throwbacks Retro Bar
  • The Imperial at Washburn Imports
  • Loggerhead Distillery
“Before, we would host the event and give out the punch cards and collect for the prize, but with our new bar and the recent Florida law, we are able to participate and serve a cocktail in the crawl for the first time, it’s very cool!” said Chris Schmitt, co-owner of Loggerhead Distillery.
Thanks to SB 46, Loggerhead can craft and serve tasty drinks with the liquor they make, and the distillery is planning to expand their existing tasting bar to create the perfect spot to sit and enjoy.
Plus, guests can share their pictures with the hashtags #historicdowntownsanford and #drinkloggerhead for a chance to be featured on Loggerhead’s socials.
For more information on Loggerhead Distillery’s Cocktail Crawl, click here.

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Food & Drink

Juan Valdez Coffee Store opens at ICON Park



ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Entertainment District can now enjoy the best quality Colombian coffee. Juan Valdez® has opened its first amusement park store in Orlando at ICON Park.
Juan Valdez is an international coffee brand that’s committed and cares deeply about Colombian coffee growers. It’s owned by more than 540,000 coffee-growing families that harvest the best, 100-percent Arabica premium coffee in Colombia. Its purpose is to serve the world and its people with excellent quality coffee, while providing the coffee growers with social programs and giving their labor and efforts global visibility.
There are over 500 Juan Valdez Coffee Stores globally and the brand is just beginning its expansion in the United States through its franchisee, Best Coffee Franchise Company. There are currently stores in Miami, Windermere, and Ocoee.
Now Juan Valdez is proud to open at ICON Park and is aiming to become the area’s favorite coffee shop and destination, giving the Orlando Entertainment District high-quality, 100-percent premium Colombian coffee from the growers to your cup. The initial plan is to open over 100 more stores in Florida, helping to provide stable and meaningful employment to the state’s population, and ICON Park is the third in the Central Florida area.
The Juan Valdez Coffee Store at ICON Park is located inside The Wheelhouse, the center of energy at the entertainment destination.
ICON Park is at the center of the new Orlando Entertainment District. With free parking and conveniently located near I-4, Universal Boulevard and the Beachline, this premiere entertainment complex is easy to access for any Central Florida resident or Orlando tourist.
To learn more about Juan Valdez, visit To learn more about ICON Park, visit

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FNN Good News & Reviews

FNN Good News & Reviews: Mandola’s Italian Kitchen Opens Third Florida Location in Oldsmar



Mandola's Italian Kitchen opened its third Florida location in Oldsmar. Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News,
Mandola's Italian Kitchen opened its third location in Oldsmar, in the Tampa Bay area. Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News

Modeled after an Italian marketplace, Mandola’s Italian Kitchen brings its quick service concept to Oldsmar. Named after famed restaurateur Damian Mandola, who founded Carrabba’s with his nephew Johnny Carrabba, the restaurant’s third Florida location is also co-owned by Paul Avery, the former Chief Operating Officer of Outback Steakhouse.

“While in New York or in the North End of Boston or Providence, Rhode Island, I would go to the Italian areas,” Mandola said. “You have the bakery or you have the gelateria or the cafe, or the deli with all the food products and the cheeses and olive oil and things like that.”

Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.
Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.

Mandola, who admits his passion lies in the cooking process and fresh ingredients, while Avery is the business mastermind, felt the need to put all of those Italian staples under one roof, so he and his wife opened their first Mandola’s in Austin, TX in 2006. The concept grew rapidly and quickly moved into Florida with its first location in Riverview in 2001 and Carrollwood shortly thereafter.

Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.
Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.

Guests enter Mandola’s and walk right up to the counter to order where they are greeted by friendly staff who are ready to take them on a culinary journey their taste buds won’t forget. Food is cooked fresh in an open kitchen using the best ingredients and pasta al dente just like Mama Mandola would have prepared it.

The vibrant dining room adorned with red and green chairs, flags from the ceiling, and walls adorned with family photos is a welcome calling. Moments after we were seated, fresh focaccia bread with olive oil and spices for dipping arrived at the table.

Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.
Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.

Our table ordered the fried mozzarella for the antipasti course. Golden brown triangles with oodles of gooey mozzarella and the best tomato sauce I’ve ever had.

Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.
Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.

For dinner, we feasted on traditional favorites: eggplant parmigiana with spaghetti and marinara sauce and chicken parmesan served with fettuccine Alfredo. Equally delicious and the portion size left us with barely any room for dessert!

Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.
Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.

“A lot of these are Mama Mandola’s recipes,” he said. “Chicken parmesan is our favorite and our biggest seller. For me, my favorite is my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. It reminds me of Sundays at my mom’s and we had all the family together.”

No matter what you are in the mood for, the menu features a plethora of salads (with homemade dressing) antipasti, pizza, pasta, and chicken dishes like chicken marsala with a wine reduction from the Lombardi Family in Sicily, as well as daily specials like linguine with clam sauce, and brasato, beef short rib, slow-braised with red wine, aromatic vegetables, and fresh herbs.

Photo: Todd Grasley/Florida National News.

Thirsty? No worries. In addition to traditional Italian sodas, sparkling waters, and soft drinks, Mandola’s also offers beer, wine on tap, and specialty drinks such as sangria, bellinis, frose, mimosas, and spritz from the bar.

If we could offer one very valuable piece of advice, it is to save room for dessert! The bakery is a can’t-miss at Mandola’s, with fresh pastries made daily including Italian cookies like lemon ricotta, famous cannolis, specialty cakes, tiramisu, and who could forget sorbetto and gelato?

My guest and I couldn’t decide on one flavor each, so we went with a combo of lemon and raspberry, and almond with cookies and cream. Let’s just say we both agreed it was as good as the ones we enjoyed in Italy.

Mandola’s Italian Kitchen is located at 3138 Tampa Rd, Oldsmar, FL, and is open for lunch and dinner and plans to open future locations in nearby Odessa, Orlando, and Jacksonville as well.

The restaurant is perfect for a family dinner, or date night, or if you want to stop in and grab a coffee and dessert that’s an excellent idea as well!


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