The Attic Door has been the go-to spot for dinner dates, girl’s night out and celebrations of all kinds in Winter Garden. This locally owned hot spot combines live music, an extensive wine list and comfy couches that invite you to stay a while. Formerly owned by Lori Gibson, this was more than just a restaurant. It was a place where strangers become friends, where people felt safe and comfortable and known. Lori’s kids grew up bussing tables, making coffee and earning the spots in the hearts of the locals. But for Lori and her family, this chapter of life is over, and she is excited to leave her legacy in the hands of trusted friends, restaurateurs and Winter Garden residents, Laurie and Kevin Tarter. The Tarter’s officially take over on January 1st, but plans are well underway to bring a new and improved Attic Door to Plant Street.
You may recognize Laurie and Kevin as the owners of two other thriving Plant Street businesses, The Tasting Room and The Chef’s Table. They opened The Chef’s Table in May of 2008 with only 30 seats and 9 tables. The whole idea behind the Chef’s Table was to give Winter Garden residents a fine dining option. It was clear that they were meeting a need in the community, and they earned rave reviews from well-known food critics. They quickly found themselves busy enough for two dinner seatings every night:
one at 5:30pm and another at 8:00pm. When the deli next to them closed down, they took over the space and expanded to 60 seats, giving even more guests the chance to enjoy the incredible three course meal and impressive wine list.
Laurie and Kevin Tarter opened the Tasting Room in 2011, and it was the first restaurant on Plant Street to offer a full liquor bar. The whole idea was to create a casual space for locals to pop in for a handcrafted cocktail or snack on a few small plate options. It has become a place where locals frequent and many of the regulars have become lifelong friends.
Before they opened the Chef’s Table, Laurie and Kevin hung out at The Attic Door frequently, popping in to hang out with friends and enjoy some live music and good wine. This is where they met and built a relationship with Gibson. When Lori started to inquire about new owners for the Attic Door, she ran the idea by the Tarter’s who were intrigued. Lori was looking for someone she trusted to keep The Attic Door as a Plant Street favorite, and she knew Laurie and Kevin were the ones who could make it happen.
Winter Garden locals can rest assured that under new ownership, the Attic Door will still feature many of the local menu favorites, and will still be one of the best wine bars in the area. It will still feature 10 taps of craft beer, and live music Wednesdays-Saturday, trivia on Tuesdays and mouth watering “sofa snacks” that can be perfected in the restaurant’s small kitchen.
While the Attic Door will still cater to adults, there are ideas in the works to incorporate events and activities for families and kids to enjoy. The biggest change locals can expect is the addition of Afternoon Tea. This unique concept will require reservations in order for the restaurant to prep for your special brunch, birthday party, bridal shower or other group outing. Tiered plates of house made clotted cream, scones, delicious lemon curd and jam, finger sandwiches and mini desserts will be brought straight to your table for an elegant dining experience unlike anything in the area. Tea parties geared towards children 6 and up will also give the youngest Winter Garden residents a chance to dress up, learn basic etiquette and experience a tea party fit for a storybook.
Changes have already started to improve the Attic Door, while also allowing it to maintain it’s charm and local feel. While there is no set date for the officially re-opening of the Winter Garden Attic Door, owners are shooting for January 10th.
For many area locals, The Attic Door has been part of their Winter Garden experience for years. Laurie and Kevin hope that new Attic Door is a place where people can reconnect with old friends and make new ones. It is a place that has felt like home, that has been the backdrop for first dates and girls’ nights and birthdays, and a retreat from the stress of everyday life . The Attic Door will continue this legacy, and offer residents a few extras to make the experience even better.
For more information about Afternoon Tea and to make reservations, feel free to call the Reservation Line: 407-750-7063
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