Dining Reviews

Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming: Florida Kitchen Brings Delicious Southern Cooking to Disney Springs

Hi everyone!

Just before our trip to California last week, we visited Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming: Florida Kitchen & Southern Shine (the name always is a mouthful!) with friends. I was looking forward to this new location, which boasts southern specialties like fried chicken and shrimp & grits. Chef Art Smith spent ten years as personal chef to Oprah Winfrey, and has done much more. He owns other restaurants, has authored cookbooks and has won the James Beard award twice. He also comes from a sixth-generation Florida family, and the “Homecoming” stems from his return to Walt Disney World after first becoming a Cast Member on the Magic Kingdom College Program in 1981.

I do expect to add to this article in the future when trying new-to-us items from the menu. We paid for our meals, and views are always ours either way.

Homecoming: Florida Kitchen features a variety of southern inspired items, including fried chicken, catfish, and pork.

The theming extends to the restaurant door handles.

It’s a comfortable setting, rustic and it feels like being in a home.

There is a mural on the upper wall.

I always like unique, themed lights.

I didn’t personally try every item, but each appetizer, entree and dessert were well received by the table. There is nothing that wouldn’t have been ordered again. These Church Lady Deviled Eggs ($10.00) were almost too pretty to eat! The dishes here are comfort food items that are beautifully prepared and presented.

Here is a closer look on the eggs.

The BBQ Chicken Wings ($12.00) was a big hit at the table. This dish consists of jumbo wings tossed in HFK sweet and spicy barbecue sauce topped with benne seeds.

My entree was the Fried Chicken Sandwich ($16.00). This was probably my favorite chicken sandwich ever, with plenty of crispiness on the outside and juicy inside. I’d definitely order this one again. I upgraded from the house made barbecue chips to the mashed potatoes for $1.00 more, and that was well worth it (I ended up taking food home, both the sandwich and the potatoes were generously portioned). The chicken is buttermilk-brined for 24 hours and double-battered, dressed with shaved lettuce, tomato and bread and butter pickles.

Three of the entrees at our table were chicken based. This is the Fried Chicken Chopped Salad, with mixed greens, egg, heirloom cherry tomatoes and cucumber tossed with icebox dressing, cheddar biscuit croutons and fresh herbs. $16.

Jeff said his Art’s Fabulous Fried Chicken was probably the best fried chicken he’s ever had, though he thought it was priced a little high. This is Chef Art Smith’s signature dish. It is buttermilk-brined for 24 hours and then fried and served with creamy mashed potatoes, cheddar drop biscuits (well, one small biscuit) for $26.

This is the Chopped Pork Barbecue Plate, and includes the famous Momma’s mac and cheese (biscuits is plural on the menu, but again – one cheddar drop biscuit). It is dressed with HFK sweet and spicy barbecue sauce.

Up close on the Momma’s mac and cheese.

We ordered the Shine Cake – Chef Art’s signature dessert. This is for adults only, a butter cake soaked with moonshine syrup, served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I am not a big drinker of any alcohol, and didn’t find the cake too heavy of a moonshine taste. If you do, scooping it with a little ice cream will lighten it. This was delicious. $10.

I’m not sure which of the two desserts I liked better. I ate half the Shine Cake and had a taste of the Hummingbird Cake. Both are worthy endings to a meal. You can find the recipe here if you want to make it at home. This pineapple-banana cake with cream cheese frosting is from Chef Art’s bestselling cookbook, “Back to the Table.” Served with vanilla bean ice cream. $10.

The Florida connection to the restaurant can be felt from entering the doors. And by Florida, I don’t mean Orlando (where I’ve personally lived for many years). I mean real southern Florida, which actually is geographically north. Jasper, Florida (where Chef Art Smith is from) is very close to the Georgia border.

The shelves are lined with cookbooks, sayings and other cooking decor.

Love is Sweet.

The logo is noted on chairs.

The women’s room says “Yes ma’am”.

And men’s says “Yes, sir”.

The bar takes up a decent portion of this room.

Long and Scott Farms information.

Long and Scott.

And one last look at the mural on the way out.

Hours for Art Smith’s Homecoming Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine are 11 a.m. – midnight from Sunday – Thursday and 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. I do look forward to heading back soon. There are so many great restaurants now at Disney Springs!