Review: The Polite Pig (Including BRAND NEW Buttermilk Chess Pie) in Disney Springs

Three words: Buttermilk Chess Pie.

And three more: The Polite Pig. That’s where you’ll find it!

The Polite Pig is a fast-casual dining location serving up “modern barbecue” in the Town Center neighborhood of Disney Springs. It’s got a fantastic pedigree, being owned and operated by James Beard-nominated James and Julie Petrakis and James’ brother Brian — all of whom own restaurants in Winter Park and Orlando.

One of their restaurants — The Ravenous Pig — is The Polite Pig’s hungry older sister. And the reputation earned by that restaurant followed to the smaller Disney Springs location. And if you’re wondering where the politeness comes in, it’s everywhere.

The Polite Pig Insists

The Polite Pig Insists

Even on the walls!

Atmosphere

The Polite Pig decor story is an eclectic mix of polished subway tile, industrial lights and rails, and colorful wood. It’s definitely the kind of place where you feel like you can kick back and relax.

Order here.

Order here.

Seating varies from chairs to booths to hightops. There’s plenty of room here — space for 200 diners! So finding a seat is rarely an issue. (We’ll see how this holds up through the busy holiday season!)

Seating

Seating

There’s also seating at the indoor bar.

Seating

Seating

And even more at the outside bar and on the patio.

Outdoor Seating and Bar

Outdoor Seating and Bar

You need to know that the paper towels on every table are not ornamental. Nope. You’re gonna need ‘em. Because The Polite Pig is known for — among other things — its selection of seven sauces. Take a gander at the descriptions…

The Sauce Bar

The Sauce Bar

Then dispense at will! It’s fun to test a few and see what works best with your meal. So experiment! Just be polite about it, you know. Please. Thank you. Excuse me, please, I need a napkin because I have sauce in my lap. 

Mmm. Sauces.

Mmm. Sauces.

You can also find Spiced Vinegar and Hot Sauce varieties at the sauce bar. So you might spend a little time here gathering your condiments.

Hawt Sauce

Hawt Sauce

You’ll also want to hit up the ice cold drinks, including Blue Sky sodas.

Drink up!

Drink up!

But what are all those sauces for? The EATS.

Eats

The Polite Pig kindly serves up meats that come from their smoker. (You can watch a little of that smoker action while you wait, too!) The menu includes some unusual sides, including BBQ Cauliflower.

The Polite Pig Menu

The Polite Pig Menu

We tried the The Southern Pig on our last visit, but I’m always looking to sample new things. So on this visit I ordered up the Barbecue Cheddar Sausage with Bourbon Glaze.

Barbecue Cheddar Sausage

Barbecue Cheddar Sausage

It was very flavorful and very dry. I’m a big fan of cheddar sausage barbecue where I live in Texas (admittedly one of the barbecue capitals of the country), so I had high expectations — and Polite Pig didn’t meet them with this one. The dryness of the sausage couldn’t be overcome by the good flavors — even with the melted cheese inside — and I had no incentive to finish the serving. I did enjoy the Bourbon Glaze, but, again, if the sausage itself is dry, no amount of sauce is going to save it.

I also had to try the Mac and Cheese again, since I’ve been so underwhelmed with mac and cheese in Disney World recently. This time…meh. It’s made with aged cheddar and breadcrumbs (the first iteration of this dish back when Polite Pig opened included cottage cheese and parmesan, so there were more interesting flavors going on). This time it fell flat. The top was overcooked. The bottom wasn’t creamy at all. It was okay to eat, but I didn’t feel compelled to keep digging into it.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

I also had to get the Brussels Sprouts. Yes. You read that correctly. Why? Because they were crispy and delicious the first time we tried them. But this time, much like the Mac and Cheese, these fell flat. The whiskey caramel added some sweetness, and they were certainly crispy. But nothing in the flavor profile made them sing.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

But just when I was about to give up on the Polite Pig, I decided to get dessert. And I’m happy to say that the visit wasn’t a total bust, because the brand new-to-the-menu Buttermilk Chess Pie was seriously incredible. Chess pie is basically pecan pie without the pecans. So, pretty much just butter, eggs, and sugar — which is, by definition, amazing. The buttermilk lightens up the traditional filling , while you still get some oat-y, nutty goodness on the top for texture variety. It was killer. The one item in the whole meal that I really wanted to keep eating.

Buttermilk Pie !!!!

Buttermilk Chess Pie !!!!

FYI — If you’re in the Tampa area, this pie is actually made by Mike’s Pies. So, conveniently, you also can buy me a whole pie and send it just in time for the holidays ;) . For now, I’m just glad I got to try it here.

Nosh or Not

You’ll want to kindly stop by The Polite Pig if:

  • You want to try someplace new in Disney Springs.
  • You are a sauce connoisseur and want to sample several here.
  • You listened carefully when I told you to try the Buttermilk Chess Pie. If so, good job. You passed!

You might want to pig out somewhere else if:

  • You’re not a big meat eater, and the vegetarian sides don’t interest you.
  • You have limited time to dine in Disney Springs and want to try some always-good options.
  • You don’t like awesome desserts like Buttermilk Chess Pie and aren’t afraid to disappoint me by skipping this one. ;)

Overall

The ingredients (no pun intended) are all there with The Polite Pig: cool vibe, and a strong menu with traditional BBQ along with more creative choices, including a lot of options for vegetarians with the sides. Unfortunately, on this visit Polite Pig fell really flat for me. This may be a case of “just having a bad day,” or it could be that since it’s successful opening, Polite Pig has been resting on its laurels and not trying as hard.

As always, we’ll be back — we always come back — to check it out another day. And, if nothing else, we’ll be getting more of that Buttermilk Chess Pie.

What hidden gems have you discovered in Disney Springs lately? Let us know in the comments! 

Comments

  1. CraigInPA says

    What is the point of offering a Carolina mustard-style sauce if you don’t offer a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw to put it on?

    And, what self respecting BBQ aficionado would even step into a joint that doesn’t serve cole slaw?

    Alas, I had such high hopes for the place…

  2. Jeff says

    We had a great meal here last week and didn’t see any problem with the Mac and Cheese or Brussels Sprouts. Sure, the Mac and Cheese may not be the best I’ve ever had, but it was tasty. We ordered the $38 platter that had pork shoulder, chicken, and ribs along with two sides and coleslaw. It was a good-sized meal to share and while it may not be the best BBQ we’ve ever had, we would definitely go here again.

    Additionally, there is a pulled pork sandwich with a slaw on top, so you can try that out CraiginPA. And, as mentioned above, there is cole slaw made in the building because it came with our platter.

    It should also be mentioned that when we were there last Friday, Carla Hall from The Chew was also noshing on a bunch of stuff with her family.

  3. Lisa says

    We ate there a couple of weeks ago. I loved everything we had (Slider Trio and Brisket Sandwich) but especially the Blue Sky Cherry soda. It was very good.

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