The Smiling Bison(Website / Facebook) opened this week. It takes over the old Redlight Redlight space on Bennett Road in Orlando across from The Roxy nightclub. Chef Josh Oakley formerly of Ravenous Pig and Enzian founded this restaurant with the theme of house made sausages and kielbasas, but as you'll see from the menu it's much more than that, lots of great food and beer selections and not just a sausage party.
The space has been painted and redecorated very nicely the only remnants from the old Redlight are in the mens room, one of the walls still has all those old beer ads and posters, it's nice to remember your history.
The staff was all dressed up in their signature Smiling Bison shirts and the decor has a nice uniformity and the chosen light brown/tan is a calming color choice. A stage is set up in the back corner for bands and I'm sure the Cook Trio, a mainstay from the olden days, will be making some appearances.
They also have a great outdoor patio with picnic tables so you can watch the world go by or have a smoke.
Parking always has and will be a hassle on busy nights, their actual lot can only fit about 10 cars but the street behind it along the curb and in the dirt there is usually a space to be found. I don't recommend parking in the Boston Market parking lot or the doggie day care, just to avoid being towed.
The beer menu is small but lots of good choices, sometimes 100 beers to choose from can be too overwhelming. It's nice to focus on a dirty dozen or so and really find which one is your favorite. Also you should notice that they are serving Cask & Larder beers by local brewer & beer guru Ron Raike (Orlando Weekly Article)
The evening I attended the full kitchen was not up and running but it should be by this Tuesday the next day they are open, closed Sunday and Monday. I believe the hours are going to be Tues-Thurs 5-midnight, Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.
The sausages are all made in house and each of them is served with a side selection of your choice, Watermelon Basil Salad, Lemon Kale Salad or house made BBQ potato chips.
|Watermelon Basil Salad|
Some of the other menu items I didn't get a picture of or that weren't served were the Soft Pretzel, people seemed to love this. Also they will be serving pizzas, the Duck Pizza sounds especially great. You can see pictures of these on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/thesmilingbison/photos_stream
|Poutine $7 - Crispy potato wedges, gravy, cheese curds