ADDRESS: 617 Primrose Drive, Orlando, FL 32803
A good brunch spot is sometimes hard to come by. When I was living up in southern Maryland, the go-to spot for my friends and I was a place called Miss Shirley’s in Annapolis. The restaurant was a little over 1.5 hours from where we lived, but my friends Mike, Tina, and I routinely made the trek about once a month because the food was just that good. Since moving down here to central Florida, I haven’t had a go-to spot like that, so I decided to start taking a look around for one. After filtering out several different promising places, Se7en Bites up in Orlando looked like a winner.
My cousin Kenny was in town this past weekend and on Sunday, we had already planned to spend the day up in Orlando. Why not couple that with a visit to Se7en Bites for brunch? It was actually almost 12:45 p.m. by the time we arrived at the restaurant, so that practically made it more like a full-on lunch at that point. But one bonus of that element was that the majority of brunch rush was already done, so we didn’t have to wait too long to go inside.
The ordering and seating concept takes a page from fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle or Noodles & Company, where you order up at the counter and then sit anywhere you’d like. The dining area featured a mix of two-person tables or longtables, where you could conceivably be sitting next to complete strangers during your meal.
To help control the crowd inside the restaurant, if it starts to become busy they will have people lining up outside next to the entrance, waiting to come in. You’ll get a copy of their menu to peruse while you wait so you have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to get by the time the crowd has let up for you to go in and order.
Both breakfast and lunch items are served all day, featuring a nice variety of benedicts, sandwiches, and biscuits. There was also a list of specials created just for the weekend. (Take a gander below if you’re interested to see what the line-up was during my visit.) While a number of the items on their core restaurant menu sounded good, both Kenny and I were drawn out to the specials, with him ordering the Haystack Benedict and I was going for the Cheezy-Q.
The dining space itself was not too large, maybe able to accommodate about 30 people maximum. One of the benefits it appeared though was that it seemed like they were able to churn out orders pretty quickly, which meant the line to get in moved at a relatively even pace. Adjacent to where we had ordered our food, there was a large countertop that displayed all of the diet-crushing baked goods that the restaurant also had to offer. It was difficult to even glance over in that direction, because I think it would have multiplied our hunger several times over. We took a note to stop back by after we were done with our food, which arrived blazingly fast probably about five minutes after we put in the order.
At first glance, I wasn’t sure if my Cheezy-Q plate was going to be enough food, but it ended up being just the right amount. Ginger BBQ pulled pork topped with their signature 5 cheese mac n’ cheese, crispy fried onions, and the over-medium egg I added on, all on a toasted garlic brioche bun, and served with a side of French fries lightly dusted with Parmesan cheese. It was certainly a messy road as I began to eat my way through the pulled pork sandwich. Mac n’ cheese and pulled pork oozed out the back of the brioche bun and onto the tray, with my spoon swooping in to help do the clean-up work.
The one thing that I was surprised about with the pulled pork was how well the ginger flavors were present. After your initial bite of pulled pork with the sweet BBQ flavors, the ginger would kind of sneak in, but never be too overpowering. I thought that both of those flavors paired well with the savory and rich flavors stemming from the mac n’ cheese as well as the fried egg. Funny enough, I’ve had mac n’ cheese at plenty of BBQ places where it’d come as a side dish; never did I think to combine that into a pulled pork sandwich as well.
After polishing off the last bite of that Cheezy-Q sandwich, it was time to turn our attention over to the baked goods. The sandwich and fries had left me at a pretty “satisfied” food level, with just enough room to tackle some dessert. And the options all sounded good. Cookies, brownies, pies, layer cakes, anything that your sweet tooth desired was probably somewhere on that counter. I decided to buy a few different items as a sample pack: the salted caramel dark chocolate mini pecan pie, vanilla bourbon bacon moon pie, and the “Don’t Fudge with Me” cookie bar. Unfortunately, in my excitement to eat them, I wasn’t able to grab any individual pictures, but each one was just as good as it sounds.
Of the three of those items, I would have to say that the salted caramel dark chocolate pecan pie was probably my favorite. The pie pastry was nice and flaky, with large granulated sugar on the top (reminding me of those pretzel-shaped Danish butter cookies that come in the blue tin). The inside was a nice blend of the caramel, dark chocolate, and chopped pecan flavors, with all of them balancing out very evenly.
In a battle between the brunch and the baked goods, I think that the baked goods won. The novelty of the items that they had available combined with my overactive sweet tooth really helped to seal the deal. Food-wise, I’ve read that the restaurant could sometimes see over an hour wait times when it’s busy; I’ll be honest to say I’m not sure if I would wait for more than a half hour to eat the brunch food. But if I happen to be in the area, I’d certainly take another swing by to see how the crowd looks. Who knows, maybe the next brunch dish I order could sway me over the baked goods.
Let’s now take a look at the Se7en Bites Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Se7en Bites:
Food: 4 / 5
Maybe I was expecting more from the pictures I saw of the food, but the dishes weren’t too bad nonetheless. The baked goods were definitely the stars of the show for me.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
Despite the fact that you had a chance to sit next to complete strangers during your meal, I thought the dining area was pretty lively. There was a pretty neat arrangement of decorative art on the far wall of the restaurant, made out of cake tins that formed a wave pattern.
Service: 4.25 / 5
The staff members we interacted with were very amiable, happy to answer any questions that we had on the menu. I was still amazed at how quickly the food came out of the kitchen after we ordered, since it had to have been less than five minutes.
Price: 4.5 / 5
I was expecting that for being close to a major metro area like Orlando, the prices would be higher than they were. But almost all of their dishes are priced below $10, with the specials being an exception, going up to $12 or $13.