Check Out The “Must Eat” Favorites On The Menu at Soco in Thornton Park
A great restaurant is all about celebrations, don’t you think? It’s about celebrating the every day and the special occasions. Celebrating the fun times with friends. And, of course, celebrating drool worthy food and warm hospitality.
On November 13th, 2019 Soco celebrated its 5th Anniversary with an epic line up of talented local chefs and mixologists. They came together for a special dinner event that was sure to impress.
In honor of this special occasion, here are my favorite Must Eat items I’ve enjoyed on the Soco menu over the past 5 years. The 9+ Reasons Why Soco in Thornton Park deserves to be on your Must Eat List of Orlando.
Chef /Partner Greg Richie captivates us in with Southern comfort classics. Then surprises us with his contemporary twist. Hence the name Soco – Southern Contemporary Cuisine.
“Soco’s name is inspired by the cuisine that we serve -“Southern Contemporary”. It’s a new and adventurous culinary approach to dishes that we have all come to know and love. At Soco, we are focused on true Southern hospitality, and we are committed to overall excellence.”Chef / Partner Greg Richie
Whether you sit at the bar and enjoy fantastic whiskey cocktails from their extensive collection. Catch the kitchen action from floor to ceiling windows in the main dining room. Or sit back and chill watching the world go by outside on the patio, you’re guaranteed a good seat an a good meal at this local neighborhood gem in the heart of Orlando.
My advice: Go hungry!
1. This Is Not Your Momma’s Meatloaf.
Chef Greg Richie gives Southern comfort food his unique flair with this Grilled Meatloaf served over lobster mashed potatoes. The hearty portion is topped with smoked vidalia and andouille sausage gravy, crispy onion rings and grilled asparagus.
Did I say it was hearty? It deserves saying it again. You may need a nap afterwards but you’re guaranteed sweet dreams.
2. Give Me All The Biscuits!
It’s not a Southern meal without biscuits. And Soco’s are some of the best in town. You’ll see biscuits featured in a variety of inventive ways on the menu.
The Slow-Roasted Barbecue-Glazed Pork Belly Biscuits topped with Jalapeño Jelly and Chow-Chow are a wonderful bite to start.
Order the classic Buttermilk Biscuits served with a variety of housemade seasonal fruit jams like pineapple habanero, peach and berries. Great add on to your brunch or any time.
In fact, Greg Richie’s biscuits are so popular they ran out at the 2019 Cows N Cabs fundraising event. The Whole Hog BBQ was a winning dish.
3. Chicken & Dumplings, Fried Oysters? Yes Please!
Soco-Style “Chicken and Dumplings” made with tender local chicken breast, lobster dumplings, local mushrooms, edamame, drenched in an umami rich soy butter. You can have it for brunch, lunch or dinner and never be disappointed.
Cornmeal Crisped Oysters topped with pickled green tomato relish, chicharrones, and herb cream are another winning appetizer. Fried oysters are great. But fried oysters served atop a crispy pork chicharron is the way you’ll want them served forever.
4. Next Level AF Cauliflower.
Greg Richie has a thing for cauliflower. And that thing is damn delicious. It’s been over four years since I first tried Soco’s Chicken-Fried Cauliflower “Steak”. I have yet to find a cauliflower dish more satisfying than this one. For a Southern restaurant with a meat-centric menu, this is surprisingly my favorite vegetarian dish in Orlando.
A giant slab of cauliflower cut on the bias is breaded and roasted, served over garlic mashed potatoes and a bright vine ripe tomato gravy. Asparagus and artichokes add to the colorful dish which satisfies both omnivores and veggie lovers.
The “Other” KFC is the other winning cauliflower Must Eat dish on the menu. Otherwise known as Korean Fried Cauliflower Florets. Served as a side dish, they are equally delicious if you order as a bar snack.
Greg Richie must like KFC. Soco presents the rare occasion when I recommend ordering the chicken. No, not the fast food joint. The KFC Lake Meadow Naturals Korean-Style Fried Chicken with Benne seeds, pickled radishes, and sweet and spicy sauce. I have tried it in bao form and was delightful. The full entree is equally satisfying.
