Note: All photos were taken before the coronavirus lockdown; masks and social distancing had not yet been mandated.
Here’s a little insight into the world of restaurant reviewing. Sometimes a restaurant gets visited and the review is written right away. It’s technically possible to write and publish a review before the credit card check slip is signed. That’s an advantage of the internet age.
A disadvantage, too. Sometimes it’s best to put some time between a visit and sitting down to write the review. Rumination can be a good thing. Plus, being the product of the print age, I had to plan which restaurants I would review weeks and sometimes months in advance. I still try to work ahead and visit restaurants that I won’t write about immediately.
That was the case when I ate at City Works Eatery and Pour House, a then-new restaurant and beer bar at Disney Springs, in early March. I remember having a conversation with my dining companions about this virus we were hearing about in the news. The U.S. had just seen its first case, but we had no inkling how things would quickly spiral downward. Two weeks later, businesses were closing, first voluntarily and then under orders. City Works went dark along with the rest of Disney Springs.
And when restaurants at the Springs started reopening, City Works took its time. But is open now, so I offer these somewhat historically tardy observations.
The food is above average, though the menu itself isn’t. It’s a familiar mix of sandwiches, burgers, tacos and typical bar bites. (City Works is reopening on a limited menu, so not everything I sampled may yet be available.)
The signature City Works burger was an impressive presentation of an eight-ounce prime beef patty, nicely cooked to the requested medium rare, sitting on a thickly sliced tomato and covered with melted cheddar cheese. A few shreds of iceberg lettuce were included between the toasted brioche bun. A huge chunk of dill pickle was stabbed through the top.
One of my guests had the grilled chicken sandwich, a moist breast layered with rashers of applewood smoked bacon atop more shredded lettuce than was on the burger. This one was served on a kaiser roll. (My recommendation: ask if you can have the burger on the kaiser instead of a brioche roll.) I liked the sweet potato fries that came with.
My other guest selected the chicken tinga tacos, a poultry version of pulled pork served in white corn tortillas with avocado, pickled red onions, freshly cobbed corn and white cheese.
City Works boasts more than 90 craft beers on tap, a third of which are meant to be from local breweries. The website states, “We’re beer geeks, not beer snobs.” But when I quizzed my server about the beer selection, listing some characteristics I look for, she couldn’t recommend anything. To her credit, she asked another staff member, whose recommendation wasn’t even close to what I had described. Maybe the staff spent some of the lockdown time sampling the beer list – I know I would have.
The City Works space is large and capacious, more than 8600 square feet, which may help to put on-premise diners at ease. The atmosphere is typical sports bar, just waiting for the sports to begin. In addition, it offers several outside tables, open-air but with a cover overhead.
City Works is a brand owned by Bottleneck Management out of Chicago. The Disney Springs location is one of nine.
City Works Eatery and Pour House is at Disney Springs, 1486 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-801-3730.