Friday, August 31, 2012

Take a sneak peek inside the new Cask & Larder restaurant in Winter Park

For Schmidt Design Studio, an interior design firm specializing in restaurants and bars, the challenge of creating the look and feel for Cask & Larder, a new restaurant in Winter Park, was putting the owners' unique imprint on a landmark space.

Photo credit: Schmidt Design Studio
"The old place was a longtime tavern and was very dark," said Anna Schmidt, CEO and principal interior designer of Schmidt Design Studio. "We lightened the interior with a crisper, brighter palette and surprising design elements. Patrons will go in and say this isn't even the same place!"

Cask & Larder, a restaurant and craft brewery owned by husband and wife team James and Julie Petrakis, is set to open in September 2012 at Orange and Fairbanks avenues. Tracy Lindskoog will serve as the managing partner and general manager for the restaurant. Schmidt Design Studio previously worked on The Ravenous Pig, the Petrakis' first restaurant, also in Winter Park.

Cask & Larder is a wonderful blend of new and old. It was requested by the property owners that some of the interior elements be preserved in the 6,000-square-foot space, including a fireplace behind Cask & Larder's kitchen bar, antique bottles set atop a railroad-tie beam in the main dining room, and old cypress wall panels.   

Photo credit: Schmidt Design Studio

"The architecture of the building worked in our favor with the style of design we wanted to implement, and we are using butcher block tables and mixes of industrial as well as southern style lighting." Schmidt said. "It's almost a complete transformation of the aesthetics, feeling and vibe from what was there before. This is going to be such a departure with menu and style of dining.
We helped James and Julie to develop an interior for an entirely different brand."

The design of the 150-seat restaurant and brewery provides patrons with a sense of casual Southern elegance with white panes of weathered oak and whitewashed shutters. The concept was drawn from some of the favorite eateries James and Julie have visited in Charleston, Atlanta, and other stops along their travels. James has described the menu as "farm style" with everything à la carte so that diners can create their own meal from seasonal vegetables, seafood, and meat. Dennis Bernard, Chef de Cuisine, will work with the majority of foodstuffs from the South, and much will be locally grown.

Photo credit: Schmidt Design Studio
"Getting the chance to work with the Petrakises again is an honor," Schmidt said. "This restaurant is in the old Harper's Tavern building, which is a landmark in Winter Park. We used the building's original history and integrity in our design concept."

Cask represents the specialty homemade brews that will be a staple at the restaurant. Larder is a Southern name for a kitchen pantry.  In reference to the name, the restaurant is split into two areas - a brewery that houses the main bar, and the one-of-a-kind dining room that will act as the centerpiece of the establishment.

Photo credit: Schmidt Design Studio
Schmidt and her team put special emphasis on the restaurant's brewery in the main bar. The Brew Master, Ron Raike; has a multitude of specialty beer available at all times. The industrial, stainless steel brew tanks are showcased behind glass curtain walls allowing guests to watch the entire process. 

Behind the brewery bar, a custom draft system is set against an antique mirror with the Cask & Larder logo for an authentic backdrop, and reclaimed  decorative millwork insets are used in the face of the bar. The brewery bar offers customers a spot to stand or sit with a combination of bar-height and pub-height tables, making socializing a key component of the space. This portion of the restaurant was given a masculine feeling, using a mixture of dark wood paneling, rustic oak, and customized millwork detailing.

Drop ceiling features with decorative crown moldings float above the focal point of the dining area of "see and be seen" booths, as well as over the show-kitchen portion of the dining room. This "kitchen" will showcase the preparation of various types of oysters, as well as other specialty items. Vintage industrial pendant lamps hang above the kitchen bar, and other antique lighting elements add unique touches in the main dining area.

A custom-made community table will seat up to 12 guests and sits near a large window with a direct view into the main kitchen of the establishment. This feature gives guests a sneak peek into the culinary expertise of the Cask & Larder kitchen. The sophisticated color palette of the dining room is complete with whites and teals, rich woods, and custom-made barstools as well as millwork embellishments to encompass the creativity of the space. 

Schmidt Design Studio has worked with a number of other national restaurants and companies, including Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Seasons 52, Red Lobster, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Ruby Tuesday and FOX Sports Grill. The firm also does design work for upscale independent restaurants, including the restaurant for NBA star Vince Carter's Restaurant in Daytona Beach, Fla.

For more on Schmidt Design Studio, visit

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