I recently stumbled upon an article that describes Disney Springs as a “theme park for foodies.” A few years ago when the district was known as Downtown Disney, I would have probably laughed at this description. However, after a massive expansion, renovation, and rebrand, Disney Springs can very well be considered the place to go eat at Walt Disney World. The last few weeks have only made this argument stronger, with some stellar additions that the dining options even more well-rounded and attractive.
With Homecoming, Fontera Cocina, and D-Luxe Burger, Disney Springs continues to impress diners. Read on to find out more about each of these new restaurants.
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Farm-to-fork flavors from award winning celebrity chef Art Smith: this is the pitch for Homecoming. From the design to the menu to the locally-sourced ingredients, Homecoming seems to be a culinary love letter to Florida. From Fried Chicken or Catfish Sandwiches to Hushpuppies to Shrimp & Grits, Homecoming just shouts southern comfort from top to bottom.
The Homecoming moniker is quite apt, as Chef Smith is an alum of the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World, where he completed a culinary internship. Additionally, Chef Smith resides in Jasper, Florida, which also explains his devotion to local ingredients and flavors. If you’re a fan of southern cuisine, it’s hard to imagine a better choice at Disney World.
We travel from one celebrity chef-lead restaurant specializing in a regional cuisine to another celebrity chef-lead restaurant specializing in a regional cuisine. Chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina brings guests a modern take on Mexican food. With Bacon Guacamole, Shrimp Mojo de Ajo, and Carnitas, the menu at Frontera Cocina offers a fresh take on some classic Mexican dishes. As with Homecoming, the response from diners to Frontera Cocina’s menu has been extremely positive.
Another big item in the plus column for Frontera Cocina is their partnership with the team behind Epcot’s La Cava Del Tequila. In case you don’t know, that little tequila bar tucked inside the Mexico Pavilion at the World Showcase is the home to my favorite margarita of all time. Whether it’s the Mexican “Cola” cocktail or the People Watching cocktail featuring a “black ant” rim, Frontera Cocina features a robust and unique cocktail list.
I’ve been saying for a long time that the lineup of burgers at Disney World has left a lot to be desired. Inside the parks, pretty much every burger is entirely skippable. Most burgers inside WDW parks rely on adding novel toppings and condiments to mask the bland patty and average buns. I have never had a good burger experience inside Disney World’s parks.
The burger story is a bit different at Disney Springs. Splitsville offers up very good burgers that I would recommend wholeheartedly, and the Epcot Food Truck features a delectable pair of sliders. With D-Luxe Burger, Disney is upping the burger game even further. With a premium beef blend of angus, chuck, shortrib, and brisket, D-Luxe gets the most important part of a burger right: an amazing and juicy patty. Combined with a great bun and fresh toppings, D-Luxe offers up a burger that’s a giant step up from what you’d find inside Magic Kingdom. Also featuring fries and shakes, this counter service stop is reminiscent of the quick serve gourmet burger stops that have been a trend in the food world lately, like Shake Shack, Burger Fi, or Bocado Burger.
Overall, these three restaurants are just the latest examples of restaurants where food comes first and foremost at Disney Springs. Within the last year and a half, Disney Springs has added Morimoto Asia, Boathouse, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, STK, as well as the three restaurants featured here. The bar has been raised for dining at Disney Springs, and I look forward to the trend to continue.
(Images Copyright Disney)