Ace Cafe revs up in Orlando

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The early 1990s brought a veritable buffet of themed restaurants — Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Café and House of Blues among them. Could a new spot signal a return trip?

Ace Cafe Orlando became the sixth location of the London-based “motor diner” in May. Expected to draw more than 400,000 visitors each year to its dining, entertainment and retail options, the 35,000-square-foot destination highlights the car, bike and rock ‘n’ roll culture.

The first opened in 1938 in the United Kingdom as a roadside café for truckers. Things certainly have changed with the times: The new location covers two floors and includes a full-service restaurant, two kitchens, four bars, a coffee bar, communal counter, an overlooking mezzanine, private and semi-private spaces and special menu items like “Bat Outta Hell Meatloaf.”

There’s also a shop for Ace gear and apparel; a BMW motorcycle dealer; EagleRider motorcycle rental; Dainese D-Store with high-tech Italian riding gear and accessories; and artwork, memorabilia and more in the Stonebridge Motor Gallery.

The latest Ace Cafe marks its first North American venue; others are in the United Kingdom, Finland, China, Switzerland and Spain. The Orlando choice proves it’s still a small world after all — and the theme shows it’s a fast one.

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