Seasoned with Smoke and Rustic Simplicity

Cask & Larder

In a state known for transplants and tourists, Cask & Larder serves up Southern cooking with a focus on Florida finesse.

In a state known for transplants and tourists, Cask & Larder serves up Southern cooking with a focus on Florida finesse.

Cask & Larder
Owner: James and Julie Petrakis
Location: Winter Park, Florida
Description: Local heritage and tradition flavor a menu that runs the gamut from Everglades Wings (frog legs) to Crispy Pork Belly with Biscuits & Gravy, to the house-brewed Grapefruit IPA.
Opened: October 2012

As third-generation Floridians, husband-and-wife chef team James and Julie Petrakis wanted to give traditional Southern cooking a modern twist. They opened Cask & Larder in Winter Park, Florida, in October 2012, with the intent of creating an ode to both the South and their beloved state.

“I wanted to give Winter Park, where my home is, a taste of what we consider Southern and give them a restaurant with tradition in it,” James Petrakis says. “Even though Florida is a state with strong history and tradition, it has always been looked at as a transient and tourist state.”

The restaurant has been well-received by locals and beyond, with the co-owners successfully serving up that contemporary Southern style while earning semifinalist status as nominees for the James Beard “Best Chef-South” Award this year.

Conveniently, a Southern Pride electronic smoker that was built into the kitchen when they purchased the 6,000 square foot space, formerly a barbecue eatery, fits in perfectly with Petrakis’ vision of offering Southern food with a modern twist.

“There is a lot of outdoor cooking in Florida, and we offer a very rustic approach to cooking, using smoke to enhance ingredients,” Petrakis says.

For example, Cask & Larder chefs often add smoke to vegetables, as in their okra side dish, where the okra is hard charred in a frying pan (so it doesn’t have the typical slimy texture, Petrakis says), and accompanied by tomatoes that have been smoked for about three hours, Salty Dog Cheddar, and chili flakes.

“The smoked tomatoes really enhance the flavor of the okra, and guests have been turned on to okra,” Petrakis says.

Another example is adding smoked beets to salads, which “takes the salad to a different level and smoked items pair very well with beer,” Petrakis says.

Not that Cask & Larder is focusing solely on vegetables. The menu is heavy into pork, seafood, beef, poultry, and rabbit, and regularly features “low country boil dinners” that highlight smoked whole fish, oysters, and other seafood.


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