Located on Walt Disney World's Boardwalk, this micro-brewery and restaurant simulates a beer factory and offers a number of intriguing beers, with its ... More
Big River Grille and Brewing Works
Located on Walt Disney World's Boardwalk, this micro-brewery and restaurant simulates a beer factory and offers a number of intriguing beers, with its specialties changing frequently. For dining, try a rib-eye steak or pork chops, perhaps, but the real emphasis here is on the restaurant's home-brewed beers. A USD5 sampler of five beers offers you an opportunity to sample the offerings and choose your special favorite. On weekends, this popular eatery fills quickly on weekend nights and does not accept reservations, so be prepared for a wait. You do not need to pay to enter the park to visit this restaurant.
The beer is pretty good, especially the stout. I didn't like the brown ale, which is normally my favorite style of beer at micro breweries.
The cheeseburgers are enormous and delicious, although pricy. The meatloaf is the best I've had.
The service is acceptable but not outstanding.
The place is crowded with a long wait, and the low ceilings make it very loud. My wife loved the food but doesn't want to go back because of the noise. It's not like they are playing loud music either, it's just a roaring din of conversation.
The food prices are a little high, but the beer prices are very cheap. The beer is a real bargain, especially if you get the sampler.
If you are in a hurry, I recommend eating at the bar, where you will get seated almost immediately and get much faster service than at the tables. The bartenders seem to be more attentive than the servers, but maybe the server's brains are fried from all the noise.
If you don't mind waiting, I recommend eating outside, where you can enjoy the Disney-created ambiance of the Boardwalk along with some fresh air as opposed to the crowded and noisy atmosphere inside.
You can enjoy some of the Boardwalk's shops while you wait as long as you are within range of the pager.
Not only do I plan on returning, I have returned, (for a beer when I'm walking by), but will only eat outside from now on.
I have never been a fan of meatloaf and have never ordered it off a restaurant menu until one time while at Big River. Now, we make Big River a regular stop for dinner whenever we are in the Disney area. The restaurant is small, noisy and overly crowded but the meatloaf is the best we've ever had. Also, try the beer sampler. You get several small glasses of different beer types. Makes for a fun experience. Overall, we rate this as GOOD.
We are Disney Vacation Club members who own at the Boardwalk Resort, and when we stayed there for the third time last summer we finally got around to trying out Big River Grill.
Pluses: small but ecletic menu, and certainly a wide enough range of micro brews to please the pickiest drinker. Unlike one of the prior reviewers, I thought the meatloaf was quite good, as well as the salads.
Minuses: slowish service and proverbially crowded during prime meal times (seating here is limited, maybe 20 tables tops).
Note that if you try to make a reservation for this place through Disney Dining, you'll be told this restaurant doesn't take reservations.
That is erroneous. Big River does take requests for so-called "priority seating" (a term Disney used to use for its reservations). Priority seating translates into "call us directly (not through Disney) and we'll let you book a time. When said time arrives, you'll get the first available table."
Note that stil could involve a wait, depending upon how quickly tables are turning over. But a 15 to 20 minute wait for a decent table service meal in the Epcot resort area -- especially during high seasons -- is a gift from heaven.
Bottom line: if you're desperate for a micro-brew and some acceptable food to go with it, this is pretty much your sole option at Disney World. If you visit, please, do call them in advance to book a time; trust me, upon arrival you'll be glad I asked you to (on any evening between 6:30 and 9 or so the lines outside this place are horrendous).
Our second home is Boardwalk. I must admit, we haven't eaten at Big River in years, but, none the less, I stop by here frequently during our visits to WDW. Our last two visits placed us in rooms that were literally a long piece of string and a dangling beer mug away from Big River when sitting on their balconies. I thought of lowering down a tener and a note on more than one occasion, but never did. I think there is a rule about their product leaving their non-Disney premises that would have prevented the exchange anyway.
I love microbrews and Big River is the only place in WDW to find them. I will often slip away by myself in the evening to have a brew, or two, at Big River. If the smell of hops gets your heart thumping, and you find shiney stainless steel brewing equipment mesmerising, Big River awaits. If food interests you more than beer, steer clear.
We are DVC members at the Boardwalk and we alway's eat here everytime we come home. We never had a bad experience and the food is very good. Our last trip was Oct.2005 and we had family friends come down to see us and their one daughter has down syndrum and they were very very nice about seeing to her needs. By all means I would go back.
Stopped in for dinner on our way to Jellyrolls. Beer was ok -- not many selections. The food was wretched. My hazelnut crusted chicken tasted like an overcooked shake 'n bake pork chop. We've been back to Boardwalk a number of times but bypass this establishment.
I eat out alot and I have never had a worse meal or service in my life !!! Then to top it off it was $106.40 for a few beers and 4 burgers. To add insult to injury the gratuity was included, Never before have I seen gratuity included for a party of 4. This was in January and I am still pissed about it. These people should be shot !!
It was raining & we were on the bottom floor of the boardwalk villas (very close to the restaurant). It always smelled great (I remember from our last trip at the Beach Club, as well) and I had always wanted to try it. Well, there were 4 adults and 2 kids (1 just turned 1 and the other 8). I heard they have great beer. DH liked it. It was very crowded (not with people..there was no space!) No kid menus..but served the reg. kid fare of chicken tenders. I had a salad (the balsamic was gross!) I Love balasamic, btw. The meatloaf was as hard as a brick and darker than the soot from a woodstove! Overall...think charbroiled beyond charbroiled and that is what this place was. The wait staff was OK, but seemed less than polite when we complained baout how nasty the food was. I will NEVER eat there again. Maybe go there for a beer, but end it there.