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Pollo Campero - Fresh A-Peel

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of McDonald's. So when their contract expired and they pulled out of the four Disney World theme parks, I was thrilled. Disney offers decent counter service fare and McDonald's fries weren't really needed.

However, I've always felt that McDonald's filled a void at Downtown Disney. Although there are several kid-friendly spots like Rainforest Café and T-Rex, there is a severe lack of eating establishments that offer inexpensive options for the entire family. So when McDonald's closed their doors at Downtown Disney earlier in the year, I was concerned -- but I didn't need to be.

Several days ago, Pollo Campero - Fresh A-Peel opened in the vacated McDonald's building in the Marketplace section of Downtown Disney.


Pollo Campero Exterior

Pollo Campero Exterior

Pollo Campero Sign


The first Pollo Campero restaurant opened in Guatemala in 1971 by the Gutierrez family. Their chicken was hand-prepared every day and marinated with a special blend of Latin herbs and spices " a tradition that continues to this day. The restaurant was an immediate success and additional locations began to spring up. In 2002 they opened their first U.S. location in Los Angeles. Today there are over 320 Pollo Campero restaurants in a number of countries around the world.

I stopped by today with my friend Donald for a look around. For those of you familiar with the old McDonald's, you can see that the basic floor plan is much the same, but the restaurant has received a makeover and has a completely new and fresh feel.


Ordering Stations


There are two food-ordering stations. Pollo Campero serves the traditional Latin chicken recipes and Fresh A-Peel has healthier choices. Pollo Campero offers four individual meals, traditional fried chicken, citrus grilled chicken, chicken strips, and a fried or grilled sandwich. These come with one side. Or, a family-size serving is available (feeds 3-4) and comes with several side orders. Here is a picture of their food counter.


Pollo Campero Food Selections


Fresh A-Peel offers healthier selections. Here you can order a hamburger with hormone-free ingredients and a fat-free “secret sauce,” an all-beef hot dog on a multigrain bun, and a number of freshly made salads and wraps.


Fresh A-Peel Food Selections


I ordered the mini-burgers (with a side of fries from the Pollo Campero counter) and Donald ordered the traditional fried chicken with a side of black beans served with tortilla chips. We were both pleased with the taste. Donald said the fried chicken had a distinctive flavor that he enjoyed. And I would never know that the “secret sauce” on my burger was fat free. My only complaint was the size of my beef patties. I felt they could have been a little larger.


Chicken Meal

Burger

Small Beef Patty


A topping bar is located in the middle of the dining room and offers Onions & Cilantro, Roasted Chipotle Salsa, Pico de Gallo, Jalapeños, and Green Tomatillo Salsa.


Topping Bar


Soft drinks (Coke products) are ordered at the cash register and filled at the beverage station.


Cash Register

Drink Station


A Latin Drink Bar offers such delights as fruit smoothies, watermelon sangria, and beer. An adjacent outdoor bar offers table service for al fresco imbibing.


Latin Drink Bar

Outdoor Latin Drink Bar

Outdoor Seating


Another truly unique offering in this establishment is the Bakery sponsored by Babycakes NYC. All of their mouth-watering vegan/kosher desserts are:

Refined sugar free
Gluten free
Wheat free
Soy free
Casein free
Egg free

Here it's possible to be bad and good at the same time! No permanent menu is posted as the selections change daily.


Bakery

Bakery


Here are few pictures of the dining room.


Restaurant Seating

Restaurant Seating

Restaurant Seating


Pollo Campero is open daily from 8am to 11pm. At the moment, I do not have their breakfast menu, but I'm working on it. Currently, this establishment is NOT on the Disney Dining Plan or Tables in Wonderland. This may come about in the future, but I can't give you any timetable.

Donald and I enjoyed our meals and would return in the future. The prices are reasonable and I think picky kids would enjoy the chicken strips and fries. So next time you're at Downtown Disney and would like a quick meal without sacrificing flavor for convenience, give Pollo Campero " Fresh A-Peel at try.



