I wasn’t expecting to like The Polite Pig, which is a counter service restaurant in Disney Springs. The menu features all barbecue items, and I was hesitant about eating heavy, messy BBQ in the middle of a hot day. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how light and fresh everything was! Aside from the great food, the atmosphere was relaxing and clean. The Polite Pig is located right near the entrance to the Lime Garage, which puts you in the middle of Disney Springs and steps away from the beautiful, brand-new World of Disney store.
Here’s what you need to know before you dine here:
6 – It Has a Sister Location
It came as a surprise to learn that The Polite Pig actually has a sister location called The Ravenous Pig, which is a gastropub in Winter Park, Florida (not far from Orlando). Though I’ve never been to that location, I’ve heard lots of rave reviews, and so was excited to try the lighter, more fast-casual fare offered at The Polite Pig.
Owners James and Julie Petrakis were approached by Disney with the idea of opening this additional location, and they happily agreed to bring some of their Winter Park elements to guests dining at Disney. I, for one, am very glad Disney Springs has added another restaurant to its repertoire that boasts local Florida flavors!
5 – The Portions are Small, yet Flavorful
If I could compare the portion sizes to anything, it would be slightly larger versions of the samples you get at Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival, or Festival of the Holidays. However, I don’t consider this a bad thing. A lot of BBQ restaurants load you up with heavy food, but at The Polite Pig, the smaller portions give you ample opportunity to really savor the meal and try more of the side dishes, sauces, and (if you can save room for it) the desserts.
I ordered the Southern Pig sandwich, which was served with a pickle spear. The Southern Pig is pulled pork on a bun with fennel-apple slaw, mustard BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise. It was delicious, and I didn’t feel overly full after digging in! My husband ordered the brisket, which is covered in a special Polite Pig rub and served with jalapeno cornbread and coleslaw. I helped myself to some of his food, as usual, and was pleasantly surprised at how fresh and satisfying every bite was. The meat was soft and juicy, and I could easily pull it apart with my fork.
4 – The Side Dishes are Amazing
The best part about the smaller portion sizes was that my husband and I could order all the sides we wanted! My sandwich didn’t come with a side, so we decided to order 3 Market Sides for $15 (they are $6 for one). It was hard to choose 3, but we decided on the Grilled Street Corn, the Sweet Potato Tots, and the Southern Potato Salad. My husband’s dish did come with one side, and he chose the Mac and Cheese.
In all honesty, I enjoyed the sides more than the actual main dishes. The grilled street corn was my favorite, as it was covered in a chipotle-aioli sauce with breadcrumbs. The potato salad (served in a creamy herb dressing with pickles, egg, and celery) and sweet potato tots (sprinkled with parmesan cheese) were just as good and provided an entirely fresh complement to the smoky meats. The mac and cheese was simply out of this world- noodles cooked in aged cheddar and covered with breadcrumbs? Wow! I could see myself revisiting The Polite Pig and ordering only sides.
3 – Try All the Sauces
There’s not a sauce I love more than barbecue sauce, and luckily, The Polite Pig offered plenty of varieties. Right at the front of the restaurant is a Sauce Bar, with four varieties of barbecue sauce, and plenty of hot sauces and vinegar, to choose from. The meat is already packed with flavor, but the sauces are great if you want to add just a little more punch to your palette.
There is a signature barbecue sauce with honey, black pepper, and a beer reduction; a sweet sauce, with molasses, honey, brown sugar, and cumin; a southern gold sauce with mustard and vinegar; and lastly, a BBQ ranch sauce packed with celery seed, spices, white sauce, and vinegar. It was really hard to choose a favorite, but I think the signature sauce was my personal go-to. Each sauce lists which meat and/or side it pairs well with, but I say, go crazy and try all the sauces with everything!
2 – Messy Eater? No Problem!
I am a certified messy eater, especially at Disney. If I’m not careful, all the food I eat can easily make an appearance on my lap or clothes. I was wary about eating barbecue because I hate eating with my hands in public or getting sauce smeared on my face. Luckily, I needn’t have worried! The servers provide all diners with metal silverware, and the meat is soft enough to eat with a fork. Even though I ordered a sandwich, I cut it apart with cutlery (I know many who would disagree with this method). Also, each table comes with a roll of paper towels, so you have plenty of opportunities to wipe your hands if you do eat like, well, a pig.
1 – It Has a Relaxed, Fast-Casual Atmosphere
As I mentioned above, the fast-casual style of dining is featured at The Polite Pig and is becoming more and more popular at Disney. It’s not quite counter-service, and not quite table-service. You order your food at the counter, and then carry a beeper-like device with you to your table. The servers then “magically” find you and serve you your food, along with offering assistance with fetching anything else. A similar style of dining can be found at the Be Our Guest restaurant (at the Magic Kingdom) during lunch.
The restaurant itself is very clean, relaxed, and welcoming. There is outdoor patio seating (most of which is under the shade), an open kitchen, and brickwork reminiscent of an old-school meat market on the walls. The only downside? They have restrooms in the restaurant, but it’s only one single stall. When I visited, the women’s stall was occupied the whole time (I really hope that woman was okay). Luckily, there are restrooms located right next door under the Lime Garage, so it’s not really an issue.
My husband and I had such a nice time at The Polite Pig, and are looking forward to returning! The sides alone have turned me into a big fan, and I can’t wait to try the rest of the menu.
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