*This dining experience took place in April 2014.
Aloha! It’s been a while since I’ve dined at Kona Cafe for lunch. It’s long been one of my favorite spots for a quiet and low-key table service lunch option, with one sandwich being a staple in my lunch rotation – the Kona Island Chicken Sandwich.
On this particular occasion, I stopped by for lunch with my mom in between a visit to the salon (Bamboo Salon – close to Disney with great service & rates) and shopping in Orlando. While there are fabulous restaurants in Orlando (and you can see many of them listed on sites like Gluten Free in Orlando, Celiac in Orlando, and Eating Out Without), I tend to make a trip to Disney because I know that I’ll have a safe meal.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Chef Brett, who has assisted me before. I already knew that I wanted the Kona Island Chicken Sandwich, so that was the easy part. I asked him if I could have a combination of both sweet potato and regular fries. It’s a combination I love with a bit of the best of both worlds when it comes to fries. I also always ask for the curry mango mayonnaise that is typically on the sandwich to be served on the side. As you know, I’m the condiment queen, and I will dip my fries in the curry mango mayo. It’s amazing (and highly recommended!).
The sandwich typically comes with fried onions and cheese, both of which are removed. Sometimes they can make me grilled or sauteed onions but this time Chef said he was unable to do it. Onions don’t make or break the sandwich so that was OK with me (if it had been the curry mango mayo, well…that might have changed my mind!).
I also asked about the bun. I knew that Disney was beginning to transition into a new bun from a company called Local Oven. Chef Brett said he thought that they had GNI still but as it turned out, they ended up with Local Oven. He also mentioned that my food was going to take a bit longer to prepare, as they were down a dedicated fryer and he would have to fry them in a pot.
My sandwich looked great, though I noticed that I was missing bacon (which it comes with). This was quickly rectified and my bacon made the perfect accompaniment to the sandwich. The French fries were excellent as always, and made even better by the delicious curry mango mayonnaise. I should have asked for more because it’s great slathered on your sandwich and with fries.
I was surprised to see how big the new Local Oven buns were. They seem to be somewhere in the middle texture wise to Udi’s & Ener-G. A bit soft but somewhat spongy in texture. The taste was actually quite pleasant. I think it might have needed to be heated up just a bit, but otherwise, I could definitely seem myself eating these readily the next time I visit. I was never a big fan of the GNI buns which were very small and had a really weird texture. I still prefer Udi’s buns but I’m glad these are available. Local Oven buns are gluten, dairy, soy, and corn free. They contain egg whites, so they are not egg free.
Overall, I really enjoyed my meal. There was a lengthy wait time due to the frying but that was to be expected. The service was a little off that day but the restaurant was a bit busier than normal.
For this visit, I would rate the experience a 7 out of 10.