One Flight Up's name refers to its shaded, dog-friendly balcony location, which overlooks the charming storefronts of Donnelly Street while cultivating relaxation with wind chimes and hanging plants. From 8:30 a.m. into the night, the café serves sandwiches, salads, desserts, and drinks suitable for each hour of the day. Breakfast begins with quiches, coffee, and espresso, and then lunchgoers can dig into tomato-basil bisque or a Harvest chicken-salad sandwich. At night, in addition to the food menu, the café's team cracks open beer bottles and pours wines that include Milton Park shiraz and Cortenova pinot grigio.
On weekend nights, live music wafts through the interior and out onto the balcony, twinkling with string lights. Mondays host open-mic performers, who demonstrate their abilities to take a microphone apart.
Originally branded as the Top Hat Drive-In, Sonic Drive In didn’t acquire its nationally recognized name until 1959—six years after its inception in 1953. Today, the franchise operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic Drive In specializes in made-to-order American classics, including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic Drive In’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: best value menu, best milk shake, and best drive-thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Wine Cellars: Uncorked brims with grownup grape juice from around the globe complemented by a menu of light bistro fare. Patrons can order wine by the glass, bottle, or flight of three 2-ounce pours. Savor a glass of Wente chardonnay ($12) or tipple among three different potions in a flight of full-bodied reds ($13). Pair sips with house-crafted bites such as bruschetta with tomato and prosciutto ($4.50) or drunken figs with manchego cheese ($5.50) that croon a slurred but impassioned tune to appetites.
The chefs at Al’s Top Shelf, which was voted Best Restaurant View in Lake County by Orlando Sentinel, whip up a menu of upscale steak and seafood. As eyes feast on breathtaking views of Lake Dora, incisors nosh on an 8-ounce filet mignon ($27) or the 20-ounce porterhouse ($30) blanketed in your choice of fixings including béarnaise sauce, blue-cheese crumbles, spinach, or goat cheese ($3 each). The stuffed flounder, which is packed with shrimp and crab, lazily backstrokes in a light lemon-cream sauce ($17). On Friday nights, live jazz music hypnotizes tightly clenched jaw muscles with a swell of soothing rhythms, tricking maws into opening wide for a relaxation elixir such as the Blue Razz-Berry Bliss martini, Bonterra cabernet sauvignon ($10/glass), or a pint of cough syrup.
At Casa Mia Café, a 35-year veteran chef whips up a menu of traditional dishes from the northern and southern regions of Italy. Golden fried calamari ($10.50), garlic and rosemary focaccia bread ($8), and other starters prime palates before hearty authentic entrees. In the penne boscaiola, penne pasta, mushrooms, and prosciutto bask in a pink vodka sauce ($13.50), and the linguini scampi employs a white wine sauce to loosen the tongues of identity-confused tiger shrimp, who recline on a therapeutic couch of linguini and talk about their feelings ($18.50). A selection of pizzas, from the individual margherita’s traditional pairing of fresh mozzarella and basil ($12.95) to the ambitious combination of fresh veggies, mozzarella, and kitchen sink piled atop the quattro stagioni ($13.95 for an individual-sized pizza, $18.95 for a large) delight dough-disk aficionados. Guests can finish by wrapping weary taste buds in the homemade salve of raspberry-drizzled custard with panna cotta ($5.50).
Inside InEssence Salon & Spa, guests are welcomed by a comforting cup of herbal tea in the hopes that it will help spirit them away from the stresses they left outside. Once the refreshments have had time to take effect, willing bodies are led to the massage table, where therapists ease out remaining aches and pains with techniques such as hot-stone or trigger-point therapy, or to the styling chair, where split ends are swiftly shed to gift shoulders a newfound lightness of being. Facials address every type of skin—from sensitive and dry to mature and pie-covered⎯while mani-pedis keep appendages looking fresh with essential oils, custom-blended scrubs, and anti-aging ingredients.