Black Sheep Restaurant

June 22, 2013 16 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article shares their interview with restaurateur Jonathan Insetta of Black Sheep Restaurant.

Rooftop patio. Photo courtesy Jensen Hande Photography.

7. Why did you build your own restaurant from scratch rather than taking over a place that was already built out?

I've never liked paying rent. I didn't expect the opportunity I have here for another 10 years down the road in my career. I was lucky enough to have it and to be able to build up on the property. The property is owned by my family. The idea was to be able to maximize the footprint and to pay for a mortgage instead of just paying rent.

8. Did you always have the idea of the rooftop bar or did that come later on?

That came out of looking at the space and trying to maximize the usability of the footprint. We knew it was something we really wanted to do. We weren't sure it would work from an engineering or legal point of view, but we thought it would be ideal for Jacksonville. I did my externship at a restaurant down in Miami and rooftop bars are extremely popular down there. The environment we had here really leant itself to that setup.

9. Was the idea of the rooftop bar to be a place for drinks before and after dinner or was it designed as a standalone space?

The idea was twofold. It was meant to be a place where you can sit down to eat. It's full service food up there. We engineered that from the beginning. We wanted the space to be an eating area from the beginning, which is why we built the dumb waiter into our plans. We also wanted to have a place where you could go to enjoy a drink or happy hour.

At Orsay we have two distinct spaces, each with its own personality. We have a more feminine, relaxed, elegant space up front and a younger, more modern space in the back. Those two spaces attract different clientele, allowing for a broader audience. In the same way, we thought that having two spaces in 5 Points would allow for the two audiences - those who want to dine outside when the weather is beautiful, and those who just want to sit out for a drink. The environment up there is gorgeous, especially when the weather is great.

Rooftop patio. Photo courtesy Jensen Hande Photography.

10. Will the rooftop area be open year round, or just during the warmer months?

That's the plan. We're not open up there for lunch so far. We're really learning as we go. As we go through the summer months we'll see if it's something we want to keep open for a longer period. At night it's really gorgeous, with the breeze up there, even when it's 85 degrees during the day. We'll need to see how it goes and if it's feasible to keep it open longer. That's something we're learning about as we go.

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