Whole Cookery is going to offer a great option for guests at Cask and Larder. Where else in town can you get a whole cooked animal delivered to your table? When O’Boys occupied the building, they put in a huge smoker. It can hold up to 300 pounds of meat at one time! We’re going to have a separate menu for the whole cookery where you can come in with a group and order a whole animal, fish or poultry. The chefs will create specific sides to go along with the animal but you can always add on extra sides from the main menu. Advance planning is a must for this one though as we’ll need 72 hours advance notice for whole animals and 24-48 hours advance notice for fish and poultry. Bring on the suckling pig!
SOUTHERN BREWED & SPIRITS RAISED
The oyster bar frame is up and I’m so excited about the thought of being able to “belly up” to the bar and get fresh shucked oysters! The oysters will be from the East & West Coast – including our West Coast – and will be served raw or roasted in our hearth oven. Their idea for roasting in the hearth oven is very cool; first place wood chips on the bottom of the oven, layer them with a burlap sack and seaweed, then top with oysters to steam/roast. “In theory it should work, but obviously we haven’t tested it yet,” said James. The Chefs are developing recipes for bacon fat oyster crackers and fermented hot sauce to go along with the oysters and Dennis also plans on doing a lot of pickling and preserving as well. Get excited friends, we’re going to have an oyster bar in Winter Park!
The beginning phases of menu planning have started for our new Southern-inspired restaurant. Southern-inspired signifies something different from southern food or even soul food. When you hear the word “southern” it may conjure up images of biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, collards and fried okra. To our Chef de Cuisine, Dennis Bernard, however, Southern-inspired means using classic techniques with southern ingredients. Does that mean that we’ll never serve our version of fried chicken and chicken and dumplings? Absolutely not! The chefs are simply taking southern ingredients and preparing them in a deliciously innovative way. I can hear what you’re thinking now: “Isn’t that what you do at The Ravenous Pig already?” The answer is yes; however, The Pig’s newly appointed Chef de Cuisine, Joseph Burnett, is refining the menu at The Ravenous Pig to establish a clear distinction between the two restaurants. Besides, why not add another great locally owned restaurant to our town where the chefs can make our local ingredients shine?
Cask & Larder’s menu will consist of the following categories: Oysters; Sausage & Country Hams; Snacks; Vegetables & Grains; Fish; and Meats. We’ll also feature an additional menu for Whole Cookery, but we’ll get to that later. The menu itself is set up in way that you “create” your own plate. First, you choose your protein from the fish or meat category that features a respective accompaniment. For instance, the Grilled Redfish with Chow-Chow or Pork Loin with Chutney. Then, you have your choice of seasonal vegetables & grains a-la-carte. This also offers flexibility for vegetarians and individuals with gluten or dairy intolerance’s.
I stopped by Cask & Larder this morning to see Ron Raike, our Brewmaster. He’s there every morning overseeing all the construction of the brewery from the ground up and he has very specific designs about how everything is going to be placed. Today he was meeting with our stainless steel contractor, Champion Sheet Metal. Champion is a local company that has done work for Greens & Grille, a local restaurant owned by James Petrakis’ brother, Brian Petrakis. The brewery is being installed in the previous stage area and will be encased in Champion’s stainless steel.
Our 5-barrel Premier Stainless system is due to arrive in July. This system will allow Ron to brew 10 kegs at a time so he can keep brewing and our beer will always be flowing! What’s really cool is that Ron is customizing this system to make the best beers possible & give him the flexibility to brew whatever he wants including half-batches. In addition to our 5-barrel system, he’s having a Half-barrel Nano system installed & a high-quality water filter. Water quality is essential to brewing great beer, since beer is 95% water. Here are some things for all the beer enthusiasts out there to look forward to: Belgium styles and Sours, Palm Ridge whiskey barrel aged cask beers and collaborations with Green Room and Cigar City.
Welcome to the Cask & Larder blog! James & Julie Petrakis, chefs, owners and operators of Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig, have created this to share the process of starting a new restaurant in Winter Park, FL. When they approached me to write this blog, they shared with me the plans for the new restaurant and all I have to say is that it’s going to be so awesome! House-brewed beers by Ron Raike, an oyster bar, Sunday brunch, whole cooked animals, family-style seasonal sides, locally sourced, Southern-inspired and the team in place with James & Julie… How could anyone who loves great food, beer and drinks not be excited about this?
I was curious about how Cask & Larder came to be, so I sat down with James. He shared with me the events that brought it all together and really it’s a story of serendipity. After the success of The Ravenous Pig, James and Julie wanted to open a French Brasserie or a Southern Oyster Bar and began contacting spaces that they really liked – most were already occupied. They thought they had found the perfect space on Sand Lake Road and were very close to closing when they discovered that a 6,000 sq ft space was available in Winter Park. As it turns out, it was the Historic Harper’s Tavern.
James & Julie both grew up in Winter Park and remembered how the space was loved by the community and wanted to continue the legacy of the building by bringing another successful restaurant to the space. Negotiations began with Tom Harper and his partners. They had other offers on the table, however, it was Julie’s love for the building and Tom Harpers belief in what they wanted to do that closed the deal. The deal came with a couple of stipulations. The cypress wall from the original building – dating back to the 1930’s – had to stay as well as the prohibition-era liquor bottles that Tom found buried in the burn pit when they put in the parking lot. This wasn’t a difficult stipulation for James & Julie, “We already knew we wanted to keep them anyway,” James said.
The Cask & Larder story is truly an example of all things coming together at the right time. All of us are excited to revitalize what Harper’s Tavern was in the past, a lively place where you can get great, house-made food and drinks with family and friends. Stay tuned as we share new developments, menu planning, brewing beer and more as we get ready to open around Labor Day!