Orlando is known for many things. Sadly, a bustling live music scene isn’t typically one of them…. Until perhaps now. Tin Roof Orlando has taken up residence in Central Florida’s hottest new destination, I-Drive 360. I couldn’t pass up the invitation to try their unique menu and enjoy some local live music as well.
Tin Roof is part of the I-Drive 360 complex. This destination is still blossoming as other businesses continue to be built and wait to open later this year. The signature attraction of this impressive new plaza is the soon-to-be famous Orlando Eye (I simply cannot wait to see my hometown from 400 feet in the air!). Perfectly positioned on International Drive, close enough for conventioneers and vacation guests alike to enjoy, I-Drive 360 is one of the many new additions that are ushering in International Drive’s rebirth as its own destination within Central Florida.
The Tin Roof itself claims prime real estate within I-Drive 360. Located near the base of The Orlando Eye and facing the Yard House, its garage door style open air front allows passerbys to see the good times that await inside. Once the live music kicks off in the evening, it bounces through the air, beckoning visitors to come in and enjoy. The décor is fun without being extremely corny or comical. Think roadside bar built using reclaimed motorway and gas station finds. It’s bright and cheery, encouraging patrons to be the same.
The Food – Overview
Tin Roof was originally established in Nashville, Tennessee (aka Music City) and the Orlando location marks a new evolution in the growing Tin Roof family. The original Tin Roof location, and the first few that followed, offered simple bar food, easy grub that goes well with a few cold beers. With the Orlando location, the bar food has gone back to school, gotten some skills and polish, and is now ready to impress.
The menu is large enough to offer something for everyone without being overwhelming. If you just want some appetizers or small plates to share with friends, you can have it. If your stomach is craving something more substantial then pay a visit to the “Buns” or “Strong Plates” section of the menu. Those craving something on the lighter side can enjoy a fresh salad from the “Green Room Salads” section. And your sweet tooth will be satisfied by the “Sweet Satisfactions” offerings.
The Food – Snacks, Starters, & Shareables
This is actually the part of the menu that I could see myself spending some quality time with. Creative munchies go perfectly with good drinks, good friends, and good music. Both the small plates and appetizers are great for sharing, but some of the grub is so good it’s okay to keep it all to yourself.
On my visit our group was treated to some appetizers after we had nibbled away at the Spiced Bacon Popcorn, which was salty, a little spicy, and smoky – just begging for a cold beer.
Kentuckyaki Chicken Wings ($10) – a full pound of meaty, crispy wings glistened with a thick, gooey sauce. As I sank my teeth into the wing my mouth was immediately hit with sweetness, and in ninja like fashion a small kick of heat came in.
Tuna & Melon ($14) – Tuna stacks are quite popular in many restaurants. Sushi-grade tuna is served raw, cubed, mixed with lime & tarragon seasoning, and stacked together with melon fruit. The flavors were bright and fruity, a little too sweet for my liking.
Beer Mussels ($13.50) – I will definitely be back for these little babies! First of all, I love mussels. They’re sweet and tender, but there’s an underlying flavor of the sea. Tin Roof’s Beer Mussels are served in a shallow pool of beer buttery goodness with a little heat. The giant herb croutons are your best friend, let them soak up the yummy sauce.
Buttermilk Tenders ($8) – Tender juicy chicken strips are battered in heavenly buttermilk and smoky spices. This might be one of the best deals on the menu and I love that the batter is not heavy at all.
The Food – Buns (Burgers & Sandwiches)
Honestly I wasn’t too excited to sample from this portion of the menu. The whole “better burger” movement is everywhere and I am not really a ‘bun’ person (wait, does that sound ok?). However, one of my favorites of the night hails from Bun country.
Rodeo Burger ($11) – Burgers are hit or miss with me. While I can appreciate a really good burger, when I am browsing a restaurant’s menu they rarely get my vote. However, I could definitely see myself ordering the Rodeo Burger. This is mostly thanks to the taco spices that are mixed in with the ground beef before it is grilled, plus the toppings of charred avocado and ranch dressing.
Hot Chicken Torta ($11) – Thanks to my husband’s heritage and our annual visits to LA, I have learned to love a good torta. The buttermilk fried chicken breast was rubbed with cayenne pepper and wasn’t too thick making it a very manageable sandwich. The heat of the chicken is calmed by the cold creamy ranch potato salad and big round pickles. And of course a torta wouldn’t be a torta without Mexican bread.
The Food – Strong Plates
If you walk into Tin Roof with a strong appetite then a “Strong Plate” is what you need. These full serving entrees are definitely going to leave you satisfied.
Sea Scallops ($21) – The jumbo pan-roasted scallops were very tender and seasoned just right. I was surprised to see scallops served with sweet potato hash, but they paired nicely.
Creamy Shrimp & Grits ($18) – Being a Florida girl I can’t resist some shrimp and grits. I love how Tin Roof serves the shrimp in a stew like blend of tomatoes, peppers, and bacon. This hearty mix rested on top a bed of creamy, stone ground grits and heavy mascarpone cheese.
Hoecake Pile Up ($16) – My favorite dish of the night was the Hoecake Pile Up. Again, being a Southern girl I was naturally drawn to this dish. Hoecakes are similar to pancakes, but rather than being fluffy, they’re a little more hearty and made from cornmeal. You can make them sweet or savory. Here at Tin Roof the hoecakes are topped with beef brisket, cole slaw, and pickles. Basically a Southern BBQ mountain…. It was so good. The hoecakes are good enough on their own, in my opinion, but they’re even better sopping up the juice from the brisket, the cream of the cole slaw, and the tangy BBQ sauce.
Dessert – “Sweet Sensations”
Somehow our group soldiered through and found room for dessert. When faced with such delights as s’more pie and whiskey-banana bread pudding, we really had no choice. Both desserts are incredibly decadent.
El Chango Burracho ($8) – This gooey whisky-banana bread pudding will stick to your ribs.Bread pudding is not necessarily my first choice in desserts, but the sweet, buttery flavors of this banana bread pudding certainly satisfied my sweet tooth.
Cowhorn Pepper S’More Pie ($8) – I should have asked “what’s up with the name?” But alas I was too far-gone at first bite to even care about the name. I love a good campfire s’more and nothing can replace the real deal, but this s’more pie made it difficult for me to put my fork down. The graham cracker crust crumbled away into the thick dark chocolate ganache (with a hint of cayenne). The brullee marshmallow top mellowed out the deep, dark flavors just enough.
Tin Roof wants to be known as Orlando’s Live Music Joint. The night of our visit the Liam Duncan Trio took the stage around 8pm. Personally, I wish the live music started a little earlier. It is a real treat to see local musicians and bands being given such a fun place to perform. The stage is the centerpiece of Tin Roof and the live music certainly sets this place apart.
I can definitely see myself coming back to enjoy some local live music, great food, and drinks. Besides, I still have to try the Poblano Feta Fries, Crab Pimento Dip, Frita Burger, and Key Lime Bar. I guess I might just become one of the regulars (if you visit you’ll understand).
Tin Roof Orlando
8371 International Drive, Suite 100 Orlando, FL 32819
Sunday – Saturday 11AM – 2AM