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City Works Eatery and Pour House more than holds up under pressure

Less than two weeks after City Works Eatery and Pour House had its official ribbon cutting and opened to the public at Disney Springs and it was already handling huge dinner crowds with the efficiency and customer service excellence of a well established restaurant. We were happy to be invited to return to experience a hosted media dinner for two to give the following Disney Dining review.

Set between the NBA Experience and Cirque du Soleil, the location is big, but does not feel cavernous. It’s 8600 sq ft of dining space, in a long rectangle. Tables, booths, high tops, and bar seating are your choices for dining. The huge windows looking out on to the Westside help the space feel very open. We also liked that the seating is not crowded in together so you don’t feel like you’re sharing your neighbor’s meal (or worse, conversation).

There are around 329 seats including the outside seating, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the crowds who descend on the Westside of Disney Springs nightly for its great entertainment, like the soon to reopen Cirque Du Soleil, which goes into previews next month. Given the crowds on the night we attended, the extra capacity is definitely needed.

On the night we visited The Daytona 500 was wrapping up its rain-delayed race. It was easy to follow along with the on track action by looking at one of the 17 huge TV screens along one wall of the restaurant, but if sports isn’t your thing, the design of the space includes floor to ceiling windows on the other wall which gives you good view for people watching the crowds of Disney Springs.

The audio level was managed with a state of the art audio visual system playing a pleasant mix of your pop and rock favorites. The sound level was loud, but I was able to clearly hear the person seated across from me without having to raise our own voices. We also really enjoyed the size of our booth table. There was plenty of room for all the drinks, plates, and whatever else we wanted to put on the table. These details seem small, but they add up to a great experience.

Our server was attentive, very knowledgable about items on the menu and quick to get an answer from the kitchen when we stumped him on a possible ingredient. He even had suggestions on which beers to try based on my preferences, which can be helpful when you’re starring down a list of 70+ beers and trying to make a decision.

I choose to order a beer flight of 4 six-ounce tasting portions. You can pick from their suggested combinations or build your own. Since my goal is to try new beers on every visit, I went with build my own. It comes on a fun serving tray with the names of the beers written down on a sheet of paper below. I recommend using that paper to make your tasting notes to help you remember which you might want to order on future visits. (I recommend Baby Cakes Oatmeal Stout and the City Works exclusive Sofie by Goose Island Beer Co. Farmhouse Ale / Saison).

When it comes to food, we’re a difficult couple to serve. I am on a plant-based diet and my wife can only eat a small list of things. The good news is that CityWorks was able to accomodate us both with no problems.

The menu is what I call elevated American. Not too fancy, but not your typical bar food either. I tried the Kung Pau Cauliflower appetizer which is vegan as is. It features roasted, but not breaded cauliflower, which I liked and a collection of other veggies and spices that rivaled the best kung pao I’ve had at any restaurant.

My wife really enjoyed her Bacon Cheeseburger, the star of which was the thick-cut candied bacon (they should add those as an appetizer option). The Impossible Burger does not come vegan, but it can easily be modified by switching out the bun. It comes with a vegan horseradish aioli which added some nice moisture to an otherwise dry and chalky bun (the one downside to this dish).

Both burgers came with fries spread out on a the plate. We found that by the time the food reached us the fries had cooled considerably. They weren’t cold, but weren’t out of the fryer hot either. This might be a matter of timing in the kitchen, but could be solved by serving the fries in a basket like they use in the fish and chips entree.

After the candied bacon, the highlight of the meal was the Baked Cookie Dough dessert. This will remind you of a Pazookie from that other chain, but CityWorks elevates it by adding caramel, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. It’s served with ice cream right on top, so you’ll want to dig into this dessert right away.

City Works also does a weekend brunch featuring Beignets using the same recipe as Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans and a variety of other brunch standards.

The location does take walk ups, but we recommend securing a reservation. The menu is available online if you want to get an early start on deciding which of the 70+ beers you want to order. Park in the Pineapple Lot or Orange Garage for the closest access to City Works Eatery and Pour House.