Today is the day to discover the “brand new” of “traditional” dining, at Downton Orlando, Florida’s, newest old tradition, “Soco!” An ingenious acronym, Soco is the best way to experience Southern Contemporary Cuisine! Overlooking the lively corner of Central Boulevard and Summerlin Avenue in Beautiful Thornton Park, Soco combines classic southern style with an urban contemporary environment, the perfect blend of elements that create an exciting yet comfortable, almost reminiscent atmosphere to suit any mood.
“Soco” is the realization of the vision of Executive Chef/Partner Greg Richie, in his desire to engender a “Culinary Renaissance” in Downtown Orlando, by creating a truly unique and progressive culinary experience for his guests.
Chef Greg’s roots are in Texas and Georgia, which gives him an affinity for the South, and the culture and history that is found, not only in it’s cuisine, but also in the way food is part of socializing. “I grew up in a family of great cooks… and getting together with friends and family meant sharing, not only food, but also the support and enjoyment of each other.” Chef Greg knew at an early age what he wanted to do in life, “In fifth grade, for a school project, I made bread for my entire class. It was always a fun time, making things in the kitchen with my Mom and Grandmom.” By his thirteenth birthday, he knew he wanted to be a chef, and he began working in kitchens, washing up and doing whatever he could to learn and progress.
Becoming a cook allowed him to cultivate his creative side, “Food can be a fun adventure, you can’t be afraid to try new things, experiment with new ideas.” Chef Greg loves the challenges of creating a menu. “First, you have to start with the venue and go from there.” If it is a seafood restaurant, such as “Cityfish,” the sister restaurant to “Soco,” then that creates the context for the concept of the menu. The menu should then be designed to help create the restaurant’s identity. “Some places have a little bit of everything, which can make it hard to narrow down what the concept should be. At Southern Contemporary (Soco), we are Southern inspired, we start with the idea of what Southern food is, and then ‘contemporize’ it in some way, such as a traditional Southern dish that we throw a modern twist into, or perhaps a non-Southern dish in which we add the flavor of the South.” Chef Greg places a great importance on balance in the menu; a good assortment of flavors and foods with a good price range. “It all comes down to balance… a balance of menu items and a balance of flavors on the plate. Also, the guests expect and deserve a delicious meal, served in a beautiful environment, with great service and hospitality. That is our goal, 100 percent, to meet our guest’s expectations, every time they visit!”
Chef Greg would like to invite everyone to try Thorton Park’s newest, traditionally eclectic, Southern hospitality, found only at “Soco.” “Our kitchen has a grand window, that allows our guests to ‘peek inside’ and see what’s going on, just like home!” Whether a small, intimate occasion, a casual get together, or a group function, “Soco” is a great place to make fun memories. The “Culinary Renaissance” of Downtown Orlando is found at “Soco!”