Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is one of the most popular restaurants at Disney Springs, situating itself on the water across from Morimoto Asia in The Landing.
There’s probably a couple of reasons behind that positive reputation. First, the atmosphere is one of the friendliest and most-welcoming of any restaurant on property. While the space will be new to most diners, everything about it “feels” warm and familiar. That sense of comfort goes a long way when so much about a Walt Disney World vacation can be a stressful rush from one unknown to another.
The menu, featuring comfort food favorites, is probably the Springs’ most accessible as well with prices that are typically lower than other nearby table service eateries:
The menu is intelligently designed, leading with some of the more inexpensive sandwiches, virtually all of which taste fantastic and are large enough to satisfy just about any appetite. The appetizer list also draws in your typical tourist with the promise of biscuits, fried chicken, deviled eggs, and more.
You can pull up my full lunch/dinner review of Homecomin’ here, which includes pictures and thoughts on the majority of the food and drink available.
The rest of this review will focus on brunch, which is currently offered only on Sundays from 10am to 2pm. Note that the full menu is offered on Sundays beginning at 11am. So if your group is waffling between breakfast-y items and those that only appear later in the day, or somebody just wants a Fried Chicken Sandwich while everyone else is in the Eggs Benedict camp, you might look at a reservation closer to 11:30am than 10:15am.
Here’s a look at that brunch menu. I’ve added a red asterisk next to items that also appear on the lunch/dinner menu:
The offerings are relatively robust with a number of items featuring the restaurant’s Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits as the base.
To start, there are actually two House-made Doughnut selections on the menu. Above is the “Mini iced doughnuts piled with pecans, bacon and drizzled with house-made caramel,” a plate that comes in at $8. The other version is “Dusted with Sugar.” I’m happy to report that this may be the best item on the menu with three plump, soft, but firm doughnuts topped with an irresistible blend of lusciously sugary caramel, deliciously salty bacon, and crunchy spiced pecan pieces. These are as close to a “must-get” as we’ll probably ever see. Really incredible. The fruit was a nice change of pace from Disney’s usual blend of unripe, flavorless melon and old grapes. Raspberries and blueberries are a welcome sight with ripe strawberries, juicy watermelon, and a couple bites of tropical pineapple. Nice work.
The $12 “Church Lady Deviled Eggs – HFK-style whole deviled eggs” arrive “in carton” with one of the most precious food presentations that I’ve ever seen. Six whole eggs arrive, each impossibly creamy with an earthy accompaniment in the chives and a meaty finish with the prosciutto on top. Heavenly, really.
No good brunch goes by without a strong cocktail menu. Here’s what you’ll find at Homecomin’, again with a red asterisk next to drinks that appear during regular lunch/dinner service:
Five different takes on the Bloody Mary accompany two mimosa choices, a couple of sangria options, and an assortment of drinks that are available all day. I’m guessing you could order anything off the regular bar menu before 11am as well.
The $15 “Southern Mary – Crop Tomato Vodka, Whiskey Willy’s Bloody Mary Mix with pecan-smoked bacon, fried green tomato, pimento cheese stuffed olives, and seasoned salt rim.” Minus the skewer on top, this is a pretty basic mixture featuring Crop Tomato Vodka, which is a surprisingly light, smooth vodka on the palate with a zesty flavor that would mix well into a Bloody Mary that’s a lot less overbearing than this one. Any nuance from the vodka is eviscerated by what must be 12 ounces of the Bloody Mary Mix, which is a really flavorful, spicy blend on its own, which is good because it’s the only thing you’re going to taste. Grab the Fried Green Tomato and put it aside as quickly as possible or it’s going to get waterlogged – it’s already going to lose any semblance of crispiness. There’s a little bite of soft, flimsy bacon and a vinegar-forward olive with most of the pimento cheese stuffing washed away in there as well.
The $16 “Whiskey Mary – Ole Smoky Mango Habanero Whiskey, Whiskey Willy’s Bloody Mary Mix with bacon-wrapped ancho shrimp, pimento cheese-stuffed Fresno pepper” was a lot more innovative. The Old Smoky Mango Habanero Whiskey adds a little bit of a peppery kick on the back end by itself, complemented nicely with the sweetness of the mango. There’s still far too much mix involved, making for a very unbalanced sip in this instance. The toppings here suffer from a similar fate as the Fried Green Tomato with the soggy fried shrimp wrapped up in limp bacon. The pimento-stuffed Fresno Pepper was a winner though, balancing the mild fruity quality of the pepper with a little bit of smoke along with the creamy, spicy quality of the cheese. At this price point, it’s still difficult to recommend an ounce of whiskey that’s almost completely lost in pre-bottled mix, but I think this is the best value of the bunch.
