Ace Cafe Orlando, the first North American outpost of the celebrated London-based motor-diner, is rolling toward its scheduled spring 2017 opening in Central Florida. Construction workers are in high gear completing the 35,000-square-foot motor-centric dining, entertainment, and retail destination, reinvigorating a key parcel in downtown Orlando and bringing more than 175 new jobs to the local economy. The Ace expects to draw over 400,000 people to downtown annually.
Since 1938, Ace Cafe London has been a mecca for those passionate about cars, bikes and rock 'n roll culture. The original location on London's North Circular Road began as a simple roadside cafe for truckers, then evolved into a popular destination for rock ‘n roll-loving teens riding motorbikes during the '50s and '60s. Today, the Ace has a multi-generational appeal from motorsports enthusiasts from all over the world.
Ace Cafe is located on a three-acre parcel in downtown Orlando at the corner of West Livingston Street and Garland Avenue, now known as "Ace Corner." The Ace is renovating and refurbishing three 100-year-old buildings – once home to Harry P. Leu's supply company - preserving the structures' authenticity and even repurposing its original materials (for example, every table inside the Ace is made from the wood and heavy timbers reclaimed from the barn on property) - while also evoking the essence of the original Ace Cafe London. "We're thrilled to welcome Ace Cafe to downtown Orlando," said Thomas Chatmon, Jr., executive director of Orlando's Downtown Development Board and Community Redevelopment Agency. "This entirely-new destination's unique blend of restaurant, bars, retail, live music and event spaces will entice a variety of demographics to downtown. The Ace's economic impact will be immeasurable."
Much larger than its London namesake, Ace Cafe Orlando spans two floors and will feature a full-service restaurant, two kitchens, four bars, a coffee bar, a communal counter, a mezzanine that overlooks the main floor dining area and stage, and private and semi-private spaces for groups both large and small. Rounding out the offerings inside the Ace are Rockers Speed Shop (selling official branded Ace gear and apparel); a BMW motorcycle dealer; Dainese D-Store (Italy's most famous high-tech riding gear and accessories brand); EagleRider motorcycle rental company (the world's largest motorcycle tourism company); and Stonebridge Motorgallery, selling an ever-changing line-up of original motorsports and rock 'n roll-inspired artwork, photography, sculptures, and memorabilia, as well as collectable vintage and one-off custom motorcycles. World-renowned artists including Michael Lichter, David Uhl, Antonio Merinero and Makoto Endo, as well as local favorites, will be represented.
More than a restaurant, Ace Cafe Orlando connects great food and dining with a passion for motoring and rock 'n roll, providing a totally unique guest experience found nowhere else in the U.S. Under the tutelage of Executive Chef Christopher Truesdell, the Ace's menu can be defined as American Gastro-Diner fare, featuring made-from-scratch home style comfort food with a twist that captures the authentic spirit and flavors of some of the best diners and backroad joints across the country, all at an affordable price point. Of course, there is also a nod to Ace Cafe's roots with authentic British favorites like Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips, and Chicken Curry.
A carefully-curated list of house-made specialty craft cocktails, fresh juices, Super Martinis, wines, cold-pressed and hot spiked coffee drinks, spiked and non-spiked fresh gelato milkshakes, and an amazing beer list of craft, domestic and imported brews across 104 taps headline a bountiful array of adult beverages available from four fully-stocked bars. The Ace is also family-friendly, complete with sharable appetizers, fresh super food salads, Gluten-free options, and a children's menu, not to mention all the eye-catching cool cars and bikes on display on any given day. Ace Cafe Orlando is destined to become a popular destination for all ages in the middle of the City Beautiful.
And then there's the great outdoors at Ace Corner -- the siren call for motor- and music-lovers, alike. Guests can drink and dine on a large outdoor backyard patio, or grab a Julius Meinl coffee while admiring hot rides through giant garage doors that open onto a large "car park," (parking lot) where the coolest vehicles will become the focal point each day for car club and bike meets and mingling. Parking is free for Ace guests, with several public parking garages also in close proximity. When complete, the entire three-acre area can host up to 7,000 guests.
Following the opening of Ace Cafe, attention then turns to completing two key spaces inside Ace Corner, now under construction and on track for a summer 2017 opening: an 8,000-square-foot, one-story live music and bar venue called The Blue Cap Shack, also home to the area's first Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, the Kansas City-based BBQ restaurant voted "Best BBQ" by Anthony Bourdain, Chef Wolfgang Puck and USA Today; and a Backyard Beer Garden featuring an outdoor stage for live music accommodating up to 1,200 people, ideal for bike and car meets, concerts and private parties.
"As we get closer to opening, it is so rewarding to watch this multi-faceted project come together," said Mark McKee, CEO and Chief Gearhead of Ace Cafe North America. "We are building something so special, a place that's focused entirely on the Central Florida community. From petrolheads and aficionados to would-be enthusiasts who want to take a rental spin on the weekend, to concert-goers who want good music and specialty cocktails, to families searching for a fun and affordable dining spot – the Ace is for everybody."