Food Type: Officially “Cajun and southern,” but mostly sandwiches, burgers, and salads
Dining Plan: NO
Cost: Appetizers are $9-$11. Entrées are $12-$27. The “Gospel Brunch” occurs on Sunday at 1030am and features an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast buffet and live gospel music. Adults are $33.50 and children 3-9 are $17.25.
Setting: The House of Blues at Downtown Disney is one of 13 locations nationwide. There is live music most days and nights, but you’ll want to check the schedule at http://www.houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/orlando/ to find out who’s playing and whether or not it’s something you might be interested in. The outside of the restaurant features a 100 foot tall water tower and the interior is themed like an old house on the Orleans bayou. Inside you’ll also find the artwork of Dr. Imagination and the House of Blue’s staple, the crazy quilt. Supposedly there’s a box of mud from the Delta Mississippi under the stage, but I’ve never asked to see it. Maybe when I become a rock star they’ll show me.
Advantages: There are usually talented musicians playing for free on stage. The menu features a wide variety of items. The sandwiches are moderately priced in the $12-$15 range. You can bypass the line to get into the show if you get your receipt signed. The voodoo shrimp and rosemary cornbread appetizer is delicious. The jambalaya, ribs, Elwood sandwich, and shrimp po-boy are also recommended. This restaurant is not on the Dining Plan, so it is likely that you can walk up and get a table, unless there is a popular act playing. Usually open until at least midnight and later on weekends.
Disadvantages: Not on the Dining Plan. This isn’t a restaurant where you’ll likely be holding a conversation unless there isn’t a band playing. Service isn’t consistently excellent. I wouldn’t recommend the pasta.
Value: Above average. The menu is diverse and has a number of different price points and options. Any of the $12 sandwiches would be tasty and filling and many of the more expensive specialty entrées like the jambalaya and baby back ribs are good as well.
Reputation: The House of Blues is another restaurant that doesn’t participate in any of the Disney Dining Plans. It’s unfortunate, because it means a lot of people won’t give this place a try. The food is consistently good and the atmosphere is among the best at Disney World, especially if talented musicians are on stage. The gospel breakfast is also a fun way to eat as much of the delicious rosemary cornbread as you want and listen to some great gospel music. The buffet offers a wide variety of food from made to order omelets to southern fried chicken to bacon and sausage. If you’re hungry, awake, and enjoy Gospel music then check out their website linked above to purchase tickets. If you aren’t on the Dining Plan and enjoy live music then the House of Blues is worth a look.