Welcome to another edition of “People Pulse.” Always hoping to bring you interesting folks doing even more interesting things in the Orlando and Central Florida area, here is Dana Roquemore. I have the extreme pleasure and honor to call Dana my dear friend for about seven years. I knew from the very first time I met her at an event in Mills 50 District that she was…is someone special. She has a huge passion for Orlando and Central Florida and building Community (that’s a big “C”!) here, as well as being a bomb entrepreneur-ess. I just think she’s the coolest and most definitely thought of her for a “People Pulse” feature. If you don’t know Dana you certainly need to spend some time here doing that…and then get out in real life and meet her sometime. Let’s dig in a little deeper so you can get to know Dana as I do….
Q. Tell us a little bit about your history with Orlando. How long have you lived here?
A. I have lived in Orlando since 2000. Y2K, yo! So glad technology is still here. I grew up in Virginia and New England, but moved down here on a whim with $40 in my pocket. I lived for almost a year in LA in 2005, but hated it, so moved back to Orlando.
Q. What’s one of your favorite things about living in Central Florida?
A. The sunshine! Although I don’t love the scorching summers, I do love the amount of sun we get year-round. I just can’t do much cold, cloudy and grey (unless it’s Paris). I love that the beach is under an hour away, so we aren’t completely landlocked. But what really excites me is the Community that Orlando has built over the past five-to-six years. I am thrilled that people are investing in the Orlando that isn’t the theme parks.
Q. For those who aren’t yet familiar, give us a little insight into your business The Dinner Party Project (TDPP).
A. TDPP is all about connecting humans around the Dinner Table! We do this in a variety of ways. The first concept and still my favorite is “Dinner for 8.” Gathering eight strangers around a dinner table. We offer a cocktail, four courses, wine and CREDO coffee. I love to see the connection around the dinner table. This happens mainly because of our amazing Guest Hosts, like yourself, Ashley.
Q. What is the long-term vision for TDPP and its voice in the Central Florida community?
A. I’d love to see TDPP grow to more frequent Dinner Parties. I’ve heard recently that people would like more dinners around specific topics, so that is one thing I will be working on. I want to work on offering opportunities to have a seat at the dinner table, no matter the socio-economic status. Plus, I would love to see more diversity around the table! Also to continue inviting intriguing guests on my podcast, “Cocktails & Conversation.”
Q. Speaking of community, it’s one word I immediately think of when I think of Orlando. What does community mean to you as it relates to this great City of ours?
A. I’m grateful that people are doing things to create Community. There are SO many options these days. There are more things to do than you can attend. I love publications that are dedicated to pushing the Community to participate in what is happening in Orlando.
Follow these for everything that’s happening in the City:
Q. So much has changed in Orlando over the past five years. What has been something you’re most surprised about?
A. SO many food and drinks options! They keep popping up and I’m not mad about it. I love it when Orlando gets featured on the food radar on a national scale.
Q. What are some of your “best kept” secrets for things to do in Orlando and the Central Florida area?
A. So many gems in Central Florida:
- I LOVE OCLS. Especially the downtown one. I enjoy browsing what is good and new and getting inspired by what other people are reading.
- Dickson Azalea Park. I’m lucky to be able to walk to it from my home. It’s really so gorgeous and whimsical. It kinda feels like you are not in Orlando for a moment.
- Snap! Orlando and Snap Galleries. If you haven’t been yet, you are truly missing out! The level of internationally acclaimed artists that Holly & Patrick Khan bring to Orlando is astounding!
- All the incredible authentic food you can find along OBT or Semoran.
- Estate Sales. I REALLY hate giving this secret away, but there are so many amazing sales and you can find fabulous one-of-a-kind vintage items. I have so much vintage glassware for dinners. I have literally had to cut myself off from buying anymore.
Q. OK – one of my favorite questions: What are your go-to and just-can’t-live-without food places in town?
A. Good Lord. where shall I begin. Here are a few of my top picks:
🍸 The Guesthouse & Sunroom
🍸 DOMU also has a killer bar/cocktail menu, and they just opened Tori Tori which is such a gorgeous spot.
🍸 The Courtesy
🍸 Hanson’s Shoe Repair. It’s a speakeasy that you have to call and get the password for. It’s got a cozy rooftop bar!
Q. What are some of your favorite places in Orlando to be inspired, or just to be motivated?
A. Take a Walk or Bike around. So many gorgeous parks and lakes. It really is the City Beautiful. Any chance I get to see art/live art/theater, I really enjoy.
Q. What is one thing you personally hope to achieve during the remainder of 2019 and on into 2020?
A. I’m starting up some NEW Dinner Party Series that I am excited about. More Dinners around themes and topics. And monthly dinners around Women’s Issues. Next year I would like to think about doing some Mini Retreats! I love the idea of inviting people to slow down and take inventory of their life. Taking a look at how can rest can make us a more kind Community