Bolay in Winter Park is now open. And it is going to do VERY well. I’d put money on it.
After a plethora of new concepts over the last few years, this is something different. Yeah, it’s of the Chipotle vein of casual eating concepts. I won’t argue that. There have been many of those, with new ones popping up all the time. A big difference here is this: It’s delicious.
Offering exclusively gluten free menu items, Bolay is a re-entry into the restaurant industry by one of the founders of Outback Steakhouse. This go around he’s in it with his son. And, I’ve been told by employees, the dad is the guy who created the blommin’ onion. No, it wasn’t actually the national appetizer of Australia!
I’ve eaten at Bolay now twice, first down in Lake Nona and then, this week, at the new location in Winter Park.
When I went down a few weeks ago to check out the Lake Nona location, I immediately found parking was an issue. It is only upon reflection that I realize parking was an issue because everyone was parking NEAR Bolay. Of the five or so casual dining concepts in the small strip center, I think I saw two people in any of the others. And this was peak lunch time.
So, I park on the far side, walk over to the Bolay entry, open the door and the line was huge. Huge and moving briskly, actually. I wanted to take pictures and look about as I waited, but found myself engaged in conversation with the woman ahead of me, after she noticed my New Zealand vest. She introduced herself as a Kiwi now living in the Bay Area of California.
This wasn’t her first Bolay experience. She’d already eaten there a few times. And as the employees were putting her bowl together, she kept telling each one they need Bolays in California. Yeah, in a state we sort of think of as the home of sushi, kale and bean sprouts, that’s a pretty high complement for Bolay.
I have gone the create-your-own root each time I’ve dined, and chose the forbidden black rice last evening. It’s yummy. But what isn’t? The noodles, the rice, each and every veggie I selected, the goat cheese.
As I went through the line, I had two thoughts which were proven false later.
The first was that I wondered if it was going to be enough food. Because I was getting two different bases each time, then two veggies on top of that, each portion is around half of what you might get creating a bowl at Chipotle. But in the end, it’s basically the same amount of food because I was getting two. And, because you are getting such a variety of items, the flavors you experience are abundant!
The second question which crossed my mind was whether these combinations I’m instructing them to put together will be any good. And, each time, I hit a tasty home run! Angela, the manager of the Lake Nona location, told me they’ve only found a few combinations out of the surely thousands of possibilities which didn’t work so great. So, get creative! I got more creative the second time than the first and am certain that will be the trend.
So, I say, HOORAY for Bolay! So close to where I live in Winter Park, this new concept out of South Florida is going to be a BIG hit, mark my words.
Happy to give Bolay a big #5LUVs!