Art Smith's new restaurant near Disney World

It’s official. My taste buds are definitely very pedestrian if I can’t appreciate chef Art Smith’s versions of fried chicken at his new “Homecoming Florida Kitchen” restaurant, recently opened in Disney Springs, the shopping complex in the Walt Disney World property, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
We had barely sat down at our table when our server started his enthusiastic orientation to Art Smith, who developed this new restaurant: “…Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef!!!.. chef for Florida Governor Jeb Bush!!!.. etc…” And our group’s expectations are running high!
I ordered the fried chicken sandwich, but I am not into hot-n-spicy, even if many people would say that’s the best part. So I asked them to leave off the specialty hot sauce, and my $16.00 got me a chicken sandwich that was good, but for me, compared as less tasty than Chick Fil A. And I do like Chick Fil A. One other person at the table got “Art’s Famous Fried Chicken” for $26.00 (I think that was 2 pieces of chicken) and also concluded that Kentucky Fried was preferable.
The sides were outright awful, but the staff did not hesitate to take back my choice #1, a dry and tasteless Florida Slaw. Choice #2 was house-made chips, but they arrived soggy with a soaking of iceberg dressing. The menu’s description that these chips would be “drizzled” should have been a warning. I like my chips to be crisp. The staff was patiently ready to switch out the chips and provide a choice #3, and I just asked them to take away the chips. At some point, trying side after side after side just becomes rude on the part of the customer.
No one at our table was particularly enthralled with any of the meal, but we could all say it was “good.” Later in the evening, someone in the group concluded he would not need to return to the Homecoming Florida Kitchen. Somewhere in the conversation, someone else asked, “What did Oprah see in this guy, anyway?”
I notice on Yelp and Trip Advisor the reviews are a little bit mixed, with the most common negative, being the prices.
(Sigh) So I am a hungry onion with more of a Chick Fil A palate than an Art Smith set of taste buds. The pain of self-discovery.

3 Likes

hound, next time you’re out exploring and find yourself in a fried chicken mood, give Fred’s Market a try. (there’s one each in Plant City, Lakeland, Riverview, and Lake Mary ). It’s the only buffet that I’ll actually go to on purpose – the food is all made on premise from fresh ingredients, and in small batches, so nothing sits for very long – as soon as a pan runs low (which doesn’t take long) it disappears and they bring a new pan right away. It’s pretty down-home – squash casserole, corn bread, green beans, tomatoes & okra – it all changes seasonally.

They’ve actually thought about the pricing - they have one price for the traditional all-you-can-eat, one level that gives you one trip to the salad bar, one trip to the hot bar, and one dessert, and one level that gives you one trip with one plate. It’s brilliant, because you don’t end up paying for more than what you feel like eating (and they’re wonderful about up- or down-grading you if you’re more or less hungry than you thought you were). The servers hustle, too, keeping the beverage glasses full and collecting the empty plates.

But the fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had, anywhere - breaded light and crispy, and not even a little bit greasy. The meat is tender and juicy and cooked to perfection.

4 Likes
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold