In a quest to avoid definition and classification, Garp & Fuss has one noticeable characteristic that the restaurants’ owners, managers, and staff hope all guests experience: community.
Established in 2017, Garp & Fuss sits inside The Hidden Garden along beautiful Park Avenue in Winter Park, Fla. A visit to the five-room, 3,800-square-foot restaurant leaves one feeling a sense of comfort that can rarely be found outside one’s own home.
For head chef Liz Zucco and general manager Nikki Nielsen, that “feeling right at home” experience is exactly what they set out to produce and add to the Orlando-area food scene. You’ll find it everywhere, from the delicious and unique food and drink menu to the cozy interior design and welcoming staff.
The name “Garp & Fuss” is named after Zucco’s two sisters: Alyssa (Garp) and Amanda (Fuss). Their childhood nicknames, Alyssa resembled the baby from “The World According to Garp” as an infant. Amanda was, to be nice, quite fussy when she was a baby.
In an effort to create a dining, drinking, and social-gathering experience that adds fun at every corner, Zucco and Nielsen used the restaurant’s name as the key ingredient.
When Zucco and Nielsen designed the Park Avenue restaurant, they wanted to appeal to a wide variety of food-lovers, with a style not easily definable. What they built was a delicious range of food options that will meet the desires of anyone, whether seeking a full dinner entree or multiple shareable offerings.
The crispy, fried wings are available in six different sauces, from spicy to sweet. The small-plate offerings such as buffalo cauliflower, crab cake bites, poke lettuce wraps, always-reliable-and-magical macaroni n’ cheese, and more that can be enjoyed as a group. The signature “Fuss” fried chicken sandwich brings its own unique, surprising blueberry-relish take on a popular, well-known option. The “Garp” brings a little Chicago flair down to Central Florida with a mouth-watering Italian beef sandwich. Burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, potstickers, ribs, and more fill a diverse menu ranging in nationalities, volume, and flavors. And there are vegan and vegetarian options for those wishing to steer clear of meat or other animal components.
Whoever you are, and whatever food and drinks you enjoy most, Garp & Fuss has something for you.
When the restaurants’ owners were in the market for a location, 348 N. Park Ave., was available. What the owners saw was a building with untapped potential and character.
It’s now transformed into a multi-dimensional gastropub and restaurant. At the wrap-around bar, guests can enjoy one of the many unique cocktails or one of 20-plus beers, from local craft brews to popular American lagers. If you’re a hard-alcohol drinker, just remember, there’s a reason people are warned not to ask about the “green juice.”
The lounge area above the bar features a wall-mounted TV, couches, chairs, and tables, allowing guests to wait for a reservation while enjoying drinks and small plates — or offering a more relaxing change of scenery from sitting upright at the bar.
Even the table-seating options are separated with their own unique characteristics. The atrium features brick walls and dome-shaped glass windows, allowing sunlight to shine through on sunny Florida days or guests to peak up at the the night-time sky through the glass-window ceiling. On the southern side of the restaurant, booths line the walls with a wine rack in sight, and a pool table and an additional wall-mounted TV occupies the side room.
Returning to that feeling of community, one visit to Garp & Fuss on Park Avenue and you’ll become part of ours. First-time guests often leave on a first-name basis with the staff members and other patrons. Second-time guests are commonly surprised when their name is remembered upon entrance. And while the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth times visiting — and beyond — bring the same familial, never-left-your-living-room feeling that Garp & Fuss sets out to create, you’ll always find something new upon each visit.
Whether it’s the plate wall, the ever-changing Happy Hour drink and food specials written in chalk next to the bar, the picture of Abraham Lincoln at the bar, or something else, Garp & Fuss has enough small-yet-memorable characteristics to make each experience unique and special.
If you’ve been to Garp & Fuss before, you know what we mean when we call ourselves a community.
If you haven’t stopped by yet, come join the club. We’re always looking to add another friend, and there’s nothing better than eating and drinking with friends.