• Thursday, August 13, 2020
The Story Behind the New Dining Concepts at Disney Springs

The Story Behind the New Dining Concepts at Disney Springs

Among the seemingly never-ending changes happening at Disney Springs these days, a group of four long-awaited new concepts officially opened in the first week of January. Much like the rest of Disney Springs, The Edison dining and entertainment complex has a fully developed backstory that  ties together each new establishment and fits it into the overall history of the Springs.

Disney Springs was once home to a small art-deco airline terminal that was very popular in the 1930s and had flights from all over the world landing on the Buena Vista Lake. Once larger, more modern airliners became more popular, the tiny terminal had to shut down.

Maria and Enzo, the owners of a bakery formerly located in the lobby, decided to buy the air terminal and reopen it as Pizza Ponte, a quick service Italian restaurant. Pizza Ponte offers Sicilian style pizza by the slice, sandwiches, and Italian pastries like tiramisu, bomboloni (Italian doughnuts), and sfoglia di riso (pastry with rice cream).

After much success with Pizza Ponte, they decided to open a full service restaurant called Maria & Enzos in what was formerly the departure lounge. Maria & Enzo’s is an elegant casual dining spot that celebrates the “Golden Age of Travel” that existed when the airline terminal was thriving. The main lounge dining room, decorated with maps and images of historic flight paths, is primarily on the lower level with a few seating areas in second level balconies. Also on the ground floor is the First Class lounge, which offers a more intimate, higher level of service including a complimentary cocktail and flight wings for kids. The menu, crafted by Michelin star chef Theo Schoenegger, is full of family-friendly dishes inspired by Sicily. A few options include arancini di carne (rice balls stuffed with meat), melanzane parmigiana (eggplant parmesan), a variety of handmade pastas, fresh fish, and steaks.

When Maria and Enzo purchased the complex they did not know about the series of tunnels that were located underneath the terminal, which apparently served as a secret bootlegger’s hideout. After Enzo discovered the tunnels he repurposed them into Enzo’s Hideaway, an underground lounge. As you go inside Enzo’s Hideaway you’ll find a small entryway into the windowless tunnels with graffiti covered walls on your way to the Tunnel Bar, where you’ll find Prohibition-era cocktails. The underground spot also offers a casual menu made up of Roman pasta dishes like bucatini alla carbonara or tonnarelli cacio e pepe. Every Sunday, Enzo’s Hideaway hosts a weekly Sunday supper with meats and cheeses imported from Italy. You can purchase wine to accompany your Sunday dinner or bring your own, there’s no uncorking fee! In addition to weekly supper the restaurant has a monthly “Smugglers Series”, which is a ticketed event featuring unique food and drinks.

The Edison is a 1920s power plant that has been reopened as an industrial gothic nightlife spot, featuring a full restaurant and several bars. The main dining room also features a dance floor and stage that hosts a unique lineup of nightly live entertainment including musicians, aerialists, and dancers. The venue has three different bars, one is on the upper level catwalk while the Boiler Bar and Breaker Bar are both on the lower level. In total, the unique restaurant has seven different themed areas to explore: The Lab performance space, The Ember Parlour, Telegraph Lounge, The Patent Office, The Radio Room, and the Waterfront Patio. The Contemporary American menu created by Chef PJ Finneran offers comfort items with a modern twist, such as pork belly pops with a chile brown sugar glaze, crispy fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits, and the signature Edison burger, which is made of a combo of house ground sirloin, shortrib and brisket topped with Cabot cloth bound cheddar cheese, onion rings, smoked bacon, house pickles, lettuce, tomato and a special sauce. The beverage menu is made up of unique crafted cocktails, an interesting selection of beer and wines, and house made punches that can serve 2-10 guests. The restaurant also offers a late night “Bartenders Breakfast” menu  The Edison is open from 11:30 am – 1:00 am Sunday through Wednesday and stays open til 2:00 am Thursday through Saturday. Each night, entrance is 21 and older after 9:00 pm.

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