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.
Prohibition-era liquor bottles and the hearth will be preserved in the Cask and Larder renovation.
Plans had already been made for a partnership with Tracy Lindskoog, General Manager at The Pig, and Dennis Bernard, Chef at The Pig (and Tracy’s husband). The four partners started to work on the next big decision: French Brasserie or Southern Brew Pub. “Everything was falling into place, we were getting so much support from everyone, it just felt right to stick to our roots and go Southern,” said James. Finding Brewmaster Ron Raike proved to be another “fall into place” moment. The four knew immediately that he was a perfect fit for this team and project, as his experience is unmatched in Central Florida.
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!