*This gluten free dining experience took place in July 2018.
Dinner at Homecomin’ Kitchen
Homecomin’ Kitchen, a table service restaurant, has quickly become one of the most popular restaurants in Disney Springs. Serving up homestyle, Southern cuisine with local Florida ingredients, Homecomin’ Kitchen is pure comfort food. The restaurant was created by Chef Art Smith, who was Oprah’s personal chef, a James Beard Foundation award winner, and has been featured on shows like Top Chef Masters. He also is originally from Florida, and his connection to Disney started when he was a cast member in the college program. So, Homecomin’ Kitchen really is a homecoming for Chef Art Smith. We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from friends and family about the food served at Homecomin’ Kitchen. But, admittedly, I’ve been a bit nervous to visit, assuming there wouldn’t be a lot of special dietary needs options. Recently, I went with family and was pleasantly surprised by my experience.
Homecomin’ Kitchen serves up comfort food and Southern hospitality all in a welcoming and brightly lit restaurant.
The restaurant includes tons of spacious indoor seating, outdoor seating, and a bar/lounge area.
We dined at Homecomin’ Kitchen on a weekend around 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon. And, wow, the restaurant was jammed. We were impressed by how busy it was and by how many large parties were dining there.
As you can tell by the photos, Homecomin’ Kitchen is very family friendly and includes lots of large tables for big parties to dine.
Homecomin’ Kitchen is not owned and operated by the Disney Company. This means that they do not have an allergy-friendly menu. The restaurant does mark on the menu items that are gluten free. And, a manager will come by your table to discuss additional options and other special dietary needs.
The manager that spoke with us noted that there were some additional options available, including three of the four sandwiches. These could be served on a gluten free bun and a side could be substituted as they do not currently have a dedicated fryer. The manager also mentioned that the braised beef entree is now gluten fee, though not currently marked as such. He also suggested several salads and even the Key West Shrimp Cocktail as an appetizer, which could be made gluten free minus the crackers.
While pondering the options, I had to order unsweetened iced tea. Not only is this one of my favorite go-to non-alcoholic drinks, but if you’re at a Southern restaurant, tea is a must. I missed getting the sweet tea, as I have to be in a mood for it. But, I’m totally getting at least one glass of it next time. Either way, tea is perfect, especially on a hot summer Florida day, like it was when we visited.
My mom really wanted us to get an appetizer that I could eat. So, we ended up getting the Church Lady Deviled Eggs which are marked gluten free on the menu. I did not ask about dairy, but I’m guessing these either didn’t have dairy in them or could easily be made dairy free.
Oh man, were these good. They were super rich and creamy — just as a deviled egg should be. They were topped with some Country Ham which added a nice bit of texture and sprinkled with some smoked paprika. I highly recommend adding a dash of their house hot sauce too. It added a nice kick to the deviled eggs.
For my entree, I ordered the HFK Barbecue Bun which included sweet and spicy barbecue chopped pork piled high on a gluten free bun and topped with southern slaw. This dish is normally served with chips. But, because they do not have a dedicated fryer, I was able to order another side. I had a hard time choosing one. But, I ended up just getting the classic Mashed Potatoes. These are marked gluten free on the sides menu, but do contain dairy. For those guests who are dairy free, sides like KC Greens would be a good option.
The sandwich was just excellent. I absolutely loved the BBQ pork topped with Coleslaw. I also got an extra side of BBQ sauce (ever the condiment queen that I am) for some added flavor. I really enjoyed that the coleslaw wasn’t heavily mayonnaise-based too. This one was just bright and flavorful and paired really well with the BBQ. The mashed potatoes were also excellent and were very creamy. If you can have dairy, these are a great side dish for gluten free guests.
As we were leaving the restaurant, we got a chance to meet Chef Art Smith himself. I love that he is often at the restaurant too. When we visited, he was not only greeting guests but also helping bus tables and keep the kitchen running smoothly. How awesome is that? He kindly took a photo with me and my brother, who is also a chef, which was really neat.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the gluten free options and my meal at Homecomin’ Kitchen. While I will say that dining here dairy free would be a challenge, it’s not impossible. Guests who are gluten free will find quite a few more options and variety too. Add in that they have some hefty portions and great atmosphere, and you have a solid choice for a meal in Disney Springs. If you do want to dine at Homecomin’ Kitchen, be sure to make an ADR, as this restaurant is popular!
Have you been to Homecomin’ Kitchen? What did you order when you dined there?