Chef William Shen, the previous executive chef/owner of New York omakase restaurant Ato (Website), will open a brand-new concept in Baldwin Park later this year.

‘’Sorekara is about a group of passionate people who came together to redefine what fine dining could be like in Florida, from our rice farmers in Japan to our chefs and to our hospitality professionals’’

– CHEF WILLIAM SHEN, via a prepared statement

According to a press release issued by the Bento Group, the new restaurant, Sorekara (Instagram), will be located in the former Galeria Restaurant space at 4979 New Broad Street [GMap]. According to Chef Shen, the new concept will embody “…the Japanese philosophy of culinary arts delivered with European imagination. Sorekara is a dream project I have been working on for the last five years. It has evolved year after year, and I look forward to introducing it to the world from the city of Orlando.’’ 

After Ato received a 3-star review from New York Magazine, Shen went on to lead the kitchens of the New York Palace and the Howard Prince Hotel in Taipei before joining as executive chef at Miami-based Riviera Dining Group, whose portfolio includes Ava MediterrAegean in Winter Park and Mila in South Beach.

On why Shen chose Orlando, he points to prolific restaurateurs, Johnny and Jimmy Tung, as being major factors. “Early last year, I got to know Johnny and Jimmy and developed a close friendship with them. They’re working very hard to put Orlando at the forefront of the culinary scene in this country and I want to be part of this. I want to challenge myself and be a part of this journey.”

The restaurant itself will be inspired by Orlando. “Baldwin Park has an amazing lakefront, and lakes are so much of what makes Orlando, Orlando,” says Tung. “Miami has its beaches, but Orlando has its lakes, and when people from all over the world visit this restaurant, we want them to bask in the beauty of Orlando, as well as the restaurant.” 

According to the team, Sorekara is poised to open later this year.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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