6. Taco Tuesday and Other Daily Specials
Every day there’s a delicious reason to visit Soco. Monday’s you get half off select bottles of wine. Enjoy Wing Night Wednesday, TV Dinner Thursday, Ribeye and Rye Friday, Shrimp and Grits Saturday and Burger and Bourbon on Sundays. But my favorite day at Soco is Taco Tuesday.
Greg Richie infuses “Taco Tuesday” with southern country charm with his inventive buttermilk biscuit fashioned as a tortilla. Filled with perfectly crisp, juicy buttermilk-battered fried chicken breast, topped with sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, avocado salsa, and jalapeños. This Tuesday only special is worth the drive.
7. Southern Style Brunch
Soco’s brunch game is strong. Available Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 3pm, the brunch menu features popular favorites from the regular menu which I’ve highlighted above. The Pork Belly Biscuits, The Cauliflower Steak and Chicken and Dumplings among others are joined by brunch only specialties. Unlimited mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and other cocktails are also available, because if not it would just be called breakfast.
One again biscuits play a big part of Soco’s brunch menu. The Sorghum Cured Salmon and Everything “Bagel” Biscuit features the genius move of a biscuit shaped like a bagel and topped with Everything Bagel seasoning. It’s served with Avocado, Cream Cheese Chive Butter and Heirloom Tomato-Caper Salad. As pretty to look at is it is tasty.
The Lobster Benedict sees Soco’s famous Buttermilk Biscuits get the Benedict Treatment topped poached lobster, Benton’s Country Ham, and Lobster Hollandaise.
The classic Southern dish Shrimp & Grits gets ready for brunch with the addition of “Bacon Egg and Cheese.” Everything is better with bacon!
8. It’s Not The South Without The Sweets.
Lemon Cheesecake and Key Lime “Pie” are on the dessert menu, as is housemade churned ice cream and sorbet. But you can’t get more Southern than Bourbon Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafer Waffle, Caramelized Banana, and Toasted Meringue.
9. Drink Up! Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch and more at Soco.
The cocktails are an equally important part of the experience at Soco. From classic Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, to Watermelon Coolers and Coffee Cocktails. You will not go thirsty. The selection of whiskeys and bourbons is impressive.
Classic Manhattan and Old Fashioned cocktails are only $6 during Happy Hour. Check out Happy Hour specials Monday – Friday, 5pm-7pm, all night on Thursday and Sunday.
Beat the heat with a Watermelon Cooler. It’s really easy to drink and quite dangerous as a result.
This coffee cocktail is made for the coffee lover! The Kentucky Cooler Cocktail is made with Kentucky Bourbon, Borghetti Espresso Liqueur, Iced Lineage Roasted Coffee. Oh my!
Be on the lookout for special cocktail creations! The “Sir Isaac” cocktail was a tasty blend of apples and bourbon.
Want one more reason to visit Soco?
If you’re not convinced by the pictures above, maybe awards and pedigree will convince you to add Soco to your Orlando Must Eat List. Among the many awards Soco has received in its five year history, it was voted “Reader’s Choice Best Restaurant” by Orlando Magazine Dining Awards in 2018, and has featured in the Best Southern Restaurant categories multiple times.
Executive Chef/Partner Greg Richie is well known in the Orlando culinary community. He opened Roy’s Orlando together with celeb chef Roy Yamaguchi and helmed the kitchen at Emeril Lagasse’s Tchoup Chop. He’s also cooked at the Beard House in New York and participates in various local charity events like Cows N Cabs.
Most importantly (to me), Greg Richie graced the cover for my first feature article in Orlando Signature Magazine. Now are you convinced?
Make reservations and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! I haven’t tried all the items on the Soco menu but I’m working on it. I hope you’ll enjoy these Must Eat favorites as much as I have. If you try any items I didn’t mention above, please tag me on your Instagram or Facebook posts @goepicurista so I can try them on my next visit.
Soco is located at 629 E. Central Blvd. Thornton Park, Downtown Orlando. Visit their website for more info.
Congratulations to Chef Greg Richie and his talented team at Soco on their 5 Year Anniversary!
Disclosure: I was an invited media guest for promotional purposes only for some of these events. Others I paid for and donated my time and funds. I am under no obligation to share this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!