As always, the website is a glutton for punishment as we have the “Bloody Maria – $16 – Dobel Humito, Whiskey Willy’s Bloody Mary Mix, and fresh lime juice with pimento cheese-stuffed celery, olives, Tasso ham and a seasoned salt rim.” This isn’t my first Bloody Maria, but it may well be my last. The addition of the lime juice means that somebody at the bar realized this needed to be citrus-forward, but it’s missing the orange and lemon juices that you’d expect to see, which would help bring out the rich flavors of what is a very good silver tequila. For the money, this should be a handcrafted cocktail using freshly-squeezed juice – not just tequila and store-bought mix. The highlight here is the celery, which soaks up a little bit of the spicy drink and pairs really nicely with the pimento cheese.
It’s a shame because there are some very good Bloody Mary cocktails around property, including this $14 one at Ale & Compass.
For less money, you come away with a lobster claw and a large, thick slice of house-made bacon. You can pull up my full breakfast review here.
Paddlefish, which also serves Sunday Brunch, offers up this $20 version with a King Crab Claw, Jumbo Shrimp, and a big piece of Candied Bacon. That review is available here. I’d much rather pay four more dollars to have this one imported from across the way.
California Grill Brunch, which I last reviewed here, is the gold standard at Walt Disney World with Bloody Mary cocktails that are also less expensive than the ones you’ll find at Homecomin’. And you get to pick your own five accompaniments, including jumbo shrimp. If you’re looking to celebrate a particularly special occasion, definitely pull that Cali Grill Brunch review up.
Anyway, hopefully Homecomin’ will start creating their own Bloody Mary mixes. They’re ripe for it.
The $10 “Blueberry Mimosa – A classic brunch staple with blueberry puree and fresh blueberries” was considerably better and I appreciated that it was mostly sparkling wine with a hint of fruity, fresh, vibrant blueberry. Very sippable, though like most $10 mimosas, may not take you very far.
The $12 “Princess Mimosa – A royal pour of bubbly with fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice” is on the expensive side. Over at Maria & Enzo’s, you can add endless mimosas to your brunch for $15, whereas just two here cost 60% more money. Of course, California Grill Brunch is $80/adult, but it includes bottomless sparkling wine. An entree and two mimosas here at Homecomin would set you back more than half the cost of Cali Grill brunch, but is obviously still a less expensive proposition. Anyway, this was a refreshing blend of cheap sparkling wine and orange juice – exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from a $6 mimosa.
The $12 “Florida Crush – Tito’s Handmade Vodka muddled with orange and strawberries, a splash of fresh squeezed Florida orange juice, and agave syrup” was another miss – all syrup and juice with no alcohol presence whatsoever. Disappointing.
Fortunately, the $12 “White Peach Sangria – La Perlina Moscato with muddled orange and mango, fresh peach puree, peach moonshine, and a moonshine-soaked peach wedge” was quite good with refreshing, bright fruit flavors showing through past the sweet wine and a little bit of peach moonshine. I’m not a big sangria person, but this was probably the best flavor-to-volume value on the menu.
The $12 “Moonshine Mash – Watermelon-infused moonshine, fresh watermelon, lime juice and simple syrup” is extremely fruity with a strong watermelon flavor, making it a good choice for someone looking to sip on something sweet that won’t cause you to drunkenly drop $2,000 at the Lilly Pulitzer store after brunch. Not that I have any experience with that.
Coming into brunch, I had visited Homecomin’ seven or eight times since the restaurant opened a couple of years ago. And after each visit, I heralded the cocktail list for offering strong drinks using quality ingredients at fair prices. That did not seem to extend into brunch. I’d hold off on the various Bloody cocktails until Homecomin’ starts producing their own mix. Or if you do spring for one, be aware that the mix is all you’re going to taste and you might ask about getting the garnishes on the side.
Here’s the regular bar menu:
For a fruity drink, consider the Sangria or the Blueberry Mimosa and for a stronger drink with bold flavors, consider one of the highlighted choices above.
If you’ve had the misfortune of following this website for some time, then you’ve probably run into pictures and descriptions of some pretty terrible food items. Typically, when something tastes bad, it also looks bad. This is very much not the case at Homecomin’, I don’t think. This is the “$18 Fried Green, Eggs and Ham – Open-faced big biscuit topped with griddled country ham, fried green tomatoes, fried eggs, shaved country ham and rémoulade sauce with choice of side item.” This is obviously a playful take on the Dr. Seuss book of a similar name with the fried green tomatoes taking over for green eggs.
Ignoring the focus problems, this looks really good and it’s a momentous amount of food for the money with the large halves of biscuit topped with a ton of griddled ham, then thick fried eggs, followed by a couple slices of fried green tomatoes, then even more shaved ham before being topped off with chives and rémoulade sauce. But it was so dry. And so bland. And I have no idea how. Poached eggs might have helped, but then you’re getting closer to an Eggs Benedict. A lot more of the rémoulade would have gone a long way. But Homecomin’s biscuits are so dry, crumbly, and flavorless that it’s almost a lost cause with those as the base. I wouldn’t recommend it, no matter how good it might look.