The previous post in this blog was Letter Perfect - Animal Kingdom - Part Two.

The next post in this blog is Letter Perfect - Epcot - Part Three.

Comments (22)

Jim:

Wow great information I was waiting to see what they were doing with the property. This will be a stop for me on my next visit to check it out.

Karen:

We stopped by after the Masters Art Show on Saturday and sampled the grilled chicken, which was wonderful, but the star of the show was the Bakery. We sampled the vegan cupcake tops which had a thick lemony frosting made with Agave instead of sugar. They were sooo good we ended up taking 4 home with us. What a great place !

Joann Habron:

You have no idea how excited I am about this place. My son is autistic and on a very restricted diet. He is going to be so happy to actually have several choices to pick from. That bakery looks amazing and is a true blessing!!

Liz Herms:

My husband and I stopped for lunch on their second day. The line to order is a little confusing, maybe they will work on that but the food was excellent. My husband had the fried chicken which he said was very moist and I had the quarter grilled chicken which had a great taste and was also very moist. He had the beans and rice with his, so I ordered the plantians and we shared. With the unique condiments and sauces and the torillas it was more than enough for the both of us. Next time I will check out the bakery, I am definitely going back. This is a great addition to DD.

Linda:

Two of my children are on very restricted diets. I cannot wait to take them to this bakery and let them pick out whatever they want. It all looks so good - just like the sweets they cannot have but watch everyone else eat.

Jenny Sperandeo:

Hi Jack! Although noone in my family has any dietary issues, other than a milk allergy, it's GREAT to see more Disney restaurants having gluten free options, as well as healthier eating options.
We are coming back to the World on the 28th, and I can't wait to try this eatery. :)

Sara Austin:

Wow, so excited to have a Babycakes at DTD!!!!! My daughters cannot have gluten and this is going to make our next trip SO much more special...to have their amazing cupcakes in Disney will be wonderful!

Kitty Smith:

Woohoo! A vegan bakery! Thanks for the article and early review. This whole place seems like an awesome addition to Downtown Disney, and I can't wait to check it out!

Reagan:

Jack,
Thank you so much for posting this. My husband has celiac disease and requires a gluten-free diet (which Disney restaurants usually accommodate very well). We already have most of our dining arranged for our next visit but will definitely have to stop at the bakery for him! He will be so excited!

Francisco :

blog
We stopped by here last week during the Festival of the Masters and it looked and smell really good. We didn't eat there because we made arrangements with our parents and uncle to eat somewhere else but we (my wife, my brother and myself) couldn't resist the bakery. My brother had cupcake w/ blueberry topping and it was to die for, lol. My wife and I had a chocolate crunch donut and all I can say is, "WOW!!!!", sooooo good. I also ordered honeydew/strawberry smoothie and it's sooooooo good. We can't wait to go back and eat us some of their food. We'll probably go back this Sat.

Stacey:

What a fantastic change! Thanks for the pictures, I know where we'll be doing our budget meals next month! It looks GREAT!

MIke Venere:

Everything looks great and you say the sauce on your chicked was fat free.
That said, let's ease up on the Health kick a bit here Disney.
I understand the numbers of obesity and such in this country, however sometimes a high calorie fatty meal tastes great and is what I want!

Jack's Comment:

Just for the record, I didn’t say the sauce on the chicken was fat free. I said the sauce on my hamburger was fat free. And if I hadn’t read the menu telling me this, I would have never known. It tasted great!

Thank you all for the kind words about the new bakery! We are extremely delighted to be a part of this. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Love,

BabyCakes NYC

Gina:

Wow. The bakery looks great. Can't wait to try the chicken and platains. Thanks for the info.

Aj:

I love this my son is on a GF diet and my family loves the healthy side tooo..Thanks so much for letting us know. Now we can go and not worry about the food here..

Deborah Woods:

We will be there in a week, and I can't wait to try it!

eddymixx:

i'm actually surprised that place is there...the one in miami is really gross.

Jack's Comment:

I can't speak for the establishment in Miami, but the restaurant at Downtown Disney is immaculate. Also, keep in mind, when any third-party business rents space from Disney, they are required to adhere to Disney standards.

Kelly Fleming:

Wow, I'm really excited about the vegan bakery. I notice from other comments that I'm not the only one. Having a child with a dairy allergy, we are always on the lookout for "fun" treats the whole family can enjoy. I can't wait to try this out. I only hope the menu at Pollo Campero has some allergy-friendly options as well.

Kelley Groh:

Thanks for your blogs with pictures! The information is always helpful. I passed on the info about the gluten free food to a friend traveling to WDW next year and he was delighted.

sue and jerry ziolkowski:

What a wonderful review and the pics are mouth watering! The food looks great and so nice to have a healthy place to dine with more than a handful of choices. So many of Disney's quick service places to eat have really refined the menue and really make it tough for the kids, and some adults as well. We will be sure to make this a stop on our upcoming trip. Do you know if this is on the counter service plan at this time? We are doing the counter service dining plan on this trip as we are "poop" paying out of pocket! We just missed the window for free dining. Take care and again thanks for a great review. sue and jerry ziolkkowski

Jack's Answer:

At this time, Pollo Compero is not an any dining plan. This may change in the months to come, but only time will tell.

Sarah:

I was very disappointed that the team behind the counter could not tell me what, if anything, on the menu at Fresh A-Peel was gluten free. We went all the way downtown to try what everyone has been calling the “gluten free restaurant at Downtown Disney”, only to find that they could not even tell me one thing my daughter (who has Celiac Disease) could eat. So…we headed over to the Babycakes stand where EVERYTHING is gluten free, and had cupcakes for dinner! I suppose the kids had fun with that in the end, but I was extremely unhappy with all the marketing they’ve done about their gluten free offerings that they couldn’t tell me even one thing that was safe to eat! Babycakes was AWESOME. Highly recommend it! But the lack of ability to eat a real meal borders on false advertising in my opinion.

Jack's Comment:

I'm so sorry you did not receive the service you needed to fulfill your daughter's needs. This must have been very frustrating. In the future, please ask to speak to a manager (or chef) when dining at ANY Disney World restaurant. They will be knowledgeable about the menu and be able to help you. All too often, the cast members working at the counter service restaurants cycle through these positions quickly as this is a low paying, tedious job. Often they are taught the basics and nothing more. I'm not excusing them, but giving you the reality of the situation.

I'm not quite sure where you got the impression that Fresh A-Peel was the "gluten free restaurant." In my blog, all I said was that it served healthier food. The only time I mentioned gluten was in reference to Babycakes.

Once again, I'm sorry you had a bad experience. This is not what we want to happen when visiting Disney World.

Jen Bueno:

Wow, I feel like I must have eaten at the wrong bakery, according to these positive comments! I went to Pollo Campero on a recent trip in January. I tried 2 of the Vanilla cupcakes and thought they were HORRIBLE! I was aware before our trip after reading this blog that it was a gluten/dairy free bakery but I thought the baked goods would be much better, given BabyCakes' reputation. We all tried a bite of the cupcakes and found the cake so dry and flavorless, though the frosting was sort of tasty. We could not finish our dessert. On a positive note, I loved the fried chicken, the sweet plantains, and Campero Rice, and my husband enjoyed the Campero beans. And the Watermelon Sangria was to die for, with fresh watermelon chunks and other fruits floating on top. I would definitely go back for the food and drinks, but definitely not the bakery.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 16, 2010 3:57 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Letter Perfect - Animal Kingdom - Part Two.

The next post in this blog is Letter Perfect - Epcot - Part Three.

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