In terms of background, Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue is joining the World Showcase culinary lineup, replacing the American Adventure’s previous counter service eatery, Liberty Inn. That restaurant quickly closed several months ago, right after adding a special Guardians of the Galaxy summer menu.
Walls went up in short order, pretty much right after Walt Disney World announced the new restaurant. You might recall that we’ve been championing the name “Regal Eagle’s Distinctly Patriotic Smokehouse: A Salute to All Foods, But Mostly Barbecued Meats ~ A Sam Eagle Craft Drafts & BBQ Joint” for this new restaurant. Even though there has been a decreased Muppets presence at Walt Disney World since our crusade began, our spirits remain high. We’ll keep fighting the good fight, but in the meantime, here’s the latest on Regal Eagle…
For starters, Walt Disney World has announced that Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue will open this winter. That’s the same timeframe as the Space 220 Restaurant, and we’re pretty much equally hyped for both venues. As we’ve noted in our commentary about Space 220, “this winter” doesn’t mean “between now and the end of 2019.”
Technically, Winter 2019 begins on December 21, 2019 and ends on March 19, 2020. While we’re anxiously awaiting both restaurants, and we suspect Walt Disney World would love to have them open for the lucrative Christmas season, we wouldn’t be surprised if both open in 2020.
As excited as we are for both Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue and Space 220, we’d honestly prefer that these restaurants open later rather than sooner.
Liberty Inn wasn’t exactly the most thematically-compelling restaurant, and Space 220 hasn’t been fully enclosed for that long (pictured above as of late last month). More time spent building, decorating, and finishing their interiors is ideal. Waiting a few extra months (or an extra trip, as the case may be) is nothing when considering the reality that these spots will be around for decades to come.
Plus, Imagineering will likely have to redo signage and design details once someone finally comes to their senses and accepts “Regal Eagle’s Distinctly Patriotic Smokehouse: A Salute to All Foods, But Mostly Barbecued Meats ~ A Sam Eagle Craft Drafts & BBQ Joint” as this location’s rightful name. It’s the only logical choice for a dignified and stately venue such as this one.
The menu for the restaurant currently known as Regal Eagle Smokehouse will include a variety of sandwiches and platters as well as a plant-based option.
On the sandwich front, Regal Eagle will offer a sliced Texas beef brisket sandwich with house-made spicy mop sauce on garlic toast and the South Carolina smoked sausage sandwich with tangy mustard sauce and caramelized onions.
For an all-American burger, try the grilled burger topped with BBQ pork and a fried onion ring.
It’s not clear yet whether Regal Eagle will serve normal Walt Disney World counter service burger patties, which feature a proprietary blend of cardboard, capybara, and aged hyena meat, or something like the signature patties at D-Luxe that feature brisket, angus, chuck, and short rib. It should go without saying, but we’re hoping for the latter.
For a lighter option, Regal Eagle Smokehouse will serve the Power Greens Salad with chilled pulled chicken, fresh citrus, and a citrus vinaigrette.
As part of Walt Disney World’s plant-based initiative, there will be a BBQ “burger” featuring a plant-based patty topped with BBQ jackfruit served on vegan garlic toast.
Regal Eagle will also serve Kansas City smoked chicken, Memphis dry-rub pork ribs, North Carolina chopped smoked pork butt. These will be available as entree-only options or as part of platters with sides.
It’s pretty cool to see American Adventure embrace the culinary diversity of the United States–but all via the overarching concept of BBQ. I hope this comes through in the execution of these dishes, and not just their names. It’s an ambitious but achievable idea.
Side items include french fries, beer-battered onion rings, mac & cheese, baked beans with burnt ends, house-made pickles, and creamy slaw. (If the sides are even half as good as what’s served at Polite Pig, we’re in for a treat!) Desserts will include banana pudding, a s’mores brownie, and a cup of fresh watermelon garnished with torn mint.
Barbecue sauces will include a spicy mop sauce, sweet BBQ, tangy mustard, and a vinegar-based sauce. As with the dishes themselves, it sounds like we’ll be treated to a variety of different sauces favored by various regions.
Kids can enjoy their own fun-sized bites including a burger, BBQ chicken salad, BBQ chicken leg or chicken salad, and even a BBQ rib platter, all served with their choice of two sides.
Beverage offerings will include a selection of craft beer and cider from around the United States, wines from the west coast, and specialty regional cocktails with and without alcohol. These will be served at an outdoor bar pouring craft brews on draft, and the outdoor seating area will be a great place to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere of World Showcase.
Overall, Regal Eagle Smokehouse shows a lot of promise, and will likely get even better once they fix the name. For years, Walt Disney World fans have clamored a restaurant in American Adventure offering a culinary tour of the United States. As compelling as that’d be in theory, the reality likely would’ve been a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ dining spot attempting to do too much. Regal Eagle Smokehouse could sidestep that by only attempting to do one thing–barbecue–but presenting an array of regional spins. If it lives up to its potential, this could end up being one of the very best counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World. We can’t wait!
What do you think of “Regal Eagle’s Distinctly Patriotic Smokehouse: A Salute to All Foods, But Mostly Barbecued Meats ~ A Sam Eagle Craft Drafts & BBQ Joint”? Do you agree or disagree with our take on this replacement and addition to World Showcase? Will you be shedding any tears over the loss of Liberty Inn or that “inter-galactic” Guardians of the Galaxy menu? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!