*This dining review took place in December 2019. It includes information about gluten free options, in addition to dairy free, fish/shellfish free, cabbage free, peanut free, hazelnut free, and chicken & turkey free options.
Dinner at Contempo Cafe
Contempo Cafe, located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is a quick service restaurant that serves classic American fare — from burgers and sandwiches to pizza. Recently, we had dinner at Contempo Cafe with my family when they were on vacation at Disney World.
Contempo Cafe is located on the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary Resort. This is where Chef Mickey’s, shopping, and the entrance for the monorail are all located. It’s definitely a hub, and you’ll find that Contempo Cafe is situated directly in the middle of it all.
In my opinion, the theme of the restaurant itself is pretty bland. There’s really not much to it. It’s some basic seating and an ordering area. But, what the restaurant lacks in theme is made up for by the amazing atmosphere of the Grand Canyon Concourse.
One of my favorite things about the concourse is watching the monorail and looking at the Mary Blair art designs. The 90 foot mural of It’s a Small World is directly next to Contempo Cafe, and it’s always so much fun to look at.
There is a good amount of seating in this quick service restaurant. But, it can get pretty busy. We did see a lot of guests ordering food to-go while on their vacations. We had a rather large party, so we were able to put together several sets of tables for our group of 10 people.
When dining at Contempo Cafe, guests with special dietary needs will need to speak directly to a manager about options. In the past, the restaurant did offer an allergy-friendly menu, but I haven’t seen one for this location in years. In my opinion, talking to a manager or chef directly is a much better option at quick service locations, especially at resort locations where you can discuss options and modifications.
On our recent visit to Contempo Cafe, manager Kelsey was absolutely fantastic and really went above and beyond to ensure that both Brandon and I had safe and delicious meals.
I decided to order the Barbecue Chicken Pizza based on Kelsey’s recommendation. It was served on Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust layered with Barbecue Sauce, Allergy-Friendly Chicken Tenders, Triple-Cheese Blend, and topped with a Kale-Apple Slaw. The pizza does normally come with caramelized onions, but Kelsey said she wasn’t sure about potential cross-contamination issues.
Can I just say how wowed I was by this pizza? It doesn’t look all that appetizing, but the flavors were absolutely incredible. I loved the combination of the crispy allergy-friendly chicken tenders with BBQ sauce, lots of cheese, and the Kale-Appple Slaw. The slaw was the real star of the dish! I would definitely get this again, and I’m so glad Kelsey convinced me to try it.
On a side note, if you’re dairy free, the restaurant does carry Daiya brand dairy free & vegan cheese, as well.
Brandon’s meal turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, but he was very appreciative that Kelsey worked to make sure his meal was safe. He really wanted the Contempo Smokehouse Burger but too many of the components were no deemed safe for his special dietary needs. He ended up with a Bunless Bacon Cheeseburger with Baked French Fries. This dish was gluten free, fish/shellfish free, cabbage free, peanut free, hazelnut free, and chicken & turkey free.
As we learned, Contempo Cafe has a dedicated allergy fryer that cooks allergy-friendly chicken tenders in it and does not currently offer a vegan fryer. This meant that Kelsey needed to bake Brandon’s fries. He actually really liked them and said he thinks he prefers the baked versions to the fried ones.
The restaurant also warned Brandon against many of the bread options due to potential peanut cross-contamination with the bread production. You’ll want to talk to the manager about options and use your best judgement with regard to cross-contamination. We were able to get him a gluten free bun that was peanut free.
For dessert, I did try out the Flourless Chocolate Cake. This is naturally gluten free (contains dairy), but Kelsey did get me a fresh one that was not housed in the bakery case to avoid cross-contamination concerns. While it wasn’t my favorite dessert, it was very good. If you’re a chocolate fan, you will really enjoy this particular option because it’s very rich and chocolatey. For those with peanut and tree nut allergies, Kelsey did advise Brandon to avoid this dessert.
While Contempo Cafe hasn’t always been my favorite quick service restaurant on property, I was pretty impressed with the food on our recent visit. Not only were the gluten free options great, but the Disney Cast Members there really went above and beyond to help ensure we had a safe and delicious meal. We likely won’t dine here a lot because it was a challenge for Brandon to find many options, but we’re both glad to know that we can get a meal here if we’re at the Contemporary Resort.
Have you been to Contempo Cafe? What did you think of the special dietary needs options?