ORLANDO – The sign out in front of the building appears to state the address, but it’s really a lot more than that.
903 Mills is the address, all right, but this building at the corner of Mills Avenue and Gore Street is not just another quiet home. One of the few remaining businesses in a now largely residential area close to Delaney Park, 903 Mills Market, as the full title goes, is a place so fully integrated into this charming neighborhood that it serves a unique purpose.
Yes, you can get plenty of fine meals there, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But more importantly, it’s the neighborhood hang out. If you don’t find yourself seated at one of their outdoor tables, enjoying a beer or a veggie burger, chances are you rarely if ever leave your home.
So what is it?
Pass by 903 Mills Market, and it looks like a house … except for the parking spaces out front, or the metal tables off to the side. It also has the look of the corner variety store of decades past, which is actually pretty appropriate, but it continues to serve that function.
If you walk into this marketplace, chances are you might say one of several things, like:
“Wow, look at that amazing beer selection.”
“Check out all those unique bottles of wine they sell.”
“This is a really interesting menu.”
903 Mills Market, first of all, is in one of Orlando’s great up-and-coming neighborhoods, right in the middle of Mills Avenue between South Street and Briarcliff, and beautifully surrounded by picturesque lakes. If you start at 903 Mills Market and begin walking in one of several different directions, you’ll soon come upon Lake Davis, Lake Emerald and Lake Weldona, all within minutes of one another.
It’s a neighborhood filled with beautiful older homes, and lots of pedestrian foot traffic in the evenings, of joggers circling the lake multiple times, and people out walking their dogs along the shore. It’s a place to feed ducks by the water, or to see what a house right across the street from a lakes looks like (hint: they’re not tiny bungalows, let’s put it that way.)
903 Mills Market is the ideal place to stop at after one of those long walks, to enjoy one of their specialized beers – sometimes I think they give Total Wine & More a run for their money as far as selection goes – or a tasty meal like the Grateful Bread sandwich.
This convenience store café has everything you might need: drinks, sandwiches, salads, soups and coffee, pastries and muffins, plus a wonderfully friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere that makes you want to keep coming back. You also might want to go there just to check out their huge wine rack, which takes up an entire wall.
There are only three tables inside, but unless it’s raining heavily or temperatures have dipped down into the 30s, I’d recommend you move outside anyway, because this is a truly rewarding place for outdoor seating. It’s a quiet area, and relaxing outside while you wait for the staff to bring out your meal is one of life’s great small pleasures.
Remember I mentioned this is a good location for people who like to walk their dogs? By the same token, 903 Mills Market is happy to accommodate yoy if you bring your pet along. The outdoor seating area is dog friendly and the café provides water bowls for your pup to drink out of after those long walks on hot days.
The café is open Mondays through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. If there’s one downside to the place, it’s that parking is a challenge – there are some spaces out front and a few in the back, but they fill up fast at lunch time, and there’s no street parking on either Mills or Gore, so you may need to find a nearby side street to park on, and then walk a few blocks to the café – although considering this neighborhood’s considerable charms, that’s not such a bad idea.
Call 407-898-4392 to learn more. And take advantage of 903 Mills Market’s unique combination of attractive location, beautiful nearby lakes, and delicious sandwiches to make this your regular lunch or breakfast spot … even if the locals may end up wishing their could keep this little gem all to themselves.
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.