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DINING REVIEW: Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'

When recommending restaurants on Walt Disney World Resort property, there's one meal I feel compelled to champion: Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' dinner. It's become my most-regular dining spot as a local, and, before getting into the full breakdown, know that it should be at the top of your priorities when booking your dining reservations.

A Homely Atmosphere

As I wrote in our dining review for Homecomin's brunch, the restaurant's interior, with its large windows and vaulted ceilings, is gorgeous and perfectly melds casual dining with something more formal and upscale.

Though especially at dinner, I prefer to sit outdoors. Live music in the evenings transforms an already-relaxing dining environment to something more special and memorable.

The waitstaff is similarly great here, too. Connections have always felt personal with Homecomin's staff, with waiters taking the time to get know us on every occasion that I have been (though especially here at brunch). They're also great at customizing the dishes to your liking, even if you want to create some combination of items not technically on the menu. It all forwards everything Homecomin' presents itself as: a restaurant that makes you feel like a local.

Home for Adults

Homecomin' is great for families, with approachable food and a phenomenal-but-casual atmosphere.

But it is equally as great for a party of adults, with a robust drink menu of moonshine, bourbon and beer. It is one of my favorite places on Disney property to stop and get a drink, with the moonshine bar accepting walkups and offering a refillable cup that will give a discount the next time you top and get a drink there. With quality ingredients and heavy pours, Homecomin' is a drinking experience that cannot be missed.

Home-Grown Soul Food

Make no mistake, the primary reason to visit Homecomin' is for some of the best food at Walt Disney World Resort. Farm-to-table dining means just about everything in the menu is freshly brought in from Florida or is made in-house (like the hot honey, which you should order on the side of any and every dish on the menu).

The Church Lady Deviled Eggs, Bee Haven Bay Fried Green Tomatoes, Bunch of Puppies—complete with pimento cheese and red jalapeño jelly—and Okra Fries are all your standard southern appetizers. But make no mistake here, as they are anything but plain. Each is so flavorful and rich that I am hard-pressed to choose only one each time I go, and my best advice is to simply go by the table's preference if you're going to share (which believe me, is not an easy feat considering just how good they are).

The Key West Shrimp Cocktail was the biggest surprise of the bunch. It demands you forget about any preconceptions as to what a shrimp cocktail consists of, with this reimagining featuring seasoned shrimp tossed with avocado, mango, cucumber and a house-made cocktail sauce. It is served with buttermilk crackers, and it's as light and complex as can be. Those who aren't fans of traditional shrimp cocktails, especially because of the horseradish-laden sauce won't find such a distinct taste here, and thus is is the perfect option for those wanting something on the lighter side.

That's because the star of the show for dinner is the decadent Art's Famous Fried Chicken. The menu reads it as buttermilk-brined for 24 hours then perfectly fried and served with creamy mashed potatoes, a cheddar drop biscuit and love. I'm of the type to swap my mashed potatoes for the dense, heavy mac and cheese, which together maintains this as one of my favorite meals from anywhere out of all my travels.

You can't go wrong with any of the sandwiches or salads, and the appetizer Thigh High Chicken Biscuits makes for an incredible meal when paired with a side. I maintain though, that if this is your first time at Homecomin', some of the best fried chicken in the world is the way to go.

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