*This dining experience took place in April 2017.
Dinner at the Polite Pig
When it comes to good BBQ, I can’t say there are a ton of options at the Disney Parks & Resorts. So, I was excited when I heard about the opening of the Polite Pig, a quick service BBQ restaurant located at Disney Springs. The Polite Pig is the sister restaurant to the Ravenous Pig, a very well-known restaurant in Winter Park, FL. The Polite Pig isn’t owned and operated by the Disney Company, but does have serious culinary street cred associated with it. The owners are James Beard Award nominees (a pretty big deal in the culinary world), so I had some high hopes for the restaurant. Recently, we stopped by for dinner before going to a movie at the AMC Disney Springs and checked out some of the dinner offerings.
The restaurant itself is actually bigger than I thought on the inside and seats around 200 guests. When you enter the restaurant, you’ll order your meal quick service style (like you do at other similar restaurants like D-Luxe Burger), and your food is brought to your table. There’s seating both in the main dining area and in the bar area, as well as outdoor seating too. I liked the mix of high top tables, counter seats, and regular tables and booths.
We chose a regular table in the main dining area. This gave us the perfect chance to check out everything in the restaurant with a great view and lots of space to spread out and eat too.
Brandon and I both agreed that the decor in the restaurant was charming, if just a bit sparse. There were areas where we thought more decor was needed, and it almost seemed like it wasn’t quite finished. The industrial theme was great, and I liked a lot of the attention to detail. Plus, the logo and use of pigs throughout the restaurant was quite cute, though it may not appeal to everyone.
There was tons of faux exposed brick and other details that made the restaurant look like it had been around for a long time or was a bit of a hole in the wall restaurant. Having been to some great BBQ cities and states, I’ve seen lots of restaurants like this, and I appreciated that they tried to model the look after some of these restaurants.
Of course, we were both looking forward mostly to the food. I’ll admit, I’d read quite a few hit or miss reviews of the Polite Pig before we dined there. Some people have really loved it and others have felt like it didn’t live up to the hype. I love BBQ and have had some really amazing versions, so I was trying to keep my expectations low going in. Plus, I didn’t know if there’d be many gluten free options to try.
When I got to the restaurant, I asked the cast members about gluten free options. I was given a menu with items noted on it that were gluten free. Unfortunately, some that were listed as “safe” included gluten-filled items like breadcrumbs in the dishes. When I pointed this out to the cast member, she gave me another marked up menu that she said was “more complete.” Because this restaurant isn’t owned by Disney, no manager or chef came out to talk to me, but I was told that they would mark the order as an allergy and the kitchen would change gloves, etc. to prepare my meal.
I’ve also heard conflicting info about the gluten free options. Some people have reported being served the Brussels sprouts, which I was told were not safe but really wanted to try. So definitely speak with a cast member and ask to see ingredients if you’re feeling uncomfortable or have more questions. I’d love to see a better gluten free and allergy friendly menu listed.
One word about dairy free, vegetarian, and vegan. If you’re dairy free or vegan, you may have a hard time at the Polite Pig. A lot of the sides contain dairy. I decided to try them on our visit, as I’ve been re-introducing a bit of dairy back into my diet. But, if you’re vegan or have a dairy allergy, this may not be the best choice for you at Disney Springs.
The Polite Pig is definitely known for its beverage menu. They have tons of drinks, including a Bourbon Bar. We opted for a gin and tonic that came pre-mixed from the tap. I’ve never seen a gin and tonic like this before, so it was interesting to try. For $10, we were hoping it wasn’t too watered down. Both Brandon and I were pleasantly surprised that it was fairly strong and tasted quite good. I wouldn’t say it was worth $10 by any means, but I’m glad we tried it at least once.
In addition to ordering drinks at the regular quick service line, you can also order drinks at the indoor and outdoor bar. We both thought coming here for a drink might be the way to go on our next visit. I was told you can also order food along with drinks from the bar area too.
For my meal, I decided to get the pulled pork. It comes served with coleslaw and your choice of one side. For an upcharge, you can add a premium side to replace the coleslaw for a total of two sides. I decided to skip the coleslaw and go for grilled corn on the cob and the potato salad with kale. Brandon got two gluten-filled dishes, including the mac & cheese and the sweet potato tots (which are sadly not gluten free).
The pulled pork was good. But, I wouldn’t say it was amazing. There was a bit too much fat on the pork for my taste, and the spice rub on the pork seemed a bit unbalanced and heavy-handed. Brandon tried it and really like it, while I thought it was just OK. I think it would have been better on a sandwich.
The grilled corn with lime butter was my favorite of the three items I tried. I can’t say there was much lime butter flavor to the corn, but I really loved the flavor from the corn being charred and grilled. It look like the butter on the corn was more like clarified butter, as it virtually had no taste to it. I’m not sure if you can order the corn plain with no butter or not, as I did not ask on this visit.
The potato salad with kale was entirely too dairy filled for my taste. I like potato salad that’s mayonnaise based, but I really dislike versions with sour cream. And, this one seemed to be sour cream based. I tried some and really enjoyed the bacon pieces and kale in the salad, but otherwise, I thought it was bland and just OK.
I do wish the restaurant had gluten free buns, because the sandwiches seemed like the most flavorful and interesting items on the menu.
I did ask if the BBQ sauces at the Polite Pig were gluten free, and I was told they all are. You can get them at self-service stations in the restaurant, or you can ask a cast member for some from the kitchen. I tried 3 of the BBQ sauces and thought the Layla’s Sweet Sauce was the best of the bunch.
In general, we thought the Polite Pig was good, but not amazing — at least for our first visit. I liked everything I ordered, but I wasn’t wowed by anything either. Still, it’s a solid quick service option with some gluten free options. The prices were a bit steep and reminded me a bit of D-Luxe Burger, but I was glad to see they were honoring discounts for both Annual Passholders and DVC members. 10% is 10% when you’re paying nearly $20 for quick service BBQ.
I’d like to go back to the Polite Pig again sometime to check out some different menu options. Plus, as a new restaurant, I think they’ll be working to adjust and refine their menu in the coming months too.
Have you been to the Polite Pig? What are you looking forward to trying there?