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Need a Break From the Disney Magic? Rix Could Be the Fix

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*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.

As much as we all love Walt Disney World, sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. Stepping outside the Disney bubble for just a brief respite to recharge can be a good idea. Recently, our family needed such a break. If you are a sports fan, Rix Sports Bar & Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort may be just the place. Let’s celebrate March Madness and have some fun by scoring this restaurant like a basketball game.

Top of the First-Half: Atmosphere

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Upon arrival at Rix, we were off to a good start. While waiting for a table, you can peek in and see how open and inviting the space is. Patrons were clearly enjoying themselves and televisions were tuned into a variety of sports programming.

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Once seated you can really soak in the entirety of the restaurant’s surroundings. The high ceilings and open concept do not give you the closed in feeling of many sports bars. Instead, diners get the sense of being inside a modern stadium skybox. Rix certainly lives up to its description as an “upscale sports lounge”.

We were seated at a table near the bar, a great vantage point to watch several games at once. I was pleasantly surprised that the tables were spaced far enough apart to not feel cramped. The collective energy of the crowd was spirited, but also respectful and never too rowdy. There were plenty of families dining together and enjoying cheering on their favorite teams.

Bottom of the First-Half: Appetizers

Starters at Rix are known as “Warmups” on the menu. We could not have been more pleased with the two we ordered for the table.

Let’s start with The Downtown Mozz (mozzarella sticks). Firstly, the presentation was fantastic. The fresh Italian parsley and a dusting of parmesan cheese took this dish to another level, both visually and taste-wise. Rarely in a sports bar do you see such attention to detail. The sticks were pleasantly crispy and crunchy on the outside. The cheese inside was appropriately melty. An accompanying spicy marinara sauce was served on the side. I didn’t taste much heat or spice, but the sauce had a deep and rich flavor of long-simmered tomatoes.

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Our second appetizer was the Fried Green Beans. They are described as season, battered green beans fried golden brown, served with Cajun aioli and sweet and sour dipping sauce. None of us had ever heard of green beans presented this way, so we had to try them. Wow, they did not disappoint. What a unique and distinctive menu item. The fry technique was perfect, crunchy yet light. The green vegetable was cooked through but remained extremely fresh and bright in its taste. The dipping sauces each added a nice twist of extra heat or tang and hints of sweetness.

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These are two of the most delicious appetizers I’ve ever had at a sports lounge. Did Rix score in the first-half? Yes, absolutely. At the halftime of our meal, we had a real barnburner on our hands.

Heading Into the Second-Half: Entrees

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Unfortunately, our meal hit a rough patch. Rix stumbled into the latter half with some foul trouble. In keeping with the sports bar theme, the entrees, called “Handhelds,” mainly consist of sandwiches and burgers. The Rix Steak Sandwich is described on the menu as strips of sirloin steak, provolone cheese, red onion, chimichurri, roasted horseradish aioli, and arugula on a toasted Asiago baguette. The sirloin was well seasoned, stopping just short of being too salty. Flavor-wise, the combination of items worked well together to form a cohesive sandwich. However, there just wasn’t enough of everything. The ratio of protein and toppings to bread was off-balance.

The All-American Cheeseburger was decent but not memorable in any way. As expected, it was a step up from the quick-service burgers found at most resorts. The quality of the meat seemed fine but lacked seasoning of any kind. All Handhelds are served with tater tots. To be honest, when they came to the table, I was worried. Upon first glance the tots looked dry, even perhaps freezer burned. Surprisingly, they were quite delicious. They were served hot, crisp on the outside, and fluffy on the inside.

I’m sure you are noticing the trend at Rix that too much bread overwhelms each sandwich. In addition, The Cuban had significant problems beyond the bread. The layers of roasted Mojo pork and smoked ham were virtually non-existent, too thin and thoroughly lacking in flavor. Moreover, the pickles, Swiss cheese and Mojo aioli were barely noticeable and left the sandwich exceedingly dry. Even the delicious tater tots could not save this entree from being a significant misstep. Rix should take a time-out and completely revamp this sandwich from top to bottom.

Game Over: Final Thoughts

In summary, our dining experience had both highs and lows. The appetizers were nothing short of amazing. The ambiance was lively and inviting. Service was very attentive as drinks were refilled without asking and dirty dishes were cleared away often. Since the restaurant’s strong suit seems to be with Warmups, my suggestion for a way to win here is to come for drinks and a table full of appetizers to share. Rix has perfected the art of frying. Our family already has a plan in place for next time – order the same two appetizers and try a few new ones like wings, Buffalo chicken flatbread and watchos (loaded waffle fries).

Have you been to Rix Sports Bar & Grill? How was your experience?

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