Over the last few months there have been a lot of new restaurants opening up at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) here in Orlando. While some of them are Disney restaurants and eateries, they have been adding a good amount of independent restaurants as well. One of these is Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming.
Celebrity Chef Art Smith’s family has called Florida home for six generations. The name Homecoming is a nod to Chef Art’s return to Walt Disney World after his first cast role in The Magic Kingdom College Program in 1981 – now known as the Walt Disney World College Program. Chef Art has spent many years traveling, making TV appearances, cooking award-winning meals for celebrities and opening incredible restaurants like Table Fifty-Two in Chicago, Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Atlanta and Art and Soul in Washington, D.C. But to him, Florida is home. And he has come back to share some of his favorite Florida farm-to-fork dishes with you.
Homecoming is Walt Disney World Resort’s only restaurant paying homage to Florida’s rich agricultural heritage by highlighting local ingredients and farm-to-table cuisine. So when you browse the menu, know that ingredients are served at their peak freshness, changing here and there with the seasons.
I recently had the opportunity to check out Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming with the Central Florida Lady Bloggers to kick of the start of fall. While it may not feel like fall here in Florida, we had a nice evening (nicer than most lately) to enjoy a little party on their amazing wrap around back porch.
Homecoming mixes up some amazing cocktails so I had to start the evening with one. They have over a dozen types of moonshine on their bar menu so I decided to try out their Bootlegger made with Wicked Dolphin RumShine and dark rum, blackberry jam, house-made grenadine, simple syrup, and lime juice. Holy heck was that drink amazing! It packed quite the punch, but was smooth and delicious.
Over the course of the evening we were able to try some of their most popular menu items including their house-made pimento cheese, hushpuppies, shrimp and grits, and fried chicken sandwich. Homecoming takes traditional Southern classics up a notch with their impressive dishes. The pimento cheese was the best I’ve had and the shrimp and grits… well let’s just say that I ate more than my fair share. The Tasso ham gravy is what really puts this dish over the top.
And because no Southern meal is complete a big slice of cake or pie, so it was no surprise that we ended our meal with a piece of their Hummingbird cake. The famous pineapple-banana cake with cream cheese frosting is from Chef Art’s bestselling cookbook, “Back to the Table.” I’m not even a huge fan of things with banana in them and I loved this cake.
So next time you want some amazing Southern food, a tasty cocktail, and dinner with a view, think about checking out Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming. Take advantage of that spiffy new wrap that takes you right from I-4 to the Orange parking garage and you won’t even have to worry about Disney traffic. Its a win win!
At Homecoming they say ‘No matter where you’re from, when you’re here, you’re home.’ Welcome home!