Cask & Larder: Whole Cookery, Family Style, Locally Sourced Brew Pub Make Reservations


August 30, 2012
By Manager in the All, Uncategorized category.
1 Comment

Honoring the Past & Celebrating the Future

As the excitement and anticipation builds about our opening day, I feel it’s important to honor the
history of our historic building. The original Harper’s Tavern was opened by Francis
Harper during prohibition in 1929. Francis was a bootlegger and buried bottles of booze
on his land (we have the bottles in our dining room) and stored liquor in old milk cans.

Last week, I stopped in at Winter Park Fish Co. and sat down with George
Volgelbacher. In 1968 George & Monique Volgelbacher escaped from a tumultuous
Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida to open the iconic Le Cordon Bleu and Harper’s
Tavern. “At that time, Orlando didn’t have a gourmet restaurant,” said George. When
the doors opened it was an immediate success. It had two sides, Harper’s Tavern was
a bar that was filled with lawyers, bankers and local politicians for happy hour, the
college students at night, was known for wild bachelor parties and the band was 2EZ
with Rick Amos and Edwin White would play in the back. The duo, which first played
together in 1981, reigned for almost a decade at the old Harper’s Tavern. Le Cordon
Bleu was where Winter Park dined and people came for anniversaries and

George at Winter Park Fish Co. *photo from the website

Since I never had the opportunity to experience it, I asked Heather
McPherson of the Orlando Sentinel to tell me what the experience was like.
Harper’s Tavern and Le Cordon Bleu were two distinct venues that managed to meld
quite nicely. Upscale classic French fare in a refined setting on one side of the building
and a fab bar on the other side with pub food and music in the back. The bar looked like
it had been lifted out of hunting lodge. The back room was packed with tables and small
stage. Jessie Cardwell was queen of the Harper’s bar and one of the best bartenders in
the area at that time. Orlando was booming with a wave of everything new. And
Harper’s was our sanctuary … something that had roots …. something that was real. At
the bar, my husband and I would order the amazing open-faced rib-eye sandwiches or
the French onion soup and finish the evening in the back room listening to 2EZ on the
” – Heather McPherson

Sitting with George and hearing his tale of success, love and devastation over his loss
in 1996, really made me understand the excitement that is happening in our town over
Cask & Larder. As I spoke with George, I showed him pictures of what we’re doing and
told him about all of our plans. He said he loves what we’re doing at The Pig and I think
I even got him excited too about C&L. It’s been our plan all along to revive the spirit of
what Le Cordon Bleu and Harper’s Tavern and after speaking with George, I know that’s
what we’re doing. “We had fun. Everyone should live to do what Monique and I did,”
said George. George and Monique have an open invitation to join us at Cask & Larder
whenever they want.


  1. clark daly says:

    Back in the late 40’s and early 50’s, Harpers tavern, with Ted Harper the owner, and the brothers Sonny Boy and Sam Plunkett serving drinks is a memory that just doesn’t go away.
    L.O. Mort, a true early Floridian in his seat at the bar every day.
    From we had characters like the actor Tony Perkins, the explorer Victor Wolfgang von Hagen, just returned fro the Galapagos, weaving tales of his adventures, an unending group of Rollins College, each with a storied background at UVA, Dartmouth, West Point, et al. Glamorous women everywhere! Those wer the days!

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