We often get photographs and tips from our Bungalower readers of things that are happening around town, so we have started featuring them on the site in a series called “Eyes on the Street,” in honor of our favorite urbanist Jane Jacobs.

Did you see the Kiwi Coffe Cafe post? It looks like they’re getting kicked out of the park. Can you find out why?”

– BUNGALOWER READER

Just two weeks ago we told you about a new coffee hut that had opened by Lake Eola called Kiwi Coffee Cafe (Facebook Instagram), but it seems they may not be there very long much longer.

The coffee trailer, owned by former Auckland, New Zealand mayoral candidate John Palino (LinkedIn), has only been open for special events and some isolated weekends since it popped up a few months ago, and according to Palino, that’s because of some hullabaloo at City Hall.

“We built the trailer a year ago according to the specs we were given by Orlando [officials]. I had pitched the idea for a kiosk two years ago and the City said to go build it. So we did, and it took from December last year to August 2022 to open up in the park with a temporary contract.”

– JOHN PALINO, OWNER

But Palino says that he was asked to close just two hours after opening on the first day.

“There was some sort of complaint from the higher-ups that they didn’t get a say in what was happening so we were moved from the Eola House over to here, and then they closed us again. Now we’re being asked to leave by the 28th.”

– JOHN PALINO, OWNER

Palino says that he’s been working with “upper management” at the park but declined to name names in an effort to “not cause too much trouble for staff” in the hopes that they can iron out any issues before the 28th and be allowed to stay. He also said that the main issue seems to be coming from City Hall and executive leadership saying the cafe didn’t get proper approvals.

“We’ve spent $140,000 on this project and we’ve put a lot into it. It’s a lost year of my life at this point. And right before Christmas.”

– JOHN PALINO, OWNER

District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan shared with Bungalower that the coffee cart was only ever granted a short-term lease from the beginning and that it had already expired, but Palino was allowed to stay through the holidays to participate in the weekend holiday markets.

According to the Public Information Officer for the Office of the Mayor, the city’s Parks Division Manager sent a letter to Mr. Palino explaining the process of becoming a vendor in the City on Friday, December 16, and that he would have to go through a formal bid process if he wishes to stay as a permanent fixture to the park moving forward. City bid processes involve an open call for proposals after which city staff can weigh all of the submitted options to find the best fit.

According to Commissioner Sheehan, the city was treating this as a pilot project of sorts, to see how the public would respond to a walk-up vendor in the park, and that Mr. Palino will be required to vacate the park by noon on December 28.

The City also stated that they have not yet developed a formal bid process package for Kiwi Coffee to petition to stay put and that there is no formal process yet in place for other potential vendors to apply to become permanent approved vendors in the park.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask us? Have you seen something that you’d like us to look into for you? Email our editor at [email protected]

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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