Dining Reviews

Review: The Polite Pig at Disney Springs Delivers Modern Barbecue with a Fresh Twist

Hi everyone!

It’s only been a couple of short years since the dining landscape at Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs) consisted of a few restaurants I would want to occasionally visit. How times have changed, as more quality venues are added – I could dine at Disney Springs every day now.

The newest restaurant at Disney Springs is The Polite Pig, located in Town Center. We were invited to a media tasting last Friday, and we then went on our own on Saturday to try a few other items and see how the ordering process worked. The Polite Pig is a modern barbecue restaurant and a sister restaurant to The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park (I haven’t yet been, but it’s very well reviewed). The Polite Pig serves barbecue dishes, filling a niche that was underserved on Walt Disney World property. The food items often have a twist to them, usually with suprisingly great results (like the brussel sprouts). The Polite Pig is co-owned by James and Julie Petrakis, as well as his brother Brian Petrakis. They were approached by Disney to have a local restaurant, or as James put it, the “first local chef presence”.

Here is a look at the menu with current prices. The sides can be less expensive when ordering three of them or with a sandwich.

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The Polite Pig is located just downstairs from the Lime Garage at Disney Springs, the Orange Garage is fine but a little further. I could smell the barbecue both days from the garage after parking.

The Polite Pig opened on April 10th, we were out of town at the time.

Guests wait in line to make an order before receiving a pager. The meal is then delivered to the table. When at the register, guests have the option to leave a gratuity for the server delivering the food. While it is an option for those guests wishing to leave one, The Polite Pig is a fast casual restaurant and is not expected (we did leave one Saturday).

Also, The Polite Pig does offer a Walt Disney World Annual Pass discount and is one counter service credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Here is our video tour with food and an interview with co-owner James Patrakis, then keep reading for more photos and our review! Petrakis says in the video, that, “We started with Ravenous Pig in Winter Park, just trying to cook good food, sustainably sourced…giving people the kind of quality that everyone deserved”. That is the philosophy they bring to The Polite Pig.

There are about 200 seats in the restaurant, including tables and chairs, booths, this counter seating, as well as around the bar…and both inside seating with a modest amount of outdoor seating. Someone who works at The Polite Pig told us it’d be quicker to be served at the bar, but we were fine to wait in line. The food was delivered pretty fast too.

Hooves can be seen in the floor.

Before The Polite Pig opened, there were signs outside similar to this one with cute sayings. This one is inside.

Tables and chairs here are set near the BBQ sauce/condiment location.

Guests sit around the bar.

The Polite Pig can be found on stanchions.

During the media event, we were able to photograph meals and then taste some of the items – including the Brisket (with a coffee rub). Honestly, brisket is something I often won’t order because not everyone does it well. But the brisket I had was very tasty, with a lot of flavor. I don’t like coffee, and the coffee flavor in the brisket I tried didn’t overwhelm the meat at all. The Tomato and Watermelon Salad side with feta, basil and pickled onions was also a win here. The combination of watermelon and tomato worked very well, creating a refreshing salad.

Here is a closer look at the Brisket entree, which Petrakis says is cooked 14 hours – everything is cooked “low and slow in a J&R smoker”. The vegetables are fresh, geared toward the season.

I didn’t try The Southern Pig, which is chopped pork, apple slaw, mustard sauce and duke’s mayo. The side here is Sweet Potato Tots with parmesan cheese. I am not a big fan of sweet potatoes so probably wouldn’t order it myself, but I do think sweet potato fans will enjoy these – I did have some, but sweet potato is more an acquired taste for me.

Here is a look at the St. Louis Ribs. I didn’t see anyone order them, so I’m not sure if this is the exact size portion. The Grilled Corn on the side is the portion size, with three small ears – and we ordered those on Saturday. They have lime butter and breadcrumbs and are delicious – we will order those again.

The Hop Salt Pretzel is large and be very popular here. It includes beer cheese fondue and IPA mustard – Petrakis calls it a “homage to beer”, that “all the processes of beer are in one delicious pretzel snack”.

There are a number of items from the smoker, including the Pork Shoulder.

Four snack items are on the menu (the Hop Salt Pretzel was one of them), this is the BBQ Cracklins with spiced vinegar.

This was my meal on Saturday – the Half Chicken with citrus rub, and I chose the Baked Beans with lemon, tomato and bacon for a side. The chicken was excellent, another item I would order again. The baked bean flavor didn’t work for me, but there are plenty of other sides to choose from.

Here is a closer look at the Baked Beans.

Jeff ordered the Smoked Chicken Salad sandwich. This was my favorite item so far now at The Polite Pig. The smoked flavor could be tasted through the whole grain mustard, it was just a really great sandwich. Celery and grapes are also part of it. He ordered the Grilled Corn as a side.

The breadcrumbs don’t look like they’d work with the corn, but I enjoyed this very much. In addition, we tried the Crispy Brussel Sprouts with whiskey-caramel at the media preview, and I never order brussel sprouts – but I went back for seconds on them. When you hear people say, “You need to try the brussel sprouts” – well, I had never heard that before, and I am glad I did. While I am at it, I will also mention dessert. I recommend the Orange Blossom Honey Cake – I didn’t photograph my cake at the media preview, it wouldn’t have been an accurate representation as far as size. There is also a Key Lime Pie.

Here is a closer look on the Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich. This is maybe the best chicken salad sandwich I’ve ever had, with the smoked flavor really adding to it.

Guests ordering a soft drink can choose from sodas or sweet and unsweet tea.

Here is a look at the soda fountain.

The kitchen can be seen through the windows.

Pigs are a main focus here.

This is the main part of the dining room. The restaurant is part of the Disney Springs backstory, with the story of the building being a Farmer’s Market (the wording is on the walls here).

Our booth on Saturday.

There are a variety of alcoholic beverages on tap, including wine, beer, gin & tonic, and vodka lemonade. We didn’t try any alcohol, but there are more than 70 bourbons that Petrakis says he is proud of, and also Cask & Larder Brewery beers available for purchase. All craft beers are from Florida.

The bar is not only inside, but outside.

We were very happy with both of our experiences, both the media preview and the lunch we paid for on Saturday. We will definitely be back – probably next for another Smoked Chicken sandwich to split with a couple of sides. The menu has quite a few items to choose from, and the salads are generously sized.

Hours for The Polite Pig are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday. While Petrakis said that The Polite Pig is “meant to be a weekend afternoon barbecue experience”, I expect the restaurant will be busy much of the time.