Jack’s Place at Rosen Plaza offers 30 years of America’s pop culture from Liz Taylor to the Kennedys to the Queen of England
Jack’s Place is one of Orlando’s hidden dining gems, situated in a corner off the lobby of Rosen Plaza along International Drive. In this travel and convention center mecca, nearby Walt Disney World, Sea World and Orange County Convention Center offer plenty to keep you busy during the day, but in the evening, venture to this little corner of Florida for a tasty dinner with a twist of pop-culture fun.
Jack was dad to Harris Rosen, your host at the Rosen Hotels and Resorts dotting Orlando, and throughout his tenure at the Waldorf Astoria, his day job held not a single candle to his side one: drawing caricatures of the many famous people who came by. Soon he was invited to do sittings elsewhere, with celebrities with such names as Kennedy, Wright, and Hitchcock now hanging along side Warhol, Lindbergh, and Gershwin. Add in a few infamous names such as Mussolini, Castro, Stalin, and you’ve got a roll call you literally will find no where else.
Jack’s work became so well know and respected – not to mention admired for the time he spent not only on celebrities, but the every day heroes of America who served in the military and had their images created while in VA hospitals – that he was invited to Vietnam during the war where he would spend several months doing caricatures of wounded personal there.
Upon his return, Jack was honored by President Lyndon Johnson with the Medal of Commendation for his work there.
With more than 100,000 caricatures, including his vast signed collection, it is believed to be the largest in the world.
Step through the warm and inviting front door of Jack’s Place at Rosen Plaza, and enter what feels like perhaps Jack’s parlor and then den. The rich, warmth of the room, the feeling of pulling up a chair, lighting a good Cuban cigar and having a brandy or reading by the fireplace surrounds you.
But do not miss nor overlook the richest element of this room. Certainly dinner will be a delight and after dinner drinks will entice, but it is a small portion of Jack’s signed collection that adorn the walls and will certainly draw your attention.
After dinner walk around and see them closer. Get up a conversation with fellow diners as you look over them – and they look over you – at these playful and fun memories of where we were and who we were as a country and nation. Be amazed at the personalities who sit along side each other now as they may – or may not have – done in real life.
What amazed us most was how unlike many artists whose work is most often riddled with “sameness,” Jack’s portraits of these people varies, often reflecting in style the personality or aura of the person, down to the lines, the style, the thickness of line, and even medium on which its drawn.
This is a treasure trove of American and world pop culture and alone a reason you’ll enjoy an even at Jack’s Place.
(please note that all photos are taken and copyrighted by Rori Paul, but all caricature copyrights belong to Jack Rosen and the Rosen Family)