I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool omnivore. At least once a month, I’m hitting up some local place for a grilled/BBQ meat item. For that reason, it seems that Polite Pig at Disney Springs would be the perfect place for me. I went shortly after their opening, and wasn’t really impressed — it was okay, but there’s so many options locally, that I felt no need to return. Recently, I ended up over at Disney Springs to see a full-size LEGO Bugatti, and since I hadn’t had lunch, my family decided to give Polite Pig another try. (And yes, I have to include a picture of the Bugatti, because it was amazing!)
Located right as you exit the Lime Garage, Polite Pig offers a variety of sandwiches, BBQ meats, unusual sides, and an abundance of adult beverages including a variety of local beers, cocktails, and an impressive bourbon bar. No question, if you’re looking for drinks, the menu should be one you look at before deciding where to imbibe at Disney Springs.
One challenge to dining at Polite Pig is to find seating. Although tables turn over quickly, and they have crammed every possible table they can fit into the area, during busy times, finding a place to sit is challenging. Even at 2:30 PM on a Saturday, we had to grab the first table we could find and then have someone do recon to find a better place to sit.
For our meal, I ordered the half chicken with a citrus marinade and “Polite rub” and BBQ cauliflower as my side. My husband ordered the citrus rub smoked turkey breast with a side of roasted beets. Still of the kids’ meal age, our daughter ordered chicken tenders, which came with a side of carrots. I also “splurged” and got a fountain drink (as they have root beer with real sugar, a wonderful treat), and we got two desserts — a chocolate chip cookie that has to be seen to be believed and a slice of buttermilk chess pie.
Once we were seated, the food arrived quickly. Although this restaurant is fast-casual, there was staff around to bring us things like wet wipes at the end of the meal and to address any issues. Thankfully, our food was prepared correctly and was fresh. Portion sizes were also good for the adult entrees (and a good value for the half chicken entree), although the kids’ meal was a little small for the price ($9 got you two chicken tenders, two petite carrots with ranch, and a drink).
For my entree, the half chicken, the chicken was wonderfully juicy and had a beautiful coverage of seasoning on the outside. The problem with a dry rub on a chicken is that unless you’re eating the skin, not much flavor transfers to the meat itself. As a result, the chicken was tasty, but not what I would describe as flavorful.
For additional flavor, there’s a variety of sauces available. Mustard-based BBQ isn’t my thing (thank you to my unusual allergies), but the little I dared to sample had the most interesting flavor of the sauces. For the three more “traditional” BBQ sauces, they ranged from “sweet but tolerable” Porter Sauce to the “pass me a soda to cut the sweetness” Sweet Sauce to “I guess this is the spicy one, but it’s still really sweet” Hot BBQ. By far, our table favorite was the BBQ ranch.
My husband’s meal of the turkey was a smaller portion size, but the meat was still quite juicy and prepared well. Although both his meal and mine had brushes of citrus (citrus marinade for mine and a citrus rub for his), neither dish had a huge citrus taste — in fact, aside from the very outer edge of the citrus rub on his, you could leave “citrus” off the description and no one would be the wiser.
For the jalapeno cornbread and the coleslaw, neither one was exceptional. The cornbread had little flavor, and the coleslaw tasted like it was halfway between creamy and vinegar-style. There’s an option on the menu to pay $4 to swap the coleslaw out for another side — without question, it would be $4 well spent.
So where’s the omnivore’s dilemma? Well, if I’m going to a smokehouse or BBQ place, I feel obligated to order something meat-based. But the real star of this restaurant are the sides. Both sides we ordered with our meals were insanely good. Cauliflower seems to be the trendy veggie of 2019, and I’ve had some incredibly bad preparations, but this was simply delicious. The sweet crunch of the candied pepitas and the subtle flavor of the paprika sour cream went amazingly well with the beautifully seasoned lightly roasted cauliflower. I guarantee I will make this at home.
And if you’re a child of the 70s or 80s and have only had experience in beets coming out of a can, I urge you to try roasted beets as soon as possible. Seriously, they’re really good. Combine their earthy sweetness with the sweet crunch of the pecan granola and the tang of goat cheese and yogurt, and you’ve got a winning dish.
You can get a sampler of three sides for $15, and with so many other great ones to choose from, that would be a wonderful meal — or get the half chicken with the extra side and then have another person order the three sides and share it all. You’ll have an incredibly fine meal with a lot of flavor by doing that.
I rarely meet a dessert that I don’t like. That said, the Buttermilk Chess Pie was one that I took two bites of and called it quits. If you’re not familiar with this pie, it’s basically a filling of eggs, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Overall, there was just something off with it, and I think it had to do with the extra vanilla splashed on top–it had a very chemical aftertaste to it. Looking at the ingredients, I may have quipped “Yes, you can truly taste the propylene glycol in there”.
The other dessert, the Gideon’s Bakehouse chocolate chip cookie was delicious and very easy for us to split three ways. My advice, enjoy the cookie and don’t look at the price tag. (The price may make you choke on the over-the-top amount of chocolate chips.)
Is Polite Pig worth a visit? If you’re on the dining plan, it’s a good use of credits. Since we were paying out of pocket, the bill came to more than $65. Ouch. If you’re not on the dining plan, your best bet to save some money is to skip the desserts. The chocolate chip cookie, good though it was, is $8. The pie, which was not a favorite for any of us, was $7. Food-wise, if you’re going because you have a craving for roast beast, you may be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a meal of interesting side dishes, this may be the best option in all of Disney Springs. Recommending a BBQ place for things other than the BBQ? That’s truly an ominvore’s dilemma.
Have you eaten at Polite Pig? What was your favorite part of the meal? Let us know in the comments.