EatDrinkJax.com shares their interview with restaurateur Jonathan Insetta of Black Sheep Restaurant.
Talking with Restaurateur Jonathan Insetta of Black Sheep Restaurant
1. Tell us about Black Sheep.
Black Sheep features hand crafted, American regional comfort food, with a touch of New World influences from South and Central America.
2. By "regional" do you mean Southern?
You'll see major influences from the South but you'll also see Northeast and West Coast. We also do things like our Ceviche which is done in a traditional Peruvian style. So, it's mostly regional American, but with snippets of New World stuff.
3. How does the food at Black Sheep compare to Chew or Orsay?
They have the same soul and core philosophy as far as the artisanal aspects of it. So at its core its the same but the difference is that Black Sheep has a more approachable price point. We're also more American. Orsay is French but does have some Southern influences. We see that in our Lobster Pot Pie - it's what's around us and what's influenced us. But the core of Orsay is French and the core of Black Sheep is regional American. We believe a lot in regional cuisine. We use purveyors like Benton's, who make our country ham. They make a very old school American style ham that's found in areas like Tennessee and West Virginia. We really believe in them. That type of ham has been around for a long time, over 100 years.
Blacksheep Restaurant. Photo courtesy Jensen Hande Photography.
4. Who's the audience for Black Sheep?
It's for the modern eater. Our clientele is extremely diverse. We get everybody, from young kids to old blue bloods. We wanted to cast a wide net to get our cuisine out to a wide demographic of people. The fast casual lunch we have Mondays through Fridays is built for speed and efficiency. In today's economic climate people may not have as much time for lunch and they may not have the budget they had before. We want to be able to get them out at a good price point with a quality of product they typically wouldn't see at that price.
5. Is the weekend brunch done as a table service?
Yes. But the price point is designed to be more approachable. There are some lunch options on the Brunch to make sure we include that audience as well.
6. What attracted you to your location?
I used to live in 5 Points when I started culinary school here in Jacksonville. I've always believed in 5 Points as a Mecca for the youth culture in Jacksonville. It has its own Bohemian persona. I just felt that we would fit in great with the concept we were looking at.