• Lisa Marie

Ace Cafe: Orlando's Gastropub for Motors, Speed, and Rock 'n Roll

Ace Cafe is one of downtown Orlando's newest ventures. It opened in May of 2017 and it has become a one stop shop for fun. You can eat, take in the history, enjoy a music concert, or watch the bikers and car riders gather for a show in the front of the facility. It's a place where rock and roll meets the family experience.

The Ace Cafe has five other locations all around the world, including a great presence in the United Kingdom . The London location was the first Ace Cafe. It opened in the 1930s as a simple 24 hour cafe. However, due to its location and long hours it attracted truckers and motorcyclists. The London location recognized its demographics and added a service station, showroom, and a repair shop. The new additions to the London Ace Cafe and the start of rock 'n roll took the cafe to a level that it never anticipated. As a result, the Ace Cafe culture began. The London location was known for record racing. Bikers would drop a coin in the juke box and try their best to race to a particular location and return before the song finished. The Ace Cafe is recognized globally, and now Orlando has the opportunity to make their own footprints and create a community that coincides with the sunshine state.

The Orlando Ace Cafe has been placed in one of Orlando's historical warehouses from the 1960s. The bricks of the warehouse has memories of musical concerts, historical times, and political change. The Ace Cafe (Orlando) has quickly created a community of loyal supporters. The cafe has a busy calendar of events for bikers, car lovers, and music enthusiast; some meet weekly, others meet monthly, and certain people stop by whenever they're in town. The Ace Cafe Orlando has become a place where people that share the same interest can gather and develop a camaraderie with people in Orlando and from all over the world.

When my husband and I arrived at the Ace Cafe Orlando, we didn't know what to expect. We parked outside and immediately saw bikers riding in and out of the parking lot, cool cars circling the parking lot, and people standing outside to watch the parade of motored vehicles. As we walked towards the entrance, I saw a little boy around four years old and his father staring at the guys driving by on their motorcycles. Both of them had their mouths opened and their eyes glazed over in amazement. It was a beautiful father and son moment, and one that I'm sure happens very often at Ace Cafe. Once we walked through the doors, their was so much energy in the room. There were people of all generations laughing and talking at their tables as the rock 'n roll filled the air.

The Ace Cafe offers seating on the first floor, second floor, and on the outside of the facility. It was a beautiful Florida day, so we sat outside and enjoyed the views. For our starters, we ordered the "Artichoke and Spinach Spin-Out Dip" and the "Hummus Trio Platter." The spinach dip comes with tender artichokes, spinach and a three-cheese blend. The cheese blend is topped with diced tomatoes and scallions. On the sides of the platter are toasted pita and tortilla chips . The hummus platter comes with an assortment of house-made avocado cilantro hummus, roasted red pepper hummus and lemon hummus with toasted pita triangles and tortilla chips and fresh celery and carrots. Each starter came with a lot of food and could easily serve 2-3 people.

For our entrees, my husband ordered the "Bonneville Bacon Cheeseburger " and I ordered the "Sweet and Spicy Shrimp ." The bacon cheeseburger comes with hickory smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. It comes with french fries, traditional tator tots, or sweet potato tator tots. My husband tried the sweet potato tator tots and they were incredible! They're sprinkled with brown sugar and they have a toasted sweet and tasty crunch with each bite. Ace Cafe has some of the best tator tots that I have ever had! My husband also really enjoyed his burger and said that he would definitely come back and order the "Bonneville Bacon Cheeseburger" entrée again. The "Sweet and Spicy Shrimp" was served lightly battered and fried, tossed in a sweet and spicy Aioli. It is typically served with Jasmine rice, but I substituted the rice for vegetables. It also comes with pickled cucumbers, cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds and scallions. This dish was unique and it definitely had the Asian influence from one of the Ace Cafes in Beijing. The sweetness and crispiness of the shrimp worked well with the pickled cucumbers. My husband couldn't keep his hands off of my plate!

After we ate, we toured the facility. The Ace Cafe is 35,000 sq feet! It has a restaurant, an Ace apparel store, a motorcycle and art gallery, a stage for concerts, a conference room for meetings, and they plan to continue to use the remaining space to make their facility a monumental place for Downtown Orlando. The most impressive part of the tour for me was the history and the gallery on the second floor. The Ace Cafe building has been in place for decades and the Ace Cafe has tried to maintain as many pieces of the past in the restoration of the current building. Wood and pieces found on the railroad track behind the facility have been refurbished into tables and decorations. There were cool safes that had never been opened, pictures of the original owners of the building, and common objects from the 1960s that looked like they belonged in a museum. The gallery on the second floor host amazing art pieces, so many different motorcycles from different eras in life, and so much history about the evolution of the motorcycle. The Ace Cafe has so much to offer under one roof!

Extra information: We had Alexis as our server and she was awesome! She explains the menu vey well and she really made us feel so welcome. The manager, Matt Iporre, is so passionate about the food, service, and entertainment at the Ace Cafe. I can't wait to see where he takes the cafe in the next five years. The staff are all very friendly and provide great customer service.

Would I recommend it: Yes. It's a great place to enjoy casual comfort food, motorcycles and cars, and experience a good time with your family and friends. I've never been to a restaurant like Ace Cafe. I was only there for a few hours and I was getting an itch to buy a motorcycle and join the fun! If you're looking for a night out with your friends or family there is something for everyone. For those that share a love for bikes, cars, and rock 'n roll...you'll be in heaven! Stop by and let me know what you think.


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