Jul 28

Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine

Laurie gives us a great review of the new restaurant in Disney Springs – Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming.

 

The Disney Springs backstory drastically changed when Town Center was added. Now the creek is 13840390_10153932197548883_1896979375_owhere people settled in the 1850’s, then Marketplace opened up, then the arcade and The Landing. Sprinkles, Homecoming, and D-Luxe Burgers are in farmhouses that were converted to businesses.

I rolled my scooter up to a flat entry area where staff opened the door for me. I was in awe at the glass house with ceiling to floor glass. The check in desk was a huge solid wood fortress which I feel is great because the staff have lots of room for supplies and menus. WOOD FLOORS!! On the left is a beautiful bar surrounded by banquette seats and armless chairs.

13838043_10153932197583883_405446019_oThis has to be the biggest Florida room ever. Instead of screens, there is glass walls. I can imagine a chef lost on the creek when he sees this old ranch house. He uses lots of wrought iron and burlap for decorating. I stopped and stared at the burlap on the chandeliers, then noticed the feed sack design on the furniture. Hardwood floors make it easy to keep the place clean. 13833323_10153932197578883_915768614_o

The tables are spaced out to allow some elbow room. Overall the seating, lighting, flooring, and spacing makes this a disabled friendly place. They offered to let me take my scooter to my table. The place has a beautiful riverside painting with a gorgeous egret. All around are moonshine jugs and crates.

The best dish was the Hamilton Burger with two fine-ground burger patties, white cheddar cheese, grilled onions, tomato slices, bread and butter pickles, and a chow chow pickled relish. I used my own bread but Chef Smith is working with local food writers and site owners to find vegan and gluten free options. I loved two perfect patties topped with a subtle cheese. The pecan smoked bacon was meaty with smoky hints for one of the best bacon I have ever had. The grind is an issue for me but still this gets top five WDW burgers. The blend of juicy beef, subtle cheese, and veggies that does not bore the palate. This is the pride of Hamilton County, FL which is where Jasper is located.

13835591_10153932197653883_879824797_oThe two side dishes were soft in texture so let them know if you want almost raw sweet taters and greens. I had a cast iron pot full of kale, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and onions. This tangy dish was ideal muse to the sweet tater cube while both are perfect with any entree. The touch of cane sugar pools at the bottom so one can eat just sweet tater cubes or slather the cubes with sugar cane goodness.

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I liked the shrimp cocktail though a bit spicy it was a perfect blend of shrimp, avocados, onions, tomatoes, and secret sauce. Another spicy dish was authentic chunky grits with Tasso ham gravy and shrimp. This is not cheese grits or the commonly served corn purée. It reminds me of my Dad’s grits.

I strongly recommend Homecoming to all guests. The creek view is realistic and there is a patio for dining. There is a bar that serves Florida alcoholic beverages and moonshine. One can come for a drink with friends without a reservation. This Florida Room is designed for all types of guests and their needs and desires. They have chicken and donuts, biscuits, chicken and dumpling soup, fish, chopped pork, salads, hush puppies, desserts made in Jasper, Jasper board, anything fried, and sweet tea. Kids can have cheeseburgers, fish sticks chicken, and tenderloin with mashed potatoes, greens, veggies, and donuts with ice cream.  There are a few take away dishes like fried chicken. I want to sit on the porch while eating the Jasper Board, chopped salad, steak with palmetto butter, mashed taters, sweet taters, greens, and ice cream topped off with sweet tea. That would be a perfect day, indeed.

13844036_10153932197648883_1615008133_oCharles Smith grew up in Jasper, Florida which is 170+ years old. The area mainly consisted of Georgians and other Southerners looking for land, elbow room, and prosperity. After years working for celebrities and establishing himself as a top chef, there came a time when he went home for good. He goes by the name of Art Smith and is renown for civil rights, rebuilding Jasper, and teaching kids how to cook.