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Review: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe — Vegetarian Style!

We all know that Pecos Bill’s is a terrific place to grab a burger and fries, right?

But on a recent visit I really wanted to try out a few new-to-me items that I’d been hearing about: the corn on the cob, and the onion rings.

So what began as casual curiosity ended up being a completely vegetarian meal. And how did a burger joint fare as a vegetarian option? Read on…

Atmosphere

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (known to many just as “Pecos Bill’s”) in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland is extremely popular. I would venture a guess that this dining location and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe see the majority of the counter-service traffic in the Magic Kingdom.

Pecos Bill Sign

Straddling Adventureland and Frontierland, the restaurant’s architecture seems to include both Caribbean and Western influences.

Sign from Frontierland Side

But the story of Pecos Bill clearly signals that the heart of this eatery is firmly planted in the Old West. The Great State of Texas, to be exact!

Story of Pecos Bill - click image for larger version

Don’t forget to always respect the Code of the West!

Inside, you’ll find beams on the low ceilings and soft light (sometimes it can get downright dark in here), providing a homey, comfortable atmosphere.

Seating is crowded and rustic, and it can be very noisy when it’s busy. The dining room was not built with leisurely dining in mind. It may be worth heading outside or over to Columbia Harbour House upstairs dining room if you aren’t a big fan of loud eating environments.

Indoor Seating Can Be Crowded and Noisy

There are also options for outdoor seating. The wraparound porch seating extends around two sides of the restaurant. TIP: the seating furthest back (near Adventureland) fills up last, so head around the corner and straight back for more elbow room!

Shaded Outdoor Seating

There’s also a patio dining area that’s shaded by trees.

Patio Outdoor Seating

But now for the best part – the food!

Fun Servin' Time Board

Eats

Touted as “The Best Grub in the West,” this spot really does have decent eats! And I love that you have options of Corn on the Cob, Apple Slices, or French Fries as your side item! I was sad to see the Corn Chowder had already left the menu, but having heard that corn on the cob was an option, I was already planning to order some.

Meal Options Menu

There are also some awesome sounding meatless sides. I would happily make a side dish meal out of two or three of them!

Sides, Desserts, and Kids Picks

When it came time to order, I had the option to stand in the normal counter service line, or use the Express Order machines. I love this choice! We have more pictures of the process from my last Pecos Bill review, but I’ll share a few here to show you how easy it is to pull up the vegetarian options.

Express Ordering Kiosk - Pecos Bill

After you get through the billing screens, you can actually choose which entree screen you’d like to view. Right here, all of your vegetarian options are gathered in one handy place.

Choose Vegetarian Menu on the Right to See Your Options

Since I wanted the corn on the cob and onion rings for sure, I decided to make it a vegetarian meal and have the veggie burger and some yogurt as well.

Vegetarian Meal

The Veggie Burger here is fine. While it’s not my most favorite veggie burger ever, it was tasty, and the bun wasn’t dry or stale – always a plus.

Vegetable Burger

I could definitely eat this a time or two during trips and be completely happy with the choice.

Vegetable Burger Under the Bun

The texture was quite good, and the charred outside gave a nice depth of flavor. And if you’re a condiments and toppings person, there are plenty of vegetarian goodies like sauteed mushrooms and onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and more on the toppings bar inside!

Veggie Burger Cross Section

Next up – CORN! On the Cob! I have great memories of farmer’s market summer sweet corn when I was a kid, so having heard this was an option I had to check it out.

It was good. Not blow-me-away, first-sweet-corn-of-the-summer-in-Western-New-York good, but fine. The texture was tough, so the freezing and reheating hasn’t been kind. And definitely if you order it, be prepared to season it yourself. There wasn’t a stitch of salt or butter on it. It is plain and simple boiled corn.

Corn on the Cob

I do wish there was some butter – straight butter, not butter blend – available at more counter service spots. But I made do with the Sun Glow. :-)

Butter Spread for Corn

The onion rings, on the other hand, were amazing!

Onion Rings!

I was really impressed with these. They rivaled – no, bested – onion rings that I’ve had at some table service spots. Thick batter with generous rings of onion, these were really delicious, and the portion was extremely generous. I couldn’t finish them all, for certain.

Onion Rings Up Close and Inside

And of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dip them in some plastic cheese!

Onion Rings and Plastic Cheese!

After a full and satisfying meal, the strawberry yogurt provided just a little sweetness. (Please Note: As has been mentioned in the comments, this isn’t technically vegetarian since it contains gelatin.)

Strawberry Yogurt

Strawberry Yogurt Contents and Nutritional Info

This is standard, grocery store, name brand “light” yogurt. I haven’t been eating a lot of aspartame in my diet recently, so the artificial sweetness was a bit shocking here.

And while I don’t suppose you’ll be crossing the park to get a cup of it, it’s nice to know that it’s there if you need a low-cal snack (though I would definitely go for the baked potato at Liberty Square Market instead).

Strawberry Yogurt Inside

Overall

I left Pecos Bill’s completely happy with my selection. While I’m not a vegetarian, I love the option to grab a meatless meal while I’m at Disney every now and then.

With the veggie options at Pecos Bill’s, I felt like I received good value and had a bit of choice. Improvements? Sure. Throw a piece of cheese on the burger and give me some fresh corn on the cob. Maybe some real yogurt. But other than that, I thought this was a pretty decent meal.

Have you eaten a meatless meal at Pecos Bill’s? What are your picks for vegetarian fare in Walt Disney World?

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22 Comments

  1. Prof. Brainard says:

    I too am not a vegetarian, but this could be a passable meal, especially considering that Pecos Bill’s is basically a fancy fast-food joint. Those onion rings look especially perfect and good thinking to dunk them in a little plastic cheese (I would dunk them first in plastic cheese and then in a bit of ketchup for a double dollop of goodness). I do wonder about the little grey pustules in the meatless patty, but I suppose vegetarians would be able to identify them and not be overly worried. I must admit, however, that, as much as I love corn on the cob, I would be loath to ingest something called “European Style Whipped Butter Blend Margarine,” which I’ll venture has nothing to do with Europe and little to do with butter and everything to do with a factory located somewhere near the New Jersey turnpike.

  2. Tracy says:

    SunGlow is horrible, but I doubt it’s going anywhere soon. DCL tried to take butter away and use this a couple years ago, lots of complaints later, butter in the little gold packets returned. Don’t see the same thing happening in the resorts and parks.

    Being from NJ, we have the most amazing home grown corn, I wouldn’t have liked getting a soggy, tiny piece of corn for $1.99. The onion rings make up for it though. My daughter and I shared an order last month and they are great! Unfortnately, all the plastic cheese containers at the fixin’ bar were completely empty at 6:00 in the afternoon! Surprised there wasn’t a revolt.

  3. Louise says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, because I despise Pecos Bills’ hamburgers. The ones I always seem to get are dry and have a weird texture. The rest of my family loves it though, so thanks for the word on the onion rings and corn. I can eat happily here again!

  4. Suzanne says:

    What is on top of the bun?

  5. Alan says:

    I understand the need for vegetarian choices and applaud Disney for adding such fare for those who embrace this lifestyle. As someone who wouldn’t mind trying to eat more healthy foods, I would certainly try these dishes, but probably not at WDW while on vacation. In the case of counter food which can be hit or miss and I would hate to have even one disagreeable meal on my precious and limited time there. That being said, with all the great toppings at Pecos Bills, I probably would enjoy the heel off my shoe bathed in plastic cheese, onions and mushrooms.

  6. I love the fact I can get veggie burgers (and toppings!) at Pecos Bill’s – as a vegetarian family, we hit them up a lot! They’ll also add a slice of cheese upon request too. I hadn’t seen/noticed/tried the corn on the cob yet, thanks for the head’s up!

  7. Beth says:

    As another vegetarian option, I love to get the Crazy Corn at Paradiso 37. It’s an appetizer but I love it so much I eat it as my entree and DON’T SHARE.

  8. Alan says:

    AJ,
    Thanks for this vegetarian review. I notice that the french fries pop up as an option on the vegetarian menu. I hope this is accurate…
    A few year or two ago, my family and I stayed at Coronado Springs. My kids and wife are vegetarian, I try to eat vegetarian most meals. On our last day, after having eaten many meals including fries, we went to Pepper Market. I ordered a veggie entree and some fries. The cook said that if I was ordering the entree because I was really vegetarian, I should skip the fries. He showed me the box showing that they had been pre-fried in beef tallow or lard. He claimed all fries throughout WDW are from this same source, same ingredient list.
    As we prepare for our next trip in December, I would like to know if this is still true (if it ever was). On the one hand, ignorance is bliss, on the other hand, I hope that they are not trying to pull one over on unsuspecting vegetarian/ kosher/ vegan/ halal guests.
    Any insight?

  9. Val says:

    If somehow a baked potato from Liberty square found itself at the Pecos Bill toppings bar that could possibly be the best vegetarian option of all…not that I have any first hand knowledge of this…lol.

  10. Alan – I was informed by WDW that the only fried prepared with the beef/tallow ingredient were the ones supplied by McDonalds (which as of a year or two at least now are no longer supplying fries to WDW). Hope that helps!

  11. Iowa Tom says:

    No wonder that your sweet corn was a bit tough. Just look at the indentations on the kernels. That’s called ‘denting.’ That means the milk is going out of the kernel and it’s drying up.
    Here in Iowa, that means it’s just about ready to feed to the pigs and cattle.

    Sooooooou-eeeeeeee

    Come to Iowa if you want the real stuff.

  12. Ruben says:

    To the person who takes these photos…..

    I love you

  13. @Alan again – just double checked with the special dietary line – and all of the fries at the WDW restaurants (unless otherwise clearly indicated) are now vegetarian, and actually even VEGAN (for you vegan folks!). Previously there were several locations that had McDonald’s branded french fries, but with the end of McD’s at Disney they no longer supply any of the meaty-fries.

  14. Amy says:

    Onion.
    Rings.

    I need some of these, they look (and sound) delicious. My mouth literally watered.

  15. Courtney says:

    Thanks for the review! Have never been blown away by the veggie burgers at WDW, with so many other options around. The corn looks good, but i’m from Nebraska – I can’t settle on my sweet corn :)

    Heads up – the yogurt is not vegetarian! ‘Kosher gelatin’ is usually made from fish.

  16. Jeff says:

    Just to add to the french fry debate, Pepper Market, and all F&B locations within Coronado Springs, are operated by an operating participant. Spring Foods uses their own suppliers out side of WDW/Disney Parks F&B sourcing. So if dining in non-WDW operated location, it’s best to speak with a chef or kitchen manager if you have concerns.

  17. Julie says:

    Best veggie food in WDW:
    Magic Kingdom – Tortuga tavern – veggie burrito (pile it high with lots of toppings yum).
    Animal Kingdom – Tusker House – yummy, healthy, fresh food and lots of choice.
    Epcot (Future World)- Electric Umbrella – Southwest black bean flatbread – very tasty and very filling, just ditch the fries!
    Epcot (World Showcase) – La Hacienda de San Angel – they have a special veggie menu, just ask for it!
    Hollywood Studios – Rosies – the Veggie burger there is one of the only ones I actually like in WDW.
    Downtown Disney – Wolfgang Pucks cafe, Earl of Sandwich both do good ‘take out’ veggie choices.
    Resorts – Art of Animation’s Landscape of flavours food court has the best veggie options, try the make your own pasta, and make your own salad, and the tandoori acorn squash with sides (lentil dahl) is great too!

    In the past I’ve struggled with veggie choices in WDW. I don’t like fries, or burgers or pizza really, I’d much rather have something fresh and healthy, so this year (for our July trip) I did a lot of research on the internet before we went, looked at all the menu’s available, and made a list of all the veggie choices there were for each park. There is more than you think out there, just do a bit of research before your trip!

  18. Krizia says:

    If you haven’t already, you should start a plastic cheese Pinterest board :)

  19. Jeanne says:

    Technically the yogurt isn’t vegetarian because it has gelatin, but aside from that it does look like a good vegetarian meal I’ll have to get next time (but not yogurt)

  20. Trade the plastic cheese for some ranch dip and I’ll be set with those onion rings!

  21. Erin says:

    It’s too bad it’s not just regular yogurt instead of diet yogurt, I was hoping to give the yogurt desserts to DS but I wouldn’t give him this. Glad to see the corn on the cob though, he loves this, and we eat it plain at home so that’ll work.

  22. Karen M Cowan says:

    I am a veggie. I can always find plenty of good food, most everywhere at WDW. If you want a vegetarian meal from out of this world, it will cost you modestly….but go to Narcoossee’s at The Grand Floridian Resort and get the vegetarian special of the day. I have NEVER had such a variety of foods, tastes, textures, visuals and anything else, at one sitting, at any restaurant……. bar none!

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