Cask & Larder

Just a short hop and a skip over the train tracks from downtown Winter Park on Fairbanks Ave is where you’ll find the Cask & Larder. Since opening its doors in September of 2012, C&L has been creating exceptional southern-sourced seasonal dishes, brewing its own insanely good beers, and living up to its reputation as the epicenter of Orlando’s culinary scene. James Beard nominated Chefs/Owners James and Julie Petrakis have created a restaurant that continues to garner national attention, while still maintaining its friendly neighborhood feel.

The interior design of Cask and Larder is split into a few sections to suit every visitor. For the casual visitor or while waiting for a table, the bar is a great first stop. The mildly lit bar features a long main bar with a mixture of small tables and family style seating. The glass windows at the end of the bar give you a glimpse into the brew room where brew masters are usually hard at work. The dining room has plenty of great seating options including great views of the kitchen at the large community table, seating at the oyster bar with the stone hearth oven, and a private table available to reserve in the brewery.

We started off our visit with a flight of beers and cocktails. The especially refreshing C&L Lemonade was made with a locally distilled vodka, ginger beer, and house made hibiscus lemonade. The beer flight provided a sample of 5 of the house made craft brews from lightest to darkest. The beer selection changes often, so make sure to check out their online menu for the details. You can also purchase growlers and crowlers from the shop next door at Swine & Sons.

The meal kicked off with a couple of my favorite dishes, including the Smoked Chicken Wings, Pimento Cheese, Waterkist Tomato Salad, and Kale Salad. The wings are smoky, lightly charred, sweet, and just a little messy. The Waterkist Tomatoes are ripe and sweet with the house made salsa verde and ricotta. The king of the starters though is the Pimento Cheese with ham jam. Since opening, diners have been raving about this cheesy spread paired up with collard bread. I order this every time with no exceptions, and I recommend you do the same.

Dinner consisted of the Sweet Potato Cavatelli and the Pork and Beans. The Cavatelli pasta, similar to gnocchi, was cooked perfectly and served up with arugula sausage, romanesco, lardo bread crumbs, charred broccoli and a pistachio butter. The Pork and Beans is deceptively simple sounding, but is a masterpiece of pork preparation. The extra tender pork shoulder is paired with baked navy beans, cornbread crumble, cippolini onions and a smoked slaw. On the plate is a small patch of coffee mustard that really help the pork flavors sing.

Cask & Larder is at the top of my list of places that I have to take my out of town friends when they come to visit. The menu changes based on the availability of quality local ingredients, so you’ll always find something new to try. The staff at the front of the house are always welcoming, and their knowledge of the menu and the techniques behind how dishes are prepared is impressive. I highly recommend you make a reservation today and experience what happens when award winning chefs make their dreams a reality.

SIDE NOTES : Brunch is just as well thought out as the rest of the menu, served up Saturday and Sunday from 10:30-3:00pm.