After a very sad two weeks of an almost-Oblivion Taproom-free existence, we got word that the well-loved burger and beer joint was in the midst of a soft opening this past weekend. On Saturday night, we decided to check it out and see if it still felt like home.
Short answer: it did.
The new owner, Shawn Paris, was a long-time patron of Oblivion and plans to keep things the same, with a few improvements here and there. One of these improvements was visible (and appreciated) immediately upon entry: a foot rail running the length of the bar. This will help to make beer-drinking sessions for short people just a little more comfortable.
What you won’t see is the walk in where Paris already installed a new floor and beer lines.
Another change that big Oblivi-fans will notice right away is a slight rebrand. At the top of the new menus, a partially-smashed skull and crossbones precedes the familiar red and black logo. It’s just different enough for us to see the new owner’s spin on the place.
The same could be said for the menu. Most of the old favorites have stuck around. Customers will still be able to chomp on a Hog Wild and the seriously delicious Oblivion Cuban. Veggies lovers can still work their way through a rapturous basket of Buddha fingers or a Skinny Puppy. And most importantly (to this writer), you can still top your crispy tots with Hawaiian Raw Garlic.
Ahem… HAWAIIAN RAW GARLIC!!!
While the chef remains the same, the menu has some new additions. Most intriguing is the new dessert offering: Choco-Jala-Peanut Butter Pie, which is a twist on a traditional chocolate peanut butter pie, with the spicy addition of jalapenos and cayenne whipped cream. Other new additions include fried jalapenos, a chili burger, and the Soul Scorcher 2.0: a cayenne-dusted patty topped with fried jalapenos, Sriracha cheese, scorching soul sauce, lettuce and tomatoes. So, basically, Spice Girls (and boys), the new Oblivion is the place for you.
There are a couple favorites missing from the menu, most notably the Jala-pine-o burger and, this writer’s favorite, the house-made chips back from Chef Goody’s reign at Oblivion. However, the new owner and Chef Andy say they hope to showcase weekly specials; we can only hope these make an appearance at some point.
Now, the most important question of all: how’s the beer list? Still on point. When we were there Saturday night, I enjoyed The Dude’s Rug, a chai-spice mead from B. Nektar, a Stone Brewery chai-spiced imperial Russian Stout and Rosetta, a truly delicious fruit beer from Ommegang. And, you guys, it was SO DIFFICULT to stop myself at those three. There was a lot to choose from.
Oblivion Taproom’s official grand re-opening is Friday, February 19. Stop by, get some noms and struggle, like I did, not to order every single thing on the beer menu.
Oblivion, it’s nice to have you back.
Top 5 Orlando Resurrections:
5. Jesus – at Holy Land
4. The Incredible Hulk Ride
3. The Beefy King Sign
2. The Citrus Bowl
1. Oblivion Taproom