Have you ever wondered which spots locals in Orlando love? Here’s your chance to live like the locals. In this episode of “Hit Me With Your Best Spot Orlando,” we’re talking to Orlando locals — from business owners and foodies — to learn about their favorite Orlando spots.
Locals in this episode include:
- Johnny Damon – 2x World Series Champion
- Anthony Biggie Bencomo – the owner of Deli Fresh Threads
- Amy Jo Edwards – the owner of The Tattooed Bride Photography
Johnny Damon – Former Baseball Player
Johnny Damon is a former professional baseball player. The outfielder played in Major League baseball from 1995 to 2012. He is among a short list of baseball players who won the World Series as both a member of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
He moved to Orlando with his family as a kid and has lived in Orlando for over 42 years.
Johnny Damon’s Picks
Best Wildlife in Orlando – Gatorland Zoo
MUST TRY: Feeding the gators
Gatorland is a family-owned and operated theme park and wildlife preserve that opened in 1949. It’s referred to as the “Alligator Capital of the World” because it’s home to around 2,500 alligators and crocodiles. The preserve not only provides fun for the whole family — especially the kids — but as one of Florida’s original attractions it also offers a unique educational experience.
You have the chance to get up close and personal with gators when you visit. Feed them, take your picture with them, and zip line over them — just don’t get eaten by one.
Dog-Friendly Spots in Orlando – Yellow Dog Eats
- 📍Windermere, Florida
- Website: https://yellowdogeats.com/
- Yellow Dog Eats Facebook Page
- Yellow Dog Eats Instagram
MUST TRY: The Johnny Rocket
Yellow Dog Eats opened in 1995. Not only is it dog themed, but you can bring your dog along with you. There are oftentimes cats and chickens roaming around outside too. It’s a great local spot serving sandwiches and barbecue.
Best Fine Dining in Orlando – London House
MUST TRY: Beef Wellington
London House serves British European-inspired cuisine. It used to be a private club, but it’s now open to the public for a great fine dining experience in Orlando. The restaurant is beautifully decorated and the service is second to none. The restaurant often hosts parties and performers.
Anthony “Biggie” Bencomo – Owner of Deli Fresh Threads
Anthony “Biggie” Bencomo is an Orlando foodie and the owner of Deli Fresh Threads. The clothing brand is inspired by one of the foods he loves most: sandwiches. The sandwich-themed shirts are sold online and at pop-up shops in the Orlando area. The shirts, pins, and stickers often feature a sandwich pun.
Biggie is just as passionate about his clothing brand as he is about local restaurants. Sticking with the theme, each shirt is wrapped and packed like a sandwich in a brown bag with a deli note and a napkin.
Catch his podcast Lunch with Biggie.
Best Sandwich in Orlando – Gnarly Barley
- 📍College Park
- Website: https://www.thegnarlybarley.com/
- Gnarly Barley Facebook Page
- Gnarly Barley Instagram
MUST TRY: Biggie’s BOMB-MI (created by Biggie!)
You know the sandwich spot is great when Biggie recommends it! Gnarly Barley was opened more than 10 years ago by three college friends. They graduated from college and were hosting their grand opening three weeks later.
Gnarly Barley offers full-meal sandwiches and beer from vendors around the world and local breweries. Come for the great food and cocktails and stay for the chill, welcoming environment.
Unique Shopping in Orlando – The Neighbors
- 📍Baldwin Park
- Website: https://www.theneighborsorl.com/
- The Neighbors Facebook Page
- The Neighbors Instagram
MUST TRY: The Ivanhoe
The Neighbors is a unique shop unlike anything you’ve experienced before. It’s a neighborhood store meets cocktail lounge meets chef’s table. It’s a collaborative space from the people behind Freehand Goods and is designed to be “a small business incubator for the Orlando community.”
While pushing boundaries, The Neighbors offers a comfortable environment where you can grab a special gift but also sit, enjoy a drink, and listen to live music.
Aquatic Tour of City in Orlando – Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
- 📍Winter Park, Florida
- Website: https://www.scenicboattours.com/
- Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour Facebook Page
MUST TRY: Reserving a tour with a big group of friends
There’s nothing like hopping out on a boat and seeing a different part of the city from a unique viewpoint. Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour has been doing tours for 80 years. As you float through the canal, you’ll get to see gorgeous homes and wildlife (think: gators and birds), and you’ll learn interesting historical facts about the area.
Amy Jo Edwards – Owner of The Tattooed Bride Photography
Amy Jo Edwards is the owner of The Tattooed Bride Photography, a wedding and elopement photography studio housed in Golden Tarot Ink Club (a tattoo shop she owns with her husband). The Tattooed Bride Photography was created in 2018 with the mission of being a place where brides with tattoos feel safe, badass, and celebrated. Amy loves photographing unique or themed weddings in stunning locations. If she’s not out photographing a couple or meeting with them at a local spot, she’s off finding hidden gems in Orlando for her next photoshoot.
Amy Jo Edwards’ Picks
Weird and Wacky in Orlando – Prometheus Esoterica
- 📍Winter Park, Florida
- Website: https://www.prometheusesoterica.com/
- Prometheus Esoterica Facebook Page
- Prometheus Esoterica Instagram
MUST TRY: Hold the shrunken head
Prometheus Esoterica is an oddities shop and coffee shop. Shop witchcraft books, tarot cards, jewelry, clothing, taxidermied items, and more. The shop started when the owners (husband and wife Adam DeLancett and Whitney Hayes) began picking up roadkill on the side of the road and turning it into art or taxidermy.
Best Cup of Joe in Orlando – CFS Coffee
- 📍Winter Park, Florida
- Website: https://www.cfscoffee.com/franchises
- CFS Coffee Facebook Page
- CFS Coffee Instagram
MUST TRY: Mocha Cappuccino
CFS Coffee is a coffee shop that stands for “coffee for the soul.” The shop, which currently has six locations in and around Orlando and plans to keep expanding, opened in 2016. They specialize in Colombian coffee, traditional Colombian food, and healthy food with options for vegetarians and vegans. If you’ve never had Colombian coffee, here’s the spot to try it.
Alfresco Dining in Orlando – Eden Bar
- 📍Maitland, Florida
- Website: https://enzian.org/food/
- Enzian Bar Facebook Page
- Enzian Theater Instagram
MUST TRY: Tiki cocktail
Located inside the Enzian Theater is Eden Bar. It’s a theater where you can eat a full meal and watch a great show. The alfresco dining destination has both lunch and dinner menus along with a late-night menu. The theater shows documentaries, narratives, cartoons, and more, so it attracts everyone. Some people even come dressed in costumes.
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