FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE RITZ-CARLTON ORLANDO, GRANDE LAKES ANNOUNCES NEW RESTAURANT: HIGHBALL & HARVEST
Opening in early September 2014 at this luxury Orlando resort, Highball & Harvest reinvigorates the casual dining experience at The Ritz-Carlton and features Southern comfort cuisine & design
Orlando, Fla. – July 10, 2014 – Orlando’s luxury resort leader, Grande Lakes Orlando is pleased to announce the September opening of Highball & Harvest (“H&H”) at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Comprised of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes continues its dedication to farm-to-fork dining and authentic, local experiences with the opening of this innovative new casual dining concept, which will feature interactive dining, unexpected design, handcrafted cocktails, and a creative, playful menu.
“We are thrilled to welcome Highball & Harvest to our resort in September,” says Jon McGavin, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. “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 Low Country and Cajun-inspired cuisine from young, 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-square-foot Whisper Creek Farm, which opened in October 2012. Ingredients from local farms and Whisper Creek Farm will be specifically noted on the restaurant’s seasonal, playful menu. 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 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. The central Florida resort’s thirty-strong pastry team, that works magic baking everything from scratch, has created one of the restaurant’s most exceptional offerings: Parker House Rolls made from old-world Khorasan wheat, served up 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 Chef Mark Jeffers, Chef de Cuisine for Highball & Harvest. “We are thrilled to showcase our kitchen’s extraordinary creativity in one of the first Ritz-Carlton casual dining outlets of its kind.”
The thirst-quenching heart of the restaurant will be an interactive cocktail table, where knowledgeable bar chefs muddle ingredients while instructing over carefully curated and personalized cocktail classes. H&H will offer a hand-crafted, seasonal cocktail menu—signature cocktails include: 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 bar side 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 Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes marks a series of improvements and renovations to the family resort in the coming year. This fall, JW Marriott Orlando will open The Kitchen spotlighting charcuterie, Whisper Creek Farm ingredients, and beer from the JW Marriott Orlando Nano Brewery also opening this fall. Upcoming plans include a new look for the 40,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa that continues to win top accolades year after year as well as well as completion of the hotel’s meeting space renovation.