“Highball & Harvest” will feature “Southern comfort cuisine and design”
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes has announced plans to open a new restaurant, Highball & Harvest (H&H), in September. The new venue will continue the resort property’s “dedication to farm-to-fork dining and authentic, local experiences” with the opening of the casual-dining concept, which will feature interactive dining, handcrafted cocktails, and a “creative, playful menu.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Highball & Harvest to our resort in September,” says Jon McGavin, the property’s General Manager. “The opening of a brand-new restaurant represents not only the next era in Grande Lakes Orlando’s 11-year evolution, but a redefinition of the casual dining and bar concept for The Ritz-Carlton brand.”
Featuring seasonal lowcountry and Cajun-inspired cuisine from Southern-raised Chef de Cuisine Mark Jeffers, H&H will offer hyper-local dishes infused with Floridian citrus and ingredients from nearby purveyors, as well as the resort’s own 7,000-sq. ft. Whisper Creek Farm, which opened in October 2012. Ingredients from the local farms and Whisper Creek Farm will be specifically noted on the restaurant’s seasonal menu, the resort says.
Combining rustic authenticity with modern Ritz-Carlton refinement that reflects the resort’s Central Florida locale (an agricultural industry epicenter), H&H’s railroad-inspired design will feature communal seating, a large bar/lounge area, a raw oyster bar (with chefs shucking oysters by hand), and custom, hand- painted dishware.
Signature dishes will include H&H Pig-n-Potatoes, a decadent, all-day breakfast dish; house-made beef jerky; dips with pickled veggies presented in a rustic tackle box, and a signature H&H Hot Sauce made from Whisper Creek Farm peppers.
In addition, the resort’s pastry team has created one of the restaurant’s most exceptional offerings: scratch-made Parker House Rolls from old-world Khorasan wheat, served warm and moist with significantly less gluten than typical bread.
“The dishes we create at Highball & Harvest are designed to give restaurant-goers a sense of nostalgia,” says Jeffers. “We are thrilled to showcase our kitchen’s extraordinary creativity in one of the first Ritz-Carlton casual dining outlets of its kind.”
The heart of the restaurant will include an interactive cocktail table, where knowledgeable bar chefs will muddle ingredients while instructing over carefully curated and personalized cocktail classes. H&H will offer a hand-crafted, seasonal cocktail menu featuring signature cocktails including: the Moonshine “Whistle-Stop,” the refreshing “Green Acres” with house ginger beer and jasmine tea, and a “Cranberry Cobbler” mixed with honey from the resort’s on-site apiaries.
Most cocktails will be served on the rocks with hand-carved ice, sculpted barside with a Japanese ice saw and often infused with herbs and citrus from Whisper Creek Farm. H&H will also feature Central Florida’s largest selection of wines from the cask, carefully selected by Advanced Sommelier Kris Soto, to ensure perfect temperature control and freshness.
The opening of H&H marks a series of improvements and renovations to be made at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes property in the coming year. This fall, the JW Marriott Orlando will open The Kitchen, spotlighting charcuterie, Whisper Creek Farm ingredients, and beer from the JW Marriott Orlando Nano Brewery, which is also opening this fall.