I’m not sure if the $18 “Grand-daddy Plate – Two eggs any-style, pecan-smoked bacon, griddled country ham, and choice of two sides” is named that because it’s supposed to be the senior special without a discount, but this also looks at least five times better than it tasted. On the plus side, the Potato Gratin Mash on the lower right is the best side of the bunch with impossibly creamy potatoes sitting underneath a thick layer of perfectly-melted cheese. Comfort food at its finest. And the fruit is again, probably the nicest assortment that you’ll find on property. The eggs were fine, but under-seasoned, and the griddled ham and pecan-smoked bacon both suffered from the same soft texture and a surprising lack of flavor.
It looks like a lot of food, but it wasn’t much more than adequate. Any number of standard Disney table service breakfasts would taste better for about 25% less money.
I know what you’re thinking: That $18 “Country Benedict – Open-faced big biscuit, two poached eggs, griddled country ham and house-made hollandaise with choice of side item” looks mighty good. But it’s mighty not.
And I have no idea why. I think it has to be the thickness of the dry biscuit muting the other flavors, but you’d certainly think what should be a rich hollandaise would counteract that. But six people at the table all agreed – a big, bland miss. On the plus side, the grits back there are creamy and comforting and while it’s not a large bowl, there’s certainly a lot of food on the plate, even if you can’t find anybody to eat it.
The $20 “Sunrise Burger topped with pecan-smoked bacon, a fried egg, white cheddar, and tomato-bacon jam on a brioche bun with choice of side item or chips” was probably the most disappointing dish that we were served. It resembles something that you’d expect to be served at Wendy’s with a side of three limp strips of bacon and again, a real dearth of flavor. The thin burger patty was overcooked and the egg was dry. There was nothing to freshen the flavor up other than a small dab of tomato-bacon jam, which didn’t do nearly enough. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at this if it was $10 at All-Star Sports, but it’s almost offensive served at a table service restaurant for $20.
Over at Paddlefish, this $16 Monte Cristo was so much better.
I know! The $22 “Short Rib Hash – Two sunny-side up eggs over our short rib hash with Brussels sprouts, potatoes, onions and red peppers served with a cheddar cheese drop biscuit and choice of one side” looks really good! But again, it was incredibly bland with just a couple bites of beef mixed in with a flavorless mixture dominated by unseasoned potatoes. On the other hand, that Potato Gratin Mash is delicious and I’ll give you one idea for free, Homecomin’ – you would kill it with some sort of breakfast potato pie.
Good news: The $22 “Hallelujah Biscuit – Open-faced big biscuit topped with Chef Art’s famous fried chicken, two fried eggs, pimento cheese, pecan-smoked bacon and smothered in sawmill gravy with choice of side item” steals the show and is easily the best of the brunch items. It pairs what Art Smith does best in the fried chicken with plenty of flavor from the rich, sausage-forward sawmill gravy and bacon that’s somehow crispier than what’s served on the side. There’s also a ton of creamy, spicy pimento cheese involved with a thick layer of egg underneath everything and on top of the still-flavorless biscuits. If you’re headed to Homecomin’ brunch soon, I’d share this and an order of the doughnuts and you should leave incredibly satisfied.
Here’s what the $26 “Shrimp & Grits – Pan-seared shrimp with tomato gravy and Tasso ham served over creamy Bradley’s grits” from the regular menu looks like. Those are not particularly large shrimp and the dish only arrives with about six, making it a risky value proposition. On the plus side, the shrimp are pan-seared to a nice crispiness and arrive on top of a bed of cheesy grits with with meaty ham pieces underneath a robust, spicy tomato sauce that’s packed with stuff. The flavor was complex, yet familiar, with a variety of textures, but I wouldn’t recommend it over some of the other regular lunch/dinner sandwiches at this price point.
Check out the full lunch/dinner review for my thoughts on the chicken and everything else.
Here’s what the $8 “Kiddos French Toast – Two slices of French toast served with choice of side item” looks like. With just two small, thin pieces, both of which appear to be burnt, I’m not sure how satisfying this would be to most kids. Add an egg and a slice of bacon and we’re probably in business, though.
Overall, our first brunch visit to Homecomin’ disappointed, particularly given relatively high expectations based on several successful visits. Of note is the fact that our meal was at 10am on the first day that the restaurant started serving brunch. On one hand, it’s not fair for a gaggle of bloggers to show up, order one of everything, and trash the place. On the other hand, if you’re serving $22 breakfasts, you better be able to impress anyone and everyone that walks through those doors from the get-go. The six of us were in agreement on just about every opinion in this review.
While we found brunch disappointing, there’s still plenty of great appetizers and sandwiches on the menu and it’s very possible that the brunch-exclusive items will improve in quality and execution. It took the kitchen a couple of months, working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to work out the kinks in the original menu. Hopefully it won’t take that long to rein in brunch or you’ll need to give them about six years.
On the plus side, the food does look very good. Family and friends will be jealous of that.
I’ll see about running a couple more Disney Springs brunch reviews over the next couple of weeks to do a little bit of a compare and contrast. If you want to go to STK, please let me know.