Thursday was a big day for Orlando restaurants as tourist attractions, with NBC Sports going into the bar business and Rick Bayless, one of the country's top chefs, announcing he's going to Disney World — or at least the Mouse-owned shopping plaza Disney Springs.
Walt Disney World announced Thursday that Bayless will open his Frontera Fresco restaurant next year at Disney Springs, the dining and shopping complex formerly known as Downtown Disney. Bayless won Bravo's Top Chef Masters and has won six James Beard Awards, including national chef of the year. His Frontera Grill in Chicago won for outstanding restaurant in 2007.
Over at Universal, the NBC Sports Grill & Brew trotted out sports celebrities at CityWalk for the grand opening of the new restaurant on Thursday. Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, Hines Ward and Michele Tafoya were on hand for the sports bar that is taking the place of NASCAR Sports Grille. Featuring 38 different beers on draft and twists on bar food staples, the NBC Sports Grill has 100 TVs tuned to sports and open kettle grills as well as an expansive view across the lake into Universal Studios theme park.
—Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer