FINE DINING

CHATHAM'S IS THE PLACE

By MARSHALL SWANSON

 

     In 1988, two brothers with a talent for the restaurant business decided to settle on Dr. Phillips, a rather undeveloped portion of Southwest Orange County even at that time, to launch their new restaurant enterprise. When Louis Chatham and his brother Randolph founded Chatham's Place, the establishment  transformed into an iconic not only to those living in the area, but also to visitors from all around the globe. Today, world-class musicians, movie stars, the ultra wealthy and the nation’s most prominent lawyers such as John Morgan continue to dine here for its class, elegance and delicious food. 
     In the late 90s, Randolph passed and Louis decided it was time to sell. So in 1997, the late Mauricio Colindres partnered up with the restaurant's Sous Chef Tony Lopez, and Carol Conwell, a customer seeking to take part in operating her favorite dining establishment.
    Lopez took command of the kitchen as executive chef, Colindres was the maitre'd and manager, and Conwell served as hostess, taking over for Chatham’s mother, Bettye.
    Conwell died in 2006 and Lopez and Colindres carried on the quality and legacy of the restaurant. Sadly, Mr. Colindres passed on as well in 2018, though his spirit lives in the work of Chef Tony and the entire
staff. The restaurant hasn't changed all to much over the years, and that’s precisely why people keep coming back. An army of loyal patrons continues to pay tribute to the luxurious and world renown service offered by the restaurant. Bob Rose still graces the piano with his charming jazz tunes, and nearly anything you want him to play.
    Ronald Reagan visited the restaurant during its early years with his wife First Lady Nancy Reagan (top right). Other famous guests include former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, as well as the late Payne Stewart and Arnold Palmer (bottom right). Of course, not everyone who visits the restaurant is a celebrity. In fact, many Central Florida residents spend time at Chatham's Place for special occasions including birthdays and anniversaries.
    Over the past few months the restaurant has been closed due to lockdowns and the coronavirus pandemic, though traditionally, the restaurant is closed yearly in the month of July. Doors reopened in early August to the public and the restaurant has taken every precaution, going above and beyond to follow CDC guidelines and protect guests during this time.
    Chef Tony has spent more than 30 years of his life dedicated to fine dining and the restaurant. He and the entire staff invite you to come join the ranks of Presidents, Hollywood celebrities, politicians, and sports stars, for a night full of memories and exquisite dining. Whether you’re celebrating a proposal, anniversary, birthday, or just a special night out, Chatham's is the place!

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