I previously wrote about the lounges available at Orlando Airport. However the one section that does not have any lounge nearby is gates 100-129, which service Southwest, Alaska and Virgin America. All hope is not lost, though, because this section of the airport is home to Cask & Larder. I’d put this dining establishment up on the list of the best airport restaurants out there, anywhere.
For those of you not up to date on the Orlando restaurant scene, the James Beard Award nominated husband and wife tandem of James and Julie Petrakis opened their first restaurant, The Ravenous Pig, in Winter Park, Florida (just a few miles north of Downtown Orlando) in 2007. The Ravenous Pig has served sustainable food created with passion and prepared using ingredients sourced in Florida. They’ve dazzled diners and earned critical acclaim for their thoughtful creations inspired by the best seasonal foods the Sunshine State has to offer.
There was quite a buzz when they announced they were taking over a restaurant down the road, previously a BBQ place, and opening a new concept called Cask & Larder. Taking advantage of the smoker already on site, they planned on featuring House Cured & Smoked Meats and Craft Beers brewed on the premises. While the restaurant was great, it was not a good fit for the large space it inhabited. Eventually, The Ravenous Pig moved from its original location to the larger Cask & Larder space and it was announced that Cask & Larder would be moving to the Orlando Airport.
Jump forward to the opening of Cask and Larder at the airport. It took over a space previously inhabited by a really bad Mexican restaurant and did a total renovation of the main area of the terminal. The Cask & Larder area now consists of a grab and go section, table seating for meals and a bar area that looks over the tarmac. It’s truly an amazing design that takes full advantage of the natural light available to transform the area into what feels like an outdoor space,
Enough about the history…what about the food?!?! The menu is based on comfort foods with southern and barbecue influence. Some of the menu items from the previous Cask & Larder location as well as items from The Ravenous Pig have made it over to the airport.
To start off our meal, we ordered some drinks. From prior experience, I know they make a great Gin & Tonic (at The Ravenous Pig they serve it On Tap) so I went with that and a water. Sharon ordered a Coppertail Wheat Stroke from the draught beer list. We then picked out our meals. Wanting to get a good idea of the different choices available, Sharon went the barbecue platter. That came with pulled pork, sliced brisket and chicken apple sausage with a side of cole slaw and corn bread. I was feeling hungry so I went with the burnt ends meatloaf.
Once you get over the fact you are eating with plastic utensils, the food was really good. The meatloaf was crazy flavorful (but I’m not going to that town of flavor, thank you very much). Sharon let me try some of her BBQ but only a taste as we only finished half of our meals so we could bring home the extra for leftovers. There are some perks of eating at your home airport, after all.
Since we saved room, we decided to try the deserts. Oh, the things we do for the readers of this website.
Sharon had the candied bacon ice cream with shortbread crumble and I had the southern pecan pie (they were all out of the bread pudding. Oh well, next time).
The ice cream looked good but wasn’t bacony enough for bacon ice cream. The pecan pie was good but they wouldn’t be a very good southern restaurant at all if they messed that up.
We had a really good meal at Cask & Larder. It isn’t cheap for comfort foods but you do get good quality for the price you pay. I never would have imagined stopping for dinner at the airport after my flight home but this is a restaurant I’ll make an exception for. I’m not going to make flight arrangements around eating here but if the opportunity is available, we’ll definitely take it. Several of our readers have mentioned the grab & go selections are excellent and nothing like the typical chef salad or ham & cheese croissant places usually offer. When we were there eating, the bar section stayed busy the entire time so either the drinks are good or there was a interesting game on TV.
Have you ever eaten at Cask & Larder in the Orlando Airport? What did you think? Do you have any other airport restaurants that you actually LIKE to eat at? Let us know!
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