San Ann’s new destination for a night on the town

Local Public House and Provisions offers casual dining atmosphere with local goods for sale.

Posted by Meaghan Habuda on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Local sits next to the Pancho’s Villa Mexican restaurant along Pennsylvania Avenue. - LARRY BIDDLE
  • Larry Biddle
  • Local sits next to the Pancho’s Villa Mexican restaurant along Pennsylvania Avenue.

More than 70 guests were invited to preview the fare at restaurateur Curtis Beebe’s latest project, Local Public House and Provisions, on Tuesday evening.

Beebe, who co-owns Dade City’s Pearl in the Grove, said he’s happy with the restaurant’s look and the overall feel of the space. Pearl’s farm-to-table ethics will be integrated into the more relaxed, restaurant-bar setting at Local.

The same vendors that supply to Pearl, like Providence Cattle Company and Palmetto Creek Farms, are being used, and Beebe said the new restaurant’s namesake is about where the food comes from. There will be locally sourced, fresh ingredients — everything from produce to protein — in Local's dishes, but for half the price ($20-25 per person compared to $40-$45 at Pearl).

During the preview event, Local showcased cheeses, oysters, shrimp, brownies and more. Katie Brodie, Pearl’s sous chef who will train the Local kitchen staff, grilled beef and pork sliders in the back, talking to guests in between.

Regional drafts and craft brews from around the bay, along with keg wine, were also featured. Beebe said purchasing wine by the keg is a win-win for him and the suppliers. He’s able to sell a good glass of wine for $6, and no waste is involved.

Local’s other menu offerings will include a regional cheese and charcuterie plate ($15), veggie red beans and rice or a version with andouille sausage ($7), catfish and chips ($12), a chicken liver po' boy ($12) and a fried green tomato BLT ($13).

Gina Cavaliero and Tonya Penick, co-owners of Green Acre Aquaponics in Brooksville who have worked with Beebe for about four years, said Pearl’s concept meshed well with their business.

“Curtis embodied everything we wanted to represent,” Cavaliero said.

When Beebe asked if Green Acre could accommodate Local, Cavaliero continued, she and Penick said “of course.”

Depending on the season, their aquaponics farm grows lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, celery, green beans and more for Beebe’s cuisine. The duo agreed that Local will bring something to the area that was lacking.

“There’s nothing close to this kinda place (here),” Penick said.

Local is located off Pennsylvania Avenue in San Antonio, Florida, situated in an aged brick building with a pointed roof just across the street from City Hall.

The restaurant is curious to diners leaving the Pancho’s Villa Mexican noshery next door. Before hopping in their cars, they scope out the block’s new tenant by squinting their eyes and peering into its front windows.

“The funny part is that we’ve built a space we can hang out at,” Beebe said, noting that he and Rebecca used to wonder where to spend their days off.

That won’t be a problem any longer.

Walking past the bar and through the dining room, into a doorway along the far wall, guests will find the provisions aspect of the building. Beebe said Local will package wine, beer or any local produce it wants to sell in that half of the restaurant.

“It’ll be a little shop with stuff that we’re selling in both [restaurants],” he said.

Wine that Pearl uses at its monthly wine dinners, for example, will be sold in the provisions area.

With a tentative opening date of July 4, Local is about “tying in what’s around us,” according to Beebe. Withlacoochee reclaimed logs even top the tables and bar counter.

There's plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and he said he wants the space to become somewhere that adults can enjoy and hang out at for the afternoon or evening.

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