All guests are treated like regulars at Tin Roof Orlando with daily blend of live music, eclectic Americana menu and friendly staff at the new I-Drive360
“Don’t you want to go where everybody knows your name?”
Tin Roof Orlando isn’t quite the bar from the much-loved TV Show Cheers – with its row of TV screens, retro metal signs, Americana memorabilia, live music stage and outdoor patio – it’s much livelier, but definitely gave me the same comfortable laid back feel. This neighborhood bar kicks up the traditional ho-hum chain menu to a new level with some really good Southern inspired food, live music and killer drinks.
Their focus is on guests – “regulars” – and their goal, ever since opening the first location in Nashville back in 2002, has been to build a loyal guest following. I am certain at their 14th location in the new I-Drive 360 complex on International Drive, the tourist and convention mecca of the world, they will build a loyal following of tourists and conventioneers plus some savvy locals. Sadly, most locals tend to avoid I-Drive’s traffic, which is a shame because many great restaurants are located on this tourist corridor. When you’re traveling and away from home, wouldn’t you want to go where it felt like everyone knew your name? A place where you were welcomed like a regular customer from the minute you walked in? I sure would. Tin Roof Orlando may well be that place. I recently attended a media preview and I can’t wait to return. Isn’t that what regulars do?
Here’s an overview of what you will find at Tin Roof Orlando:
Executive Chef Ryan Hunt’s “Americana” style cooking does not disappoint. Tin Roof’s menu has quite a few snacks, starters and shareables for those that just want to chill and listen to live tunes without sacrificing the tasty grub.
Spiced Bacon Popcorn ($3.50) is addictive.
Chicken & Waffle Nuggets ($10) a shareable plate of mini size waffles and tender chicken bites drizzled with Benton’s bacon maple syrup, could definitely be a meal because I guarantee you won’t want to share.
Pound O’ Wings ($10) comes with your choice of sauce – buffalo, jerk, honey hot, chili-brown sugar, or my favorite, Kentuckyaki. A must-eat with sauce made of Kentucky bourbon, teriyaki, sorghum, garlic and ginger, full of flavor and a fun sticky mess coating the crispy wings. Just the way wings should be! Am I the only one that needs a stack of napkins when eating wings?
I did not expect great salads in this environment and the Tuna Tataki ($15) blew me away. Perfect blend of Asian flavors, fresh seared ahi tuna with crunchy jicama, apple, sesame and cucumber blend in miso dressing over lettuce cups, was a nice light meal for those that want to keep their New Year’s resolutions.
Entrees or “Strong Plates” include Southern favorites like sweet and zingy fall off the bone, Baby Back Ribs ($15/26), with Tin Roof Confidential dry rub; delicious Creamy Shrimp & Grits ($18) made more interesting with a spicy tomato sauce and creamy mascarpone cheese blended in the white corn grits; and O-Eye Mac & Cheese ($13) with maple smoked white cheddar, definitely not like the one you grew up with but so much better!
The Hoecake Pile Up ($16), a stack of cornmeal pancakes piled with BBQ brisket, sweet slaw, and pickles, is a plate not to be reckoned with.
Looking for something lighter, the menu offers your choice of Quesadillas – Dillas – with different fillings from mushrooms & garden vegetables, to chicken & sundried tomatoes to brisket and mushrooms. Wraps, Burgers and Sandwiches – dubbed “Buns” – include the popular, Hot Chicken Torta, a Mexican-style sandwich with buttermilk fried chicken rubbed with cayenne, topped with ranch potato salad and pickles. It was a unique combination of flavors and the term “Hot” is not used lightly. The chicken was perfectly cooked with a moist center and crispy fried exterior, the cayenne pepper rub gave it a “buffalo style” kick without the wet sauce and the potato salad topping helped cool off the spice and contrast the crunchy texture. I would definitely order this again. The menu also includes a Buttermilk Fried Chicken sandwich for those non-spice lovers.
Several menu items, from appetizers to dessert, had a spicy kick to them. Nothing too crazy or overpowering but if you don’t like spice it can catch you off guard. There are plenty of milder choices, just ask your server to steer you in the right direction.
For dessert, the Cowhorn Pepper S’more Pie is perfect for the chocolate lover. A rich gooey dark chocolate ganache spiked with cayenne pepper which sneaks up on you with a good kick. The flaky graham cracker crust and the torched marshmallow brulee add to the layers of flavors and textures making this a treat to remember. I would have preferred a bit less heat on this one but that’s only because I probably would have eaten more of it! One plate would feed your entire table as only a few bites are needed to satisfy your sweet tooth.
What’s a neighborhood bar without good drinks? Lucky for us, at Tin Roof Orlando, we don’t have to find out. Signature cocktails come with a Southern touch and plenty of booze – Sweet Tea Moonshine anyone? From tequila to mezcal, rum to whiskey and bourbon, there is something for everyone. The bartenders here will take good care of you. After all, you are a regular!
The Tin Gin Mojito, a Hendrick’s Gin version of the classic is quite refreshing.
Orange Blossom Special, unique to the Orlando menu, has a blend of Tin Cup whiskey, dry Curacao, lemon, orange marmalade and splash of local Orange Blossom Pilsner for that Florida vibe.
Cuban & Carolina was deemed by all my media friends as the one that packed the most punch, a concoction of North Carolina’s most famous cherry beverage, Cheerwine, spiked with Bacardi Gold rum and Licor 43 vanilla liqueur. It’s probably the most dangerous drink on the menu, it was so good.
On the Beer front, you can choose from over 35 drafts, bottled and can beers including Florida’s own Orlando Brewing Company, Orange Blossom Brewing Company, Florida Beer Company, Cigar City Brewing and Brew Bus Brewing selections. Wines are available to satisfy the casual wine drinker but don’t expect anything too highbrow. It’s not that kind of place.
You know music will be a big focus at a place dubbed “A Live Music Joint”. Not too many places in Orlando offer a great line up of local musicians on a daily basis. Here, you will find bands playing from 10pm-2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with acoustic sets performed during the week with everything from rock to alternative to country. Tin Roof’s Regional Manager, William Hodges says “our goal is to showcase the best local and regional bands and musicians and provide a setting where everyone in the house has a great seat”.
Their Grand Opening event on Saturday January 24th promises to be an all-day affair of great food, music and fun. From noon until close at 2am, enjoy the sounds of David Oliver Willis, Bryan Malpass, who we really enjoyed during our visit, Hayfire, and David and Whitney.
Once the Orlando Eye mega-wheel opens, traffic will be crazy as I’m sure everyone will want to go for a ride on the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast. My advice to Orlando locals is to look at it this way: over 52 million people from around the world visit Orlando every year and we are lucky enough to live here, so get over the “I don’t go near I-Drive” way of thinking, find the traffic short cuts (I take Universal Blvd) and GO check out Tin Roof Orlando. You won’t be disappointed and it may just become your neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name.
In the words of Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo from the famous Cheers TV Show theme song:
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”
Tin Roof Orlando is that place. After a long day of work, meetings at the nearby Orlando Orange County Convention Center or walking and riding thrill rides at the nearby theme parks, it will be nice to relax with some live music, a frosty drink, tasty food and friendly service.
Whether you call Orlando home or are just visiting the City Beautiful, everyone is welcome as a “regular” at Tin Roof. I believe Tin Roof Orlando will create a big community of regulars from all over the world, and that will make it the most unique neighborhood bar.
Tin Roof Orlando is located at I-Drive 360, 8371 International Drive, Orlando Florida. Parking garage and valet parking available.
Don’t you want to go where everybody knows your name? GO to Tin Roof Orlando.