Just north of the chaos of Disney World and throngs of tourists is a community of Floridians enjoying their lives in an area spackled with nostalgia. Amongst all of the old oak trees, historic Spanish style homes, and Rollins College is the three year old gastro pub, The Ravenous Pig.
Owners Julie and James Petrakis, Culinary Institute of America trained, opened this restaurant with the idea to pair beer, wine and food. Not a new concept, I know, but when executed well, it is practically a novelty.
The gastro pub seems to be the current trend in new restaurants. Diners not only want microbrewery beer but also want to enjoy a well paired meal. Crazy diners! Could they ask for anything else? Well, truthfully, this is a natural progression as interest in microbreweries spiked in the past few years, and while bar food has it’s place, it is not enough.
Feasting on a lunch of Smoked Pork Cuban sandwich paired with shoe string pommes frites (that I could swear were fried in some sort of delicious animal fat) and the server’s recommendation, the Pub Burger, we were not disappointed. Between ordering and the food our server was kind enough to not only walk us through the menu, but also review dinner options, and specialty drinks that often include homemade sour, or bacon infused bourdon. The server also answered the many questions I peppered him with in regards to organic produce, and beef. Overall the server was an outstanding representation of the restaurant and I was impressed.
The restaurant menu offered a variety of options for every diner, but specifically the diner who might want a brew beyond Budweiser and chicken wings. The restaurant interior was pleasing to the eye with interesting ceilings and a beautiful bar. Prices range from $10-$30, and anyone who has boiled peanuts and homemade pumpkin tortellini for fall on the same menu is ok with me!
Trend or not, good food, informed and friendly staff and a wide beer selection will keep diners returning to the gastro pub, The Ravenous Pig.