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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

WildSide Bar & Grille in Kissimmee, Florida

My husband and I spent our fall vacation (October 2 - 23, 2012) at our vacation home in sunny Florida.  This vacation is very much a family, friends and golf vacation which means we end up making a few trips to two different airports depending on where family and friends are flying into and out of.  We arrived in Tampa late on October 2 then made the drive to our vacation home.  My husband's sister and her pre-teen arrived on October 5 on a bit earlier flight in Orlando to spend the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend with us.  We decided to go for dinner before picking them up.  So we pointed Lucy (our GPS) in the direction of a restaurant we wanted to try close to the airport.  That ended up in a field of nothing!  We told Lucy to take us to our next choice and again were greeted with an empty field.  So, we drove around heading towards downtown Orlando where we found a nice little gem of a restaurant.

WilSide Bar and Grille in Orlando Florida
We are huge barbecue and grilling fans.  Although the terms are used interchangeably  there is a difference.  Barbeque is low, slow cooking (hours) which gives tender, juicy, fall off the bone results.  Grilling is high heat that seals in the juices giving nice hash marks.  The best of both worlds combined with smoking is to do the BBQ then finish off with grilling.  Well, we spotted a huge smoker outside of a restaurant and knew that was it so we stopped in for dinner.

WildSide Bar & Grill has three locations, two in Orlando and one in Kissimmee.  We stopped at the Kissimmee location at 7725 W. Highway 192 just a short distance from the Walt Disney World Resort.  There is a really lovely piece of wall art on the side of the building where we parked (to left of photo out of camera range).  I was going to include it as well but five pictures is about the maximum for a blog post.  There is covered outdoor seating on the front porch and in the gazebo, both facing Highway 192 (W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy).  After taking several pictures, we decided to eat indoors out of the misty rain, high humidity and threatening a heavier shower.

WildSide impressive outdoor smoker
Just take a look at this gorgeous smoker set-up. Isn't it impressive?  I would have loved to see it in action so that is on our to-do list for our winter vacation.  The black smoker unit on the far right is a separate smoker from the larger unit.  The larger grey unit is part of their full service catering for any special occasion but I imagine they fire it up on premises as well.

We dodged the rain, noting patrons enjoying a drink and bit of quiet time on the covered patio shielded from the rain.  It looked cozy and inviting but in Florida with rain comes humidity so we made our way into the restaurant to the comforts of air conditioning.

WildSide cozy interior with open pit grill
Oh my, this place immediately hit you with a warm and welcoming feeling.  It has almost a British pub feeling yet more.  The restaurant is two levels high, with a lot of wood.  To the right on the lower level is an open fire grill.  The picture was taken from our table just to the bottom of the picture right beside the last opening in the wood railing.  There were an abundance of HD televisions to indulge in as many sports as desired.  Now this place definitely had atmosphere!

We were promptly greeted and the wait staff made us feel like they had nothing else to do but wait on us.  They were extremely friendly, very attentive to our needs, and just downright pleasant.    The wait staff themselves make this a must stop at restaurant.  They are absolutely delightful!  This is a very good indication that management here treats their staff well which is reflected in the service they give to their patrons.

WildSide Baby Back Ribs
The restaurant offers a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, chicken, ribs and seafood.  My husband told me to order the lobster tails which normally I would be very tempted but I was in the mood for good BBQ.

After our drink orders, a photographer came around to take our picture.  We declined.   We often get one of the waitresses to take a picture of us anyway but we prefer having the photo on our camera where we have control of where it goes.   We aren't comfortable having our pictures online but that doesn't appear to be the case with WildSide.  It's more of a souvenir photo to remember your visit to the WildSide.

We knew we had to meet a flight so didn't have a lot of spare time after encountering a large detour to get around a massive accident.  Surprisingly, we did not have to wait long for our meals at all even though we never told our waiter that.  Our meals came with a small loaf of warm bread that was brought out within a few minutes of ordering followed by my salad.  My husband ordered the half rack of baby back ribs ($15.99) that came with a choice of two sides.  Extra sides are available at a small charge if desired.  The ribs were dry rubbed then grilled to perfection.  He had macaroni $ cheese and BBQ baked beans as the sides.  As promised, the baby back ribs were grilled to perfection -  mouth-watering, tender and flavourful.  He was quite pleased with his meal!

WildSide half smoked chicken
I ordered the half smoked chicken ($12.99) that came with a choice of two sides.  My side choices were roasted red potatoes and a garden salad with Thousand Island dressing (not pictured).  My gosh, the potatoes were delicious perfectly complementing the chicken.  The chicken was nicely seasoned, delightfully tender and aromatic.  They really could have done without the nachos to help fill up the plate as they didn't go with anything.  Besides, with warm loaves of bread who needs nachos?  This proved to be too large of a serving for me but then I wasn't feeling well to begin with.  I would have loved to take the left-overs back to the vacation home but we didn't have a cooler with us.  We still had to pick up my husband's sister and young one at the airport then make our way back to our vacation home.

The only negative thing I can say about this restaurant is I wish we had a bit more time to relax and enjoy it. With Lucy taking us on wild goose chases we lost a bit of time and even though their plane took off 15 minutes late, they arrived early so we got the phone call midst meal they had just landed.  It was skedaddle time but rest assured this is going to be one restaurant we will be revisiting during our winter vacation!


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