May 1, 2017
WWSB My Suncoast
SARASOTA Co., Fla (WWSB) -- A fire last year caused a local restaurant to close its doors but now it is back open for business.
JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe experienced a fire in June that severely damaged the building. That same fire also destroyed two warehouses.
The restaurant's owner originally was hoping to reopen by September, but the cafe reopened Wednesday.
It's located on South Packinghouse Road in Sarasota. The cafe is open for lunch and dinner.
May 1, 2017
WWSB My Suncoast ABC7
July 31, 2015
Ticket Sarasota Chef Talk Article
Chef Talk: J.R. Garraus of J.R.'s Old Packinghouse Cafe
By Abby Weingarten , Herald-Tribune
/ Monday, July 6, 2015
J.R. Garraus has enjoyed longtime renown for his indulgent burgers and live music lineup at J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Café. But what some may not know is that this chef/restaurateur has been a student of culinary arts since high school and that he has upheld a decades-long commitment to using fresh, local ingredients. Today, his café (which he bought in 1999) is a family-run staple in Sarasota and a go-to spot for fried catfish, paella, Cuban sandwiches and flan.
Q: How did your culinary career begin and what inspired the path?
A: In high school, I studied culinary arts and had a great time. It came easy to me because I grew up with so much delicious food at home. Then I went to Johnson & Wales and had the same studies at a different level. I made the dean’s list in college and I knew the restaurant business was my dream come true. I finally had found my passion. Cooking and taking care of people is something I enjoyed and could get accolades doing.
Q: What are some of your signature dishes and what makes them unique?
A: I remember cooking for my aunt and uncle, making Steak Diane, when I was still in high school (they loved it and they said a chef was born). My burgers are juicy and plump, and I use ingredients that are fresh from the garden or straight from the farm as much as possible. I also love Cuban sandwiches; the crunch from the fresh Cuban bread pressed with the cheese, pork, ham and pickle come together to make it a perfect dish.
Q: How does your restaurant promote freshness and local ingredients?
A: We just like serving good, fresh food. The new term is “clean food,” which is crazy as a “new” term because restaurant guests have wanted this all along. Why would you make anything else? We use Detwiler’s produce. Sometimes, twice a day, I go over to Detwiler’s with my pull wagon; it is right next door to the Packinghouse, and they have fresh ingredients and beautiful seafood.
Q: How do you take those fresh ingredients and make them count?
A: We pride ourselves on quality, through and through. We make our own seasoning mixes from the core products like salt, pepper, garlic and onion—basic but simple, and fresh spices make such a difference. I buy fresh jumbo chicken wings only. We do not re-fry, even if it takes longer not to, because it definitely makes the taste.
Q: What are some facts about your café that people might not know?
A: The burger patties are handmade with unprocessed meat that is never frozen and always handled individually rather than straight out of a box. Also, my aunt is here almost every day making paella, empanadas, and Cuban black beans and yellow rice. Fresh ingredients make all the difference and so does a whole lot of love.
J.R.’S CHICKEN WITH YELLOW RICE (serves 10)
5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2½ pounds parboiled rice
4 suntan peppers (seeded, stemmed and cut into cubes)
4 medium-sized yellow onions, cut and cubed
4 bay leaves
2 ounces fresh garlic, chopped
2 ounces turmeric or ¼ teaspoon saffron
2 ounces complete seasoning or 1 teaspoon dried oregano and basil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon white pepper
4 ounces fresh cilantro, chopped
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 cups water
1½ cups beer (optional)
4 ounces white wine (optional)
Season the chicken with the dry ingredients. Sauté the mixture at medium-to-high heat in olive oil or bacon fat. Add the vegetables and cooked rice. Season to taste. Garnish with green olives, sweet peas and roasted red peppers.
J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Café is at 987 S. Packinghouse Road, Sarasota. 371-9358; packinghousecafe.com.
July 31, 2015
See Sarasota Live
Sarasota Live Music Hotspots
Posted by on December 26, 2013
Searching for a good place to see some live music in Sarasota? Look no further!
Here are a few of our favorite places to enjoy live music in town:
Located on Hillview Street in Sarasota’s Southside Village, the 5 O’clock Club was voted “Best Live Music Venue”! They feature live music 7 nights a week showcasing every genre of music from Blues to Ska, Pop, R&B and Motown. Happy hour is from 12-8pm daily and smoking can be enjoyed on the patio only.
Mattison’s in Downtown Sarasota is a chef owned restaurant that shops local to support the Sarasota community. No matter which night you choose to dine at Mattison’s City Grille, you will enjoy and be entertained by their live music. The food is also renown—whether you want pizza or burgers, fish or lamb. The variety is wonderful and anything you try is sure to be delicious.
Referred to by locals as “SKOB”, the Siesta Key Oyster Bar in Siesta Key Village is the place to be for good music and great food. Every day of the week, live bands are slotted to play at the Siesta Key Oyster Bar. Want to show Sarasota your musical talents? Open Mic Night at SKOB is each and every Tuesday. Want to watch the game? SKOB is broadcasting every game from Sunday’s NFL Ticket onto their 15 televisions. Nothing is lacking at this local favorite, so go and check it out!
Located on South Packinghouse Drive in Sarasota, the Old Packinghouse Café is well known as a great place to enjoy live music, cold beer and great food. This restaurant got its name because the building was used as a packinghouse for local celery in the 1920s! They feature great live acoustic folk, blues and bluegrass music every Monday-Saturday. The food is also good! From wings to sandwiches and country fried steaks to salads, you are sure to find something delicious to eat at the Old Packinghouse Café.
Located on McIntosh Road in Sarasota, the White Buffalo Saloon is a great place to take the family during the day and, at night, it is a great place to hang out and dance with your friends. The White Buffalo Saloon features concerts every Saturday with live music. They also have D.Js and a state of the art jukebox, which allows you to be the DJ for the day! Besides the concerts and music, other popular events at the White Buffalo include line dancing lessons, Buc’s Football nights, and much more.
March 22, 2013
ABC7 My Suncoast
Located off Cattleman Road, J.R’s Old Packinghouse Café is what they call themselves the quintessential dive with great Cuban and American food.
The Packinghouse was exactly that, packinghouses for the celery fields out east of I-75.Jr. is a proclaimed chef in his own right and with a degree from Johnson and Wales School of Culinary Arts.It’s a lively joint with pass the hat music and a Cuban sandwich and burger that beats most places.The inside skinny: Friday nights are always packed with good Blue Grass music so plan to arrive a little early.
JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe987 S. Packinghouse Rd
Sarasota, FL 34232 941-371-9358