Disney Springs in Walt Disney World has been “open” for over a month, but almost daily a new shop or restaurant opens and July 12th was no different. Chef Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and graduate of the Walt Disney World Collage Program, opened his newest restaurant — Homecoming Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine. As a native of Florida, this location is a perfect fit not only in theme but also food style, as it offers a southern style real family food menu.There is nothing fancy about the food here — it is just good! From the famous Art’s Fabulous Fried Chicken to The Hamilton (a tasty sandwich named after Hamilton County, Florida where the Chef was born), this is where you go to get a true taste of the south. While a “foodie” I am not, the food was amazing! The Hamilton was a variation of a patty melt but very tasty. Meanwhile the Mac’ n Cheese was one of the best I have ever had. The fried chicken practically fell off the bone and was so juicy that my friend from Mississippi declared it the best fried chicken she had ever had.
Of course no meal is complete without a little dessert…or in this case a HUGE slice of one of Chef Art Smith’s specialties: Hummingbird Cake. Sure the cake is nothing new but each chef always brings a unique take to different dishes. In this case, whatever was added must have very addictive properties because, a day later, I still want another piece.Chef Smith is a Florida boy and, as a result, is proud of his state and even goes so far to showcase some of the local farms where he gets his produce. As I said, this location is a perfect fit for Disney Springs and the “old farm house” theme works perfectly while offering a beautiful dining experience. What would a new location at Disney Springs without a walk up window or bar? Don’t worry — the Shine Bar is open for those that want more of a casual experience.One thing I do have to say about Homecoming is, not only is the food amazing, but the staff were top notch and on top of everything. While dining I heard many questions pop up about the menu and not once did I hear a pause or “I have to check on that.” Something else that really impressed me is the presence of the Chef himself — Art Smith. I know, much like many of you, I have seen the Chefs there glad-handing guests on opening day, but this man was working not only to spend time with guests but was also in and out of the kitchen right down to delivering food when needed. He also spent some extra time with some of the Florida Police Officers who stopped by to dine on opening day, which was just one of those times you knew this was going to be a good place.Remember, on your next visit to Disney Springs, stop by Art Smith’s Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine for one of the best meals you will have.
No reservations are available at this time, but will begin August 15th. Plus, this location is on the Disney Dinning Plan and take one Table Service Credit.
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.