BY MARIE PULEO | LIGHTHOUSE POINT NEWS REPORTER
Like many local businesses struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Papa’s Raw Bar in Lighthouse Point has had to adapt to survive. Still, it has also found opportunities amidst the challenges.
Papa’s Raw Bar is getting ready to unveil The Barrel Room, a new lounge featuring “elevated cocktails” and an oyster bar. It will also feature a charcuterie menu, said Troy Ganter, co-owner of Papa’s Raw Bar.
The Barrel Room will be tucked inside what used to be the back dining room of Papa Hughie’s Seafood World, now known as the Fresh Market at Papa’s Raw Bar. It was conceived as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which “forced us to reinvent ourselves,” said Ganter.
Ganter’s parents, Joy and Hugh Ganter (known as “Papa Hughie”), opened Seafood World in the Main Street Plaza almost 45 years ago as a fish market with a restaurant component. The family business has now been consolidated into just one restaurant—Papa’s Raw Bar—open for lunch and dinner, plus the Fresh Market and The Barrel Room.
“We are not going to go back to having two full restaurants with two huge menus next to each other, and 110 employees,” said Troy Ganter.
The Fresh Market has been completely revamped for the arrival of The Barrel Room.
Due to the challenges of COVID-19, The Barrel Room will start with limited hours in September, and will also host complimentary private tastings for six to eight guests at a time by invitation.
The private tastings will be like “a customer appreciation experience,” said Ganter.
Once the pandemic subsides, The Barrel Room will have a full opening, and will be able to seat about 40 people.
In the meantime, the private tastings will be an opportunity to discover what’s to come, said Ganter. They will include the elevated cocktails, oysters and charcuterie, from a specially prepared menu.
“It’s all going to be new and cutting edge,” said Ganter. “Everything’s elevated; there’s nothing like it in the area.”
Ganter said The Barrel Room’s signature drink is called “Papa’s Old-Fashioned,” because it’s made with Papa’s Pilar 24-year-old rum, which is produced by the Hemingway Rum Company in Key West, and because “it’s kind of a joke that my dad’s old-fashioned.”
When making a Papa’s Old-Fashioned, the mixologist uses a handheld torch to burn maple wood, and then a glass is placed over the wood to capture the smoke essence and bring out different notes in the drink.
Other cocktails at The Barrel Room will fuse fruits, herbs and spirits to create unusual flavor combinations. There will also be a selection of fine wines and local craft beers.
The talent behind The Barrel Room will be Ganter, chef Chad Wyrosdick (known as “ChadDaddy”) and managers Katrina Ferreira and Matt Smith (nicknamed “LongBranch”).
The Barrel Room’s name is a reference to the wooden barrels used for aging rum, beer and other types of alcohol. Many of the tables in the room will be barrels that come from the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park and the Hemingway Rum Company.
Ganter said “every drink and every dish is going to be so detail-oriented” that he anticipates patrons will be inspired to take a picture of their barrel top and share it with friends.
“It’s going to be a unique venue,” he said.
As The Barrel Room brand expands, Ganter anticipates creating a spin-off of The Barrel Room in a larger, separate venue where there would be live music and a wood-fired oven, “but it’s all going to start here in the Main Street Plaza in Lighthouse Point.” For updates on The Barrel Room, visit https://papasrawbar.com.