Dinner at ESPN Club

I don’t think Matt and I can be at the BoardWalk Inn and not stop in to ESPN Club. Almost every visit, however, is for a beer or two, and any hunger is usually satiated prior to or after, usually at Epcot. This particular evening, however, we would be meeting up with others who had already eaten, and since it had been almost a year since our last dining experience, we decided to grab a bite while watching some golf.

While several items stood out to Matt, he ordered the ESPN Dingers – Chicken Breast Nuggets tossed in Medium, Hot, Flame, or Barbecue Sauce served with Celery and Blue Cheese Dressing. Matt ordered his “hot.” Once upon a time, these were served in a metal basket lined with paper. Now, they are presented in a bowl, and, quite honestly, look a lot more appetizing this way. Also, the price on this appetizer hasn’t changed since 2011, and you get a lot of chicken; Matt maybe made it through 2/3 of the dish. Teriyaki flavor is no longer an option, which was Matt’s favorite, but he was still happy with these. It seems to have disappeared from the menu since last August.

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With so many changes since the last time I really looked at the menu, I was having a hard time deciding what to order myself. But the Chicken and Waffles caught my attention. The dish features Jalapeño-Cornmeal Waffles, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Angry Maple Chicken Gravy. I had a hunch that the chicken wouldn’t be bone-in (though I had my fingers crossed), and I was correct. But the chicken was clearly different than what’s used for the Dingers.

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The chicken was served hot and fresh, and the batter was crispy with the chicken remaining tender. The gravy had some sweet notes and the maple flavor was noticeable, but I don’t really know why it was described as “Angry.”

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The waffles were like the ones served at Belgium during Food & Wine last year. The jalapeño gave a little bit of heat (you can see there were pieces of fresh jalapeño) to the waffle, but it was a far cry from being overwhelming. You could actually taste the jalapeño’s flavor. The texture of the waffle, because of the cornmeal, was somewhere between a standard waffle and cornbread, which I really liked.

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Here is the from our visit:

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espn-club-menu-8-71814The PB & J Burger is quite good.

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In all, we both enjoyed our meals. The Dingers have been a go-to and relatively consistent over the years we’ve ordered them. Regarding the entrees, the Chicken and Waffles is a stand out from the sandwich-heavy selections. If I wasn’t in the mood for one of the the burgers, I’d likely order the dish again over any of the sandwiches (thought the Grilled Vegetable Hoagie sounds like an interesting option for vegetarians). While it might be a while before we order food here again, it’s only because there are so many other places in “The World” to dine before we revisit. Well, revisit for more than just a couple beers and score updates, at least. 😉

Do you ever visit ESPN Club when you visit the BoardWalk Inn? Do you have a favorite menu item? (I know I’m probably opening up a can of worms regarding the Home Run Hot Dog…)

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6 responses to “Dinner at ESPN Club

  1. There are quite a few things that look good on the present menu. We rarely stop in here though… Usually just visit in October when we’re out and about with our Food & Wine Crew.
    The chicken and waffle would probably be good with some of the hot sauce on them instead of a “sweet gravy” (that just sounds yuck to my carolina ears).

  2. The menu has been steadily improving over the past several years, changing with the times and tastes of guests, and becoming a bit more “upscale” in terms of “bar food.” Sure, you can still get wings and nachos, but their burgers have interesting components, and even some of their sandwiches are a bit more developed with their ingredients. The beer selection has improved by leaps and bounds as well. The gravy was fine, accepting it for what it was, and it worked looking at it in such a way, but I agree. I would have like either a regular, peppery chicken gravy or something with a real kick! 🙂

  3. ESPN, Pecos Bill’s, Pizza Planet?….you sure have been slumming it the last few weeks. Looking forward to getting back to the better eateries of the World. LOL

  4. Me too – that’s one of the things you have to endure when you’ve got family visiting with several kids 8 and under. You’re certainly not bringing a 1 1/2 year old to a signature restaurant!

  5. I’ve never been to ESPN. I always want to get my beer fix at BRG. Looks like I’ll have to branch out a bit!

  6. Big River is great for their brews especially, and while ESPN offers beer you can get at Publix and Total Wine, they’ve come a long way since standard domestics and bottles/cans of Guinness, Harp, etc. I was just super enthused when they added taps to branch out from Bud Light, Yeungling, and I think Blue Moon. 😀