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Polite Pig at Disney Springs – Dining Review

If you listen to the WDW Opinion podcast you’ve probably heard me talk about how much I love the changes at Disney Springs. They’ve been many years in the making but the new restaurants, stores and atmosphere make Disney Springs a must visit destination on any trip to Disney World. In fact on a recent trip, I found myself heading there for dinner and a walk almost every single night. And I wasn’t staying close by! While we are still waiting to get some final new elements, the restaurants that have already popped up have been quite the hit so far. The Polite Pig included.

The Polite Pig ushered in a new wave of fast casual dining that was missing from Walt Disney World. And really there are a lot of “firsts” when it comes to this place that might get overlooked.

But first, let’s dive into the backstory of this place.

Owned by local chef/restaurateurs, James and Julie Petrakis, Disney was applauded when they announced that a new venue from the Petrakises would be coming to Disney Springs. They also own the immensely popular Ravenous Pig in Winter Park, Florida (just outside downtown Orlando) and Cask & Larder. The latter of which you might be familiar with if you fly Southwest into MCO Airport (this is the only location of Cask & Larder and can be found on the Terminal A side of the Airport in the gates 100-129 section). Knowing the success of the Petrakises, Disney saw this as an opportunity to bring in an established culinary team while also appealing to local tastebuds.

This announcement was important for two reasons. One, it showed Disney’s dedication to the greater Orlando area as a whole. And two it really helped solidify the fact that Disney Springs is a place trying to bring in Orlando locals. Opening a restaurant from an already well known local culinary team can accomplish just that.

Located at the bottom of the Lime Garage escalators this area of Disney Springs can be among the busiest during peak times. No reservations are required since it is fast casual. You stand in line, place your order at the register and pick a seat while you wait for your food to be delivered to you. Having no reservations allows it to be open to more walk-up guests which I think is always a good thing at Disney World. But at those peak times, the line for this restaurant can get pretty long.

The bar offers a alternative to waiting in line.
The bar offers a alternative to waiting in line.

Here’s a tip I was able to experience on my most recent solo trip there. While this is a fast-casual restaurant, the Polite Pig still has a full-service bar. It’s half inside and half outside which means it has plenty of room to pull up a chair and grab a drink and even a bite to eat. Those seats are first come first served but, you have access to the full food menu and the ability to keep a tab open with the bartender.

Their flight comes served in a dapper looking pig.
Their flight comes served in a dapper looking pig.

Another venture the Petrakises have gotten into is craft brewing. They’ve even opened up a brewery at their Ravenous Pig location. They bring in beers from there to serve in Disney Springs. This is a welcome addition as you get some diverse and unique beer offerings to select from. A flight of their beers is a good way to get your feet wet and comes organized in a dapper looking pig.

Their beer flight rundown.
Their beer flight rundown.
Start with their beer flight and then pick your fav for a full pint.
Start with their beer flight and then pick your fav for a full pint.

Now, this is first and foremost a BBQ joint. If you don’t like BBQ they have other options but I’d recommend you come here for the meats. They have sandwiches and salads but like most BBQ spots you have the ability to order a specific meat with sides. If you go that route you get jalapeño cornbread, signature polite slaw and choice of 1 market side in addition to the protein you select. You can substitute the slaw for a market side at a $4 upcharge. I went the meat route and selected turkey. That might seem like an unusual selection but I love me some smoked turkey. If you’ve never had it I encourage you to give it a shot next time you’re at your local BBQ place if it’s an option.

The current full menu for your zooming pleasure.
The current full menu for your zooming pleasure.

Let’s start with the turkey itself. It was excellent. Moist but flavorful and I never got sick of eating it. Which I think is an important feature in BBQ. I love how there is an array of meats to choose from just like there were an array of sauces to top the meat with. My personal favorite is the Thomas’s Southern Gold which is a mustard and vinegar based sauce that is actually thick, not runny like other vinegar based sauces.

My selection of turkey, mac and cheese, watermelon feta salad and jalapeño cornbread

Moving onto the sides I upgraded from the slaw to the Mac and Cheese. This was sublime. I would say that this might be the only Mac and Cheese that rivals Jiko’s (I still give the upper hand to Jiko though). But it’s great. Creamy but has a nice crunch with breadcrumbs on top.

Now my other side was the watermelon and feta salad. I consider myself a watermelon and feta salad connoisseur. My friends, I’ve tried many a watermelon and feta salad in my day. Let me just say this was one of the worst. It wasn’t awful, I ate it all, it just wasn’t great. I probably should’ve guessed considering this is a quick-service style place. So the sides are premade and waiting. That feature does not lend itself well to watermelon. This, in particular, had a slimy texture to it. But again, not awful.

One of the unsung heroes of the show was the jalapeño cornbread muffin. If I could buy these by the dozen I would! It was sweet but every once and awhile you got a little kick to remind you jalapeño was in there. I was left wanting a couple more of these bad boys.

Next time I go I’ll be inclined to try one of the sandwiches which also looked great. Or if I have an able-bodied companion with me I might convince them to get the Butcher Board for 2. It comes in at $39 but you get pork shoulder, smoked chicken, brisket & bbq cheddar sausage with slaw, house pickles, 2 cornbreads and a choice of 2 market sides. A duo sitting next to me got it and they were delighted with their selection.

Overall I think Polite Pig is fantastic. Great quality and quantity of food at a reasonable Disney World price point. The fast-casual aspect is a welcome addition to Disney Springs but the ability to sit at the bar and indulge in craft beers will make any adult happy. Unique offerings like online ordering and catering can appeal to both locals or the guest staying at Saratoga Springs, Old Key West or the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels who just want to pick something up to enjoy in their room.

This has become a new favorite destination in an already crowded Disney Springs culinary space.

Have you ever eaten at the Polite Pig? Head over to our WDW Opinioneers Facebook Group to let us know what you think of it.


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