Restaurant, Linda's La Cantina

Linda's La Cantina at 4721 E. Colonial Drive. (Hilda M Perez, Orlando Sentinel / May 4, 2004)

An Orlando landmark since the end of World War II, family owned and operated Linda's La Cantina evolved from simple beginnings, and its secret to success all these years may have been to keep it simple.

Originally called Edie & Rudy's La Cantina, Rudy and Edith Seng sold the business to son Al in 1968. Al met and married Linda, who worked as a salad girl at the restaurant. Ten years later, Al and Linda tore down the building that was so close to Colonial Drive guests would wait — cocktails in hand — in the road for tables to come available. Al and Linda Seng divorced in 1985 and the restaurant became Linda's La Cantina. In 1994, a fire gutted the building at 4721 E. Colonial Drive. Rebuild? There was no question. Linda is no longer part of the day-to-day operation, but her children and their families are keeping the steakhouse tradition alive.

"Our passion goes beyond our parents. It comes from wanting to keep our grandfather's dream alive," says Linda's daughter Karen Hart, who has worked at the restaurant since she was 15. "Why change it? It works.

"I love it when people walk in with their children and grandchildren and talk about coming here for the first time. There is a lot of pride in being a part of so many people's lives for all these years."