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Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Rise and Shine Brunch

With the transformation of "Downtown Disney" to "Disney Springs" at Walt Disney World has come a long list of new and exciting dining options.

One of the standouts among these is Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, known for its southern farm-to-table cuisine featuring a menu of comfort foods. On June 10th, 2018, Homecomin’ began offering a Sunday brunch option, The Rise and Shine Brunch. My family and I were able to secure a reservation for the first Sunday of this new dining opportunity and, I must say, we were impressed!

We arrived and were asked if we would like to sit inside or out and agreed that a very warm June day in Orlando required air conditioning. However, on a cooler day, the screened porch overlooking the springs would be a tempting option. Within a few minutes, we were seated and greeted by our waiter who was amazing through the entire meal. Following his recommendations, we began our meal with the Bacon and Pecan doughnuts. We received three amazing doughnuts covered in bacon and pecans, and drizzled with a house made caramel that melted in your mouth. The combination of sweet and savory worked well and was served with mixed fruit.

For our entrees, I knew that I wanted to have one of the signature dishes and chose the Chicken and Doughnuts, which came with a side item. I chose the southern classic, grits and I added the optional cheese and bacon. This item is always on the menu and is Chef Smith's take on the Southern classic dish, chicken and waffles. We also ordered the Hallelujah biscuit (a brunch exclusive), Capitol Meatloaf and the kids chicken tenders.

I was served a rectangle plate with 2 pieces of perfectly fried chicken (one breast and one thigh) served next to 2 house made donuts dusted in powdered sugar with a small cup of maple syrup for dipping and a bowl of grits. The chicken was perfectly cooked, juicy and delicious (second only to my grandmothers). The donuts were tasty and the grits were creamy, with the addition of cheese and bacon taking them to another level.

The Hallelujah biscuit is a large open-faced, house made biscuit topped with fried chicken, two fried eggs, pimento cheese, pecan smoked bacon and smothered with sawmill gravy. This also came with a side so my husband went with grits with bacon and cheese (I think out of fear that I might not share mine). Though heavy, this dish was as amazing as it sounds. The pimento cheese had a little kick to it, which added to the overall character of the dish. This item reiterated what our server told us at the start of the meal….nothing on the menu was healthy but it is all good.

Our daughter, who is not a breakfast eater went for the Capitol Meatloaf (so called from being frequently requested during Chef Smiths time at the Florida Governor's mansion). This item is found on the regular lunch menu. The brunch menu is available from 10 AM to 2PM on Sundays, with the regular lunch menu available after 11 AM. This is not a traditional meatloaf, at least not the meatloaf I grew up eating. This was really tasty but is served with no sauce on the meat but instead is served with a side of sawmill gravy or tomato gravy. The tomato gravy reminded me of a fresh house made ketchup. The mash potatoes were creamy and good, but most impressive to me was that the brussels sprouts were amazing. I am not usually a fan of brussels sprouts, so when I find good ones I must brag).

The fried chicken tenders on the kids menu were just as good as the fried chicken on the main menu. The homemade mac and cheese was truly homemade and delicious.

The brunch menu also includes several drinks not available on the regular menu, so in the interest of research, I had to partake. I decided to try the white peach sangria made with Moscato, muddled orange and mango, fresh peach puree and peach moonshine. I was presented with a huge glass of an amazing sangria, which I was thoroughly enjoying until the better half laughingly pointed out that it tasted like a fresh take on Boones Farm wine (though he gladly finished it for me when it was too much for me to finish). I think if I were to do this again I would have to try one of the moonshines, which is something they are known for and was recommended by one of the employees at a shop we stopped in prior to brunch. They have an extensive Moonshine list as well as a long list of house crafted cocktails, many of which incorporate the moonshine in the drink.

Overall, our entire family thoroughly enjoyed this experience. The atmosphere gives a welcoming, down home southern feeling and the food was southern comfort food at its finest. Our family tends to be Disney Foodies, going so far as to make dining one of the primary points of our vacation planning. Having dined at many of the restaurants around the Walt Disney World property, we would consider this among the best if you are looking for this type of food.

Stacy Earnhart is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel. She enjoys visiting the parks with her family and helping other families make magical memories.

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