One of my favorite places to take a break from the parks to grab a quick-service lunch is Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. After a short refurbishment, Gasparilla Island Grill has reopened with a new menu. Elevated flavors, artisanal ingredients and great attention to detail can be found through each station – hot sandwiches and pizzas, the sandwich and salad bar and the coffee and dessert station. The new tastes are a result of the collaboration several Grand Floridian chefs—including Grand Floridian Executive Chef, Scott Hunnel, Grand Floridian Executive Pastry Chef, Erich Herbitschek and Chef Noah Estabrook.
At the Sandwich Bar, you will see beautifully plated slates of the sandwich ingredients in a glass display. A technique found in boutique bakeries in France, each sandwich is assembled as you order, keeping the bread—which is baked fresh in house daily—perfectly crusty. Look for fresh, high-quality ingredients, such as Tillamook Cheddar on the smoked ham sandwich, Florida orange vinaigrette on the roasted turkey, thick slices of Mozzarella on the grilled vegetable sandwich and roast beef with horseradish. Each sandwich is served with house-made chips. You’ll find the popular “Create-Your-Own-Salad” option in the same area, which can be topped with flank steak or marinated chicken. In the morning, this area becomes a yogurt bar, allowing guests to build parfaits with toppings such as fresh fruits, granola and bananas in a decadent caramel sauce.
To the left of the sandwich bar, you’ll find hot sandwiches and thin crust pizza. Each pizza—which cooks in 90 seconds at 840 degrees—is served on pizza dough made in-house daily by Chef Erich’s team at the Grand Floridian Bakery. Choose from sausage and Mozzarella, fire-roasted tomatoes with basil pesto and a three-cheese blend, or Chef Scott’s favorite, the chicken and mushroom, with a heavenly cream sauce that can only be described as decadent. For hot sandwiches, you’ll find the artisanal burger features 7 ounces of a signature beef blend, bacon and Cheddar cheese on a freshly-baked Brioche bun; a Mahi Mahi “Ruben,” featuring house-made cabbage slaw on marble Rye bread and Chef Noah’s recommendation, the Chicken & Brie is a delicious twist on Chicken Cordon Bleu—with ham, spinach, raspberry mustard on a Brioche bun.
The final station (my personal favorite) features specialty coffees and beautiful baked goods, pastries and sweets made by the Grand Floridian Bakery. Look for Coconut Pot de Crème, Almond Fruit Tart, Chocolate Mousse Pie, Mickey Brownie, Minnie Mouse Cupcake, and assorted cookies and other sweet treats.