Get your party on, because it’s Mardi Gras everyday at Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter! And for a little taste of New Orleans, you don’t have to look any further than Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory.
Our last visit for breakfast was some time ago. But I still knew I could expect to find some unique items for lunch that can’t be found in many other spots on property, even including the French Quarter’s sister resort, Riverside. Naturally, the French Quarter has a distinct advantage to add some unique flair to its dining choices, since its New Orleans vibe and theming is so naturally linked with Cajun and Southern cuisine.
Never fear, the less adventurous eaters in your group will find plenty of Counter Service staples here, too. But today we’d like to explore what makes Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory unique (aside from that tongue-twister of a name, that is ;-D).
So, let’s get in and let the good times roll!
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is easily located after entering the beautiful lobby of Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter.
Appropriately enough, the theming for this quick-service spot is directly influenced by New Orleans — and more specifically, Mardi Gras!
Though I kid about the super-long name, the story behind it (and the food court itself) is actually pretty cool. “Floatworks” stems from the restaurant being themed as a warehouse storing Mardi Gras parade props. And from the very instant you walk in, you can see how well it’s executed as there are parade props EVERYWHERE!
Decorations including larger-than-life masks, candy, Mardi Gras crowns, ice cream, and much more hang from all over the ceiling.
Heads up — pun totally intended — to anybody who is terrified of clowns… this guy’s only rival is the creepy clown on the Keister Coaster slide at BoardWalk Inn’s Luna Park Pool. (You can see him if you visit Leaping Horse Libations Pool Bar.)
Steering my gaze away, I headed towards the food stations and registers (immediately left from the lobby entrance).
Theming in this area isn’t anything too fancy, but you’ll still find some cool touches.
There is a ton of indoor seating with plenty more parade props floating around, or you can take your food outside to enjoy some tables lining picturesque Jackson Square. I’ve spent many a meal simultaneously fascinated and kinda freaked out by the guy on the left there, who stares down on you and your dinner the whole. entire. time.
This last visit, though, I chose the area without giant scary faces floating above me.
As the saying goes, “I kid because I love.” And all kidding aside, I do seriously love French Quarter… gigantic float faces and all.
Directly in the center of the dining room you’ll find the Rapid Fill Station with hot and cold beverage options.
Fountain drinks include Sprite Zero, Barq’s Root Beer, Fanta Orange, Coca-Cola Zero, Minute Maid Light Lemonade, Coca-Cola Cherry, Sprite, Powerade, Hi-C Fruit Punch and Diet Coke. (As per usual, other options include Iced Tea, Hot Tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate.)
You’ll find more bottled and canned drinks in the grab-and-go fridges in the ordering area as well as some pre-packaged food items including chocolate cake and cheesecake, and some better-for-you fare like hummus, salads, and whole fruit.
In terms of hot items, Sassagoula has a great selection of go-to favorites as well as unique items made to match the New Orleans atmosphere.
The sandwich station is a great place to find more standard items like an Angus Mushroom Swiss Burger, Bistro Grilled Chicken Sandwich and a Fried Chicken Sandwich.
And here’s a fun find… Corn Dog Nuggets are an entree option (yep, even for us big kids!).
Create-Your-Own Salads and Wraps offer customizable entrees with shrimp or chicken as the primary choices for protein.
Further options for customization include bacon bits, corn, broccoli, chick peas and beans.
And the list goes on with black olives, cucumber, tomatoes, shredded cheese and shredded carrots.
Crunchy noodles, croutons, nuts and cranberries round out the options.
Packaged dressings available include the usual offerings: Caesar, Ranch, Italian, Thousand Island and Blue Cheese. But they also have bottled dressing if you prefer. The Cast Member assisting you can add an option of Balsamic Vinaigrette, Italian, Caesar or Chipotle Ranch.
Also available at this station are Chicken Quesadillas along with what most caught my eye: Specialty Baked Potatoes. Chili & Cheese or Broccoli, Cheddar & Bacon are your choices.
I grabbed the Broccoli, Cheddar & Bacon Baked Potato, which — like the Chili & Cheese Baked Potato — comes with a side salad or soup. Soup options on my visit were Chicken Gumbo or Clam Chowder. To me, New Orleans means GUMBO… so here you have it!
The baked potato itself was HUGE, with plenty of crushed sea salt adding a great touch.
The first glance didn’t reveal much in the way of broccoli. Mostly just bacon bits and cheddar…
But when I cut it open I found that it was far more “stuffed” than I realized. Definitely enough to fill you up!
The highlight, though, was the Chicken Gumbo.
As a side item, it’s served in a small cup. But there is PLENTY of flavor packed in, thanks to the andouille sausage, chicken, okra, onions and greens. It definitely had a nice little kick to it, too. I think it’s something of a Counter Service gem we’ve got here…
Adding to the classic Louisiana options is a selection of Po’Boys! Taking a cue from Louisiana, there several versions of this sammy on the menu. Be aware that the options can change, but on my visit choices included Sausage and Peppers, Chicken Parmesan, Cheesesteak, Catfish, and Chicken Salad.
You know I couldn’t leave without trying one! The Catfish Po’ Boy is one of the more recent additions.
All of the Po’ Boys come with a choice of a Bean Salad or House-Made Chips. I chose the House-made Chips as my side since you can never go wrong with those, but the Bean Salad didn’t look too shabby, either.
The sandwich was filled with two huge pieces of fried catfish, sliced tomato, and shredded lettuce. I’ll start by saying that the batter on the fish was outstanding.
And I’m happy to say that the baguette-styled bread was impressively fresh.
The Cajun-spiced sauce you see in the photo above basically tasted like mayonnaise and seasoning. If I could do it over again, I would have requested more sauce to give the sandwich a little more spice. But overall, the portion was terrific and the sandwich was both fresh and tasty.
If you still have room, there are always dessert options. The rather small pastry holds a few items including Cookies and Cupcakes (flavors are basic vanilla and chocolate, but notice the Mardi Gras colors swirled into the icing on those cupcakes).
Of course, most longtime Port Orleans guests bypass the case still in favor of a French Quarter signature item: Beignets, one more taste of New Orleans!
Though typically I never turn down the Beignets, the Milkshakes made with Hand-Dipped Ice Cream are pretty great, too. A perfect treat for taking on a stroll down the Sassagoula River — just another highlight of a stay at Port Orleans.
Oh, and I did grab some Beignets this go ’round, too, by the way…
I always enjoy quick-service spots that are a step outside the norm and offer creative choices, and that can certainly be said of Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. It would be easy to rest on such a unique and festive environment, but I appreciate how this particular Resort food court goes the extra mile to provide immersive theming right down to several of the food choices. The fact that everything I tried on this visit was well-prepared just makes me that much more excited to visit again next time I have the chance to pay a visit to the French Quarter.
Have you ever had a meal at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
DFB Contributors to this review: Tina, Wendy, and AJ