Polite Pig Review
The Polite Pig is a counter service restaurant in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World, with a menu focusing on BBQ. In this review, we’ll share food photos from our meal here, thoughts on the Polite Pig, and whether we’d recommend it to those visiting Walt Disney World. In terms of basics, the Polite Pig is on the Disney Dining Plan as a 1-credit counter service restaurant and offers an Annual Passholder discount of 10%.
Disney Springs has seen a well-documented boom in the quantity and quality of restaurants in the last several years, something that has put it on the map for us as a must-do each trip for at least two meals. With so many new restaurants opening, there normally wouldn’t be much fanfare for a counter service restaurant. Sure, D-Luxe Burger and Blaze Pizza received a lot of buzz last year, but other ‘fast food’ restaurants have flown under the radar.
For the Polite Pig, the scenario was different. Rather than being the 3845th restaurant from a conglomerate, the Polite Pig is the sister location to the Ravenous Pig, a gastropub in Winter Park, Florida created by a husband and wife team. I had heard unanimously rave reviews from everyone I know who has dined at Ravenous Pig, and that plus the local, family-owned nature of Polite Pig really had me excited for it. Unfortunately, it did not live up to our expectations…
First, let’s start with what the Polite Pig is. I classified it as counter service before, but that’s not entirely accurate. It’s part of the growing fast casual restaurant movement.
In this context, that means you order at a counter, go sit down, and someone brings your food to you after wandering around searching for you for a couple minutes, never to be seen again during the course of your meal. In exchange for this wonderful service, you “get” to tip!
Oh yes my friends, fast casual is the way of the future.
I know Disney blogs are where people come for hard-hitting viewpoints on social issues, but I’ll still spare you my take on the United States’ antiquated tipping practice.
Just keep in mind while perusing Polite Pig’s menu that you’ll be adding 15-20% on to those totals, which makes the already high prices even higher.
Thematically, I guess you could say the Polite Pig is “streamlined hipster” with a pig motif and some very light flourishes of Southern charm.
Note: I just made up the term streamlined hipster, and even I don’t know what it means. Basically, there is no theme. It’s fairly nondescript, but “feels” a lot like any ole hipster restaurant.
Decades from now, anthropologists are going to wonder why so many designs were created in such a similarly boring style.
Let’s move on to the food…
Noticing that the menu prices for the sandwiches were without a side (add another $4 for one of those), we thought we’d “cleverly” order items “From the Smoker” (which include a side) to get more bang for our buck. I chose the Brisket and Sarah chose the Pork Shoulder.
When our order arrived, we were a bit shocked to see the portion sizes. If ever you’ve complained about the dishes at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival being “too small” then I can tell you right now, the Polite Pig is not for you. This is BBQ served on cardboard, not a multi-course meal of meticulously-plated haute cuisine.
To compound this disappointment, no less than half of my brisket was fat. I get that brisket is a fatty dish, and some trimming to taste comes with the territory, but that’s the reason why brisket is generally a larger dish. Moreover, some degree of trimming usually occurs in the kitchen.
The portions of my dish that were edible were fantastic, and the coffee rub added tremendous flavor and texture…but this should’ve never left the kitchen with that much fat on it. (To put this into perspective, the Le Cellier filet mignon I had at last year’s Food & Wine Festival was larger than the edible portion of this dish.)
Sarah’s Pork Shoulder was similarly a very small dish; fortunately, it did not have this issue with fat, but it did have its own issue with taste. The meat was dry and lacking in flavor.
We remedied this with some of the Polite Pig’s delicious BBQ sauces, but that misses the point. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to expect to be able to enjoy meat–especially at these prices and portion sizes–without “enhancing” its flavor with a liberal application of BBQ sauce.
The sides were a totally different story. For mine, I ordered the Mac & Cheese with Aged Cheddar and Breadcrumbs. This was fantastic. A comfort food staple, this was rich, creamy, and had an exceptional texture.
Honestly, I could see grabbing this as a heavy snack to tide myself over until a full meal (elsewhere) on a return visit to Disney Springs.
Sarah ordered the BBQ Cauliflower with Paprika Sour Cream, which she absolutely loved. Raved about it even after our meal.
I’m not the best judge of a dish like this, but I found it better than okay. Considering my stance on cauliflower is “not even if my life depended on it,” that’s basically a rave review. I still would never order it on my own, but I wouldn’t choose death over eating this entire side, either. Baby steps.
The rolls were also fine (the online menu calls them Texas Toast, but ours most definitely were not–more like a slightly more buttery version of King’s Hawaiian Rolls).
Altogether, it was not a particularly filling meal and we both left hungry. I suppose this was fine for us, as we intended upon ordering a variety of desserts afterwards at Amorette’s Patisserie (which never disappoints!), but it would probably leave the average Walt Disney World guest a bit miffed.
Part of me really wants to believe our experience was a one-off, or part of early operations growing pains. However, our meal was nearly two months after they opened, and portions & prices are not exactly “one-off” type of things. Sure, maybe we could’ve been unlucky with the fat on the brisket or the dryness of the pork, but even if those dishes had tasted perfect, we still would’ve left hungry, and after having spent a lot of money.
I’m still cheering for the Polite Pig to get it right. It would seem that the husband and wife team behind the Ravenous Pig would know what they’re doing considering the popularity of their original location, but maybe they’re spread too thin here? Or, perhaps they took Rizzo the Rat’s, “they’re tourists, what do they know?” advice to heart when creating this sister location. Given the prices, we are not exactly eager to find out–at least not until we start hearing more positive things about the restaurant.
There is one caveat to this review: if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, the Polite Pig is an (objectively) excellent use of a counter service credit. No, it won’t make the portion sizes larger or flavor better, but it will take the sting out of the prices, which is a big part of the battle.
Moreover, if you’re already doing a table service dinner at Disney Springs (as you should), a light lunch is not necessarily a bad thing. I would not recommend the Polite Pig over D-Luxe Burger regardless of Dining Plan status, but that’s your obviously your call to make. (Even I would disregard my own advice if I had a counter service credit to burn on those St. Louis Ribs.)
If you are not on the Disney Dining Plan, I think doing a light meal at Homecomin’ (read our Homecomin’ Review) or Boathouse (read our Boathouse Review) makes a lot more sense. There are comparable, low-cost menu options at each of those restaurants that present viable alternatives. You’ll have a better and larger meal, pay about the same price, and have a full-service experience.
Overall, the Polite Pig is a strong concept with less than stellar execution that fails to live up to both the reputation of its sister restaurant and, independently, the high menu prices it charges. When you can order a larger, better, and cheaper meal from a table service restaurant at Disney Springs, something is amiss. The Polite Pig needs to address at least one of those three variables, otherwise it will earn a “why bother?” response from Walt Disney World guests.
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Have you dined at the Polite Pig? What did you think of your meal? Agree or disagree with our assessment? What did you order? Other tips for a meal at the Polite Pig? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!
If you like greasy food, then the Polite Pig is for you. We ate the Butcher Board for Two. The brisket was full of fat. The chicken was average. The shredded pork and sausage were ok. I rarely leave reviews but I have to tell you, the food is overpriced. Counter help was rude. I was hungry and my Brussels sprouts were good.
You must have gotten bad luck on your visit. I went in Nov 2020 (my only visit so far) and it was great. I will agree that the portions are smaller than most BBQ joints but I felt like it was quality over quantity. I ordered the Polite Pork Shoulder and asked them if they recommended it pulled or sliced and the guy at the counter recommended it pulled so I got it that way. It was simmering in its own juices and was delicious, as was the BBQ Cauliflower side and coleslaw I received. The sauces were great too although I barely needed them. My bread was different then yours – it was JalapeÃ±o Cornbread shaped like a muffin that was good – so looks like that has changed since your last visit. I also got a beer sampler of four of their home-brews from their sister restaurant which were nothing special but were fun to try and went well with the meal. I also really liked the drink selection they had here so maybe I’ll try one of their craft cocktails next time.
One more thing I want to point out is I arrived at Disney Springs at around 9:30PM after a day at Magic Kingdom in Nov 2020 (a week before Thanksgiving) when pretty much everything at Disney Springs closed at 10PM or before (COVID being the excuse). Polite Pig wasn’t even my first choice that night but everything that was supposed to close at 10PM was stopping food orders well before 10PM. By the time I found Polite Pig it was literally a few minutes before 10PM. Not only were they still open, but they were still taking food and drink orders as long as you were in line by 10PM. I thought that was really cool of them and they had some decent business because no one else at Disney Springs was serving food that late (except for the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM where I got dessert afterward). I ate on their outdoor patio (which is nice for the Disney Springs atmosphere) and didn’t feel rushed at all to finish my meal (I finished around 10:45PM). I would definitely recommend Polite Pig, especially if it is right before Disney Springs closing time as they won’t close early like other restaurants. If it wasn’t for Polite Pig taking food orders right up until 10PM I would’ve ended up having to taking an Uber offsite to a place like Wawa, Steak N Shake, or Waffle House for food.
AWESOME FOOD SERVICE AND QUALITY OF SELECTION.. WE WERE THERE OCT. 17 2020. WE RECOMMEND POLITE PIGS FOR SURE.
YOU GUYS ROCK
The Polite Pig Restaurant is AMAZING. I was there Oct. 18th 2020 all 6 of us were amazed and delighted with the food service the atmosphere. EXCELLENT SERVICE AND EXCELLENT QUALITY OF FOOD. OUR NEW SPOT……..
YOUR GUYS ROCK.
The Infante Family
My husband and I were there in December 2019 and I have to agree with most of this review. The food was decent (not great; I had the same issue as Sherry above with the very soggy bottom bun on my sandwich). The portion was adequate but small for the price. The cost for the sandwich would be okay if it came with a side, but I found it absurd to pay $16-18 for a (not very large) sandwich and 1 side.
Disappointed with the $12.00 pork sandwich I had. The pork was very dry and a couple of the bites were extremely salty. The coleslaw had very little flavor. I was also disappointed with the bun. I would guess the bread was at least two days old. It was dry on the top portion and completely soggy on the bottom. I did find the size of the sandwich appropriate. The resturant pulls one in with the wonderful smell then disappoints with poor quality. As for tipping. I have a policy of not tipping for counter food. How this form of tipping ever started is beyond me. I won’t tip for service before getting served either. That simply is beyond any tipping notion I have. I do tip nicely for great waitress service. If I am correct waiters make less than minimum wage so they earn their wage by performing wonderful table service. Not by simply handing me my foo and disappearing.
There are several reasons why your brisket was so bad:
– Meat not cooked long enough to render fat out (mine usually takes 15-18 hours). I see a lot of places that only do 8-hour smokes by wrapping in tinfoil for 4 hours.
– Meat is not being trimmed to levels needed. If the meat is being sold by weight the more fat left on after trim (and considering smoke times) means more profit.
– There are briskets and there are “prime briskets”. Anyone who takes smoking briskets seriously only use “prime” or even better. But better cuts of beef cost more which reduces profit margin.
The dried pork indicates to me that the meat was smoked/cooked at a higher temp (to shorten cook time). From it’s appearance it looks like it was cooked in a regular over vice in a smoker.
Considering what the owners are having to pay Disney for a site at the “Springs”, the likelihood here is that profit per ounce has more priority than a better product.
With this lack of quality and over-zealous pricing the owners better hope to maintain a revenue stream with primarily first-time customers.
My family and I visited the Polite Pig on our spring break trip this past April.
I remember the line to order was very long, at least 30 minutes. I guess it worked out alright since it gave me time to peruse the menu.
I don’t recall the BBQ being spectacular but I do remember enjoying the refillable soda machine (nice selection of craft sodas made with cane sugar) and my kids loved the desserts. We ordered both desserts offered since it was so hard to choose.
So, if you don’t come for the BBQ. Go for the sugar rush of soda and dessert!
The tip credit is $3.02 an hour, which means Florida employers may pay tipped employees as little as $5.08 an hour in 2017. However, if this lower minimum wage plus the tips the employee actually earns don’t add up to at least the full state minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.
My last WDW visit, I tipped my servers around 20%, and thought that I was being pretty generous, I don’t feel that that the drop off service were talking about here warrants that much though. Do you tip your server at Be Our Guest, which is the same situation?
We were there on opening day and have been several times since. The food and service is always excellent…the first real Carolina-style place in Central Florida. They dispense with the imagineered southern kitsch and fake southern drawls so prevalent at Homecoming (along with the best PR that money and comped meals can buy) and execute the food flawlessly and deliciously. It’s also rare to find any place that actually has Papy on their bourbon menu…which is a HUGE draw for those actually serious about a restaurants legitimate southern credentials.
Want to spent a buck short of $30 for fried chicken with a server straight outta Country Bear Jamboree? Be my guest and hit-up Homecoming. If you want good Carolina-style BBQ from the James Beard nominated James and Julie Petrakis family of restaurants, the Polite Pig is your place. Having never given a positive review to the glory of a Disney cupcake though, your mileage may vary.
How is fattie brisket and dried out pork shoulder good BBQ ?
The pictures of these items exhibit what is described.