Disney’s Port Orleans — Riverside offers some truly delicious and underrated dining.
Boatwright’s is the resort’s table service dining option, and it’s a terrific under-the-radar spot that’s pretty much always a sure thing, even when other restaurants are packed to the gills. Muddy Rivers is a great pool bar, and River Roost is a charming place to relax with a drink.
When it comes to quick service dining at the resort, Riverside Mill is where it’s at. We’ve eaten here many times before, and the variety and quality have typically been pretty top-notch for a hotel food court. The atmosphere of Riverside is another winning attribute, helping diners to relax and refuel in a space that’s rustic and comfortable.
When we discovered the menus here had changed, we were eager to try the new items.
The Riverside Mill has great curb appeal with its blue exterior and long front porch. (Sadly no rocking chairs out there, but that would be nice, right?)
Inside continues the rustic charm of the outside with mis-matched wooded chairs and the remnants of the ‘mill’ for which the restaurant is named.
This includes industrial lighting, wood pillars and beams, and even some old mill equipment. Large windows let in a good amount of light during daylight hours, but even still the dining space is pretty dark in places.
The food court itself is a standard design, with stations for certain categories of food: Salads and Sandwiches Shop, Grill Shop, Pizza Shop, and Bakery.
Menu screens above each station rotate the options, with pictures of some items to give diners a clear idea of what they’ll be getting. Notice
The theming of these stations is in keeping with the spirit of the resort, with awnings, wood details, and some New Orleans charm.
Diners will also find Grab-and-Go options that include candy, snacks, and drinks.
When entering Riverside Mill, diners can browse these static menus. It gives you an idea of which station you’ll want to prioritize. It’s a little more efficient than staring up at the rotating screens at each station while you try to recall what you just saw that piqued your interest.
Note that occasionally the items that appear on the static entrance menus aren’t on the rotating menus. That’s the case at Riverside’s Create Your Own Salad, which is on the entrance menu but not actually available at present.
The electric menu boards over each station feature a few pictures to give you an idea of what to expect. As a general rule, these are some nicely staged food photos that are a little tidier than the actual product. But it’s still helpful! At the Salads and Sandwiches Shop diners find a Hoagie, Pimento BLT, Barbecue Pork Sandwich, and Caprese Sandwich. Kid sandwiches are available here, too.
As mentioned, Create Your Own Salad is not currently an option. Diners are limited to Caesar, Greek, and House Salads. (We heard several people lamenting the loss of the Create Your Own option, so we’ll watch to see if it returns.)
At the Pizza Shop, diners can choose from pizza, flatbreads, breadsticks, and pasta. Kids’ pasta dishes and pizza are also available.
At the Grill Shop, find hot sandwiches, burgers, and more (including a Fish Sandwich and Corn Dog Nuggets for the kiddos and Chicken Nuggets, a Hot Dog, and vegan burger for grown ups).
Any time there are menu additions, we start looking for the deletions, too. At Riverside, the following items have been removed from the menu: Southern Fried Shrimp Platter, Classic Burger, Double Classic Burger, Bayou Burger, Prime Rib Melt, Carved Cajun Turkey Leg Sandwich, and Chicken Salad Sandwich.
In their places: the Pimento BLT, a Prime Rib Dip, and a Classic Bacon Burger! Naturally we tried ’em all!
The Prime Rib Dip from the Grill Shop is a tasty, filling sandwich (you could share this, particularly if you plan on getting dessert!) that comes topped with caramelized onions and melted provolone cheese. (Really melted — not just put on top of a warm sandwich!)
It’s served with warm au jus (not too salty, which is often our complaint) and loads of steak fries.
The bun is soft and perfect for soaking up the au jus. And the meat was flavorful and thinly sliced. Overall, this was an impressive sandwich for a quick service/food court location!
The Pimento BLT is found at the Salads and Sandwiches Shop, and this one is a winner! You know we love Pimento Cheese, but overall it’s still a great option. Plus it’s huge, full of bacon (just wait!), and packed with flavor!
It features standard BLT ingredients: bacon, lettuce (just a thin layer), and tomato. But that slathering of pimento cheese in place of mayo was divine. Why aren’t all BLTs made with pimento cheese?!
And hello, bacon! There were no fewer than six slices of bacon on the sandwich, which is pretty insane. And delicious.
A couple notes about this sandwich: they were already premade behind the counter on our visit, so if you need to make any substitutions or changes, you’ll need to ask if it’s possible. Also, the BLT comes with house-made chips, but the cast member mentioned we could sub in fries; we’d just have to go over to the Grill Shop to get them. Vice versa, if you prefer chips to fries but you’re at the Grill Shop, request to pick up some chips next door at the Sandwich Shop.
The Classic Bacon Burger is a new option. This is a pre-made burger (at least on our visit) that was wrapped and sitting in a warmer. Not ideal. The bun and burger ended up being dry (no big surprise there…).
There’s plenty of bacon on this burger, as one would expect, but note that there’s also cheddar cheese (it’s not mentioned anywhere). I picked up toppings like lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles from the self-serve toppings area at the Grill Shop, so be sure not to miss those.
The star of the burger was, oddly enough, the garlic ranch sauce! So flavorful and made a HUGE difference in the texture and taste.
My favorite part of this entree was actually the Creole Cole Slaw on the side! This was an oil-based slaw that was more sweet than salty or spicy. With a name like Creole Cole Slaw we were expecting a bigger hit from the spice, but honestly it was delicious so we didn’t mind.
You can finish your meal with a dessert from the Bakery case. There are loads of awesome options, including the newest specialty cupcake and classics like Red Velvet Cupcakes, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Cheesecake.
But don’t forget the Magic Cookie Bar which is, as the name suggests, pure sugary magic.
So 2/3 big hits with Riverside Mill’s new menu items, and we’re happy to say this relaxing spot is still a really good food court option!
Nosh or Not?
Paddle into Riverside Mill if:
- You’re staying at Port Orleans — Riverside or French Quarter and need a bite to eat!
- You love the architecture of Port Orleans — Riverside and want to visit even if you’re not staying there.
- You love a Disney food court and want to try a good one.
Head downstream if:
- You aren’t staying at Port Orleans — Riverside and don’t want to travel there for a food court.
- You just don’t care for food court food.
- Hello! Disney Springs is a Sassagoula River Cruise away, and you want to try a restaurant there.
We enjoy the food courts of the Port Orleans Resorts, and Riverside offers lots of atmospheric charm in addition to a pretty tasty menu! Like most food courts, it’s not a destination, per se, but if you’re staying in the French Quarter or visiting the resorts from nearby Disney Springs, Riverside is worth a stop for a quick bite to eat!