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  • Mark Baratelli, Editor

Hungry Pants Restaurant Coming to SODO

The creators of the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck are opening a Plant-Curious Fast-Fine restaurant in the SODO District.


A new restaurant called Hungry Pants (WEB | Instagram | Facebook) is opening this Fall in the SODO District at 3421 S Orange Ave (MAP). It's a project by local food entrepreneurs Joey Conicella and Alex Marin, creators of the once popular Yum Yum Cupcake Truck that helped pioneer Orlando’s food truck scene.


After the couple sold the sweets business, they went back into the corporate world and spent two years in Philadelphia and two in Dallas. But, the decision to leave Orlando ended up being one they regretted.

"We realized that we wanted to move back to Orlando pretty much immediately after leaving. It's our home. We moved back last March and bought a bungalow in College Park," Alex told The Daily City.


Joey and Alex learned during those early Yum Yum days that they work well together both as business partners and as a couple. There was no hesitation when the idea for this new restaurant concept came to them.


"If you can own and operate a cupcake truck during hurricane season with your spouse, you can do pretty much anything together," says Alex.


Hungry Pants will occupy the space currently occupied by the long-running Carol's Place diner in the SODO district. The final day of operation for Carol's is August 11, 2019. The owners of Carol's will close the diner business but will be remaining on as the landlord of the property.


Choosing to locate their new restaurant in the SODO district was a no-brainer for the couple.


"From a customer standpoint, SODO is great because it services hospital employees and downtown folks during the day and then Delaney Park, Hour Glass, Conway families in the evening," says Alex. "The demographics are getting younger and with that, you see a taste for more local, diverse options increasing."


The new restaurant's menu consisting of sandwiches, salads, and bowls will be "plant-curious" Joey. This means, "100% plant-based 80% of the time. Think dabbling in foods that are grown from the earth, but without having to give up on your favorite meats and cheeses."


How do two food entrepreneurs go from cupcake kings to becoming, well, plant curious?


"The idea of Hungry Pants can be tied to why we ultimately sold The Yum Yum Truck," says Joey. "Although Yum Yum's spirit was authentically us, we wanted to be more connected to the food we were serving our customers."


While they loved selling cupcakes, the product itself wasn't something they frequently indulged in. Healthy eating, however, is something they do. But the way they do so was hard to pinpoint and define.


"Joey and I find it hard to put a label on how we eat and have found most of our friends and neighbors are the same. Everyone seems to be on this quest to try new flavors, attempt to keep it healthy, but not give up their favorite comfort foods. So it hit us, why don't we create a menu that reflects that?"


The menu will be divided into four different categories based on the level of hunger (Nibble, Nosh, Hungry, and Famished) and will feature items including Tumeric Tahini Noodle Bowl, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Wontons. Curry Lime Tempeh Sandwich, and Grass-Fed Cheese Burgers.


The restaurant will offer a level of service called Fast Fine, "which we saw a lot of when we lived in Dallas. The service is quick and relaxed like a fast-casual restaurant, but the menu and atmosphere are more elevated like a traditional restaurant, says Alex.


The interior will feature bright, retro elements much like the logo.


Hungry Pants will offer online and mobile ordering, takeout and third-party delivery. It will open for lunch and dinner, and eventually launch breakfast and brunch service. Craft Beer, wine and house made desserts will round out the dining experience.



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mark@thedailycity.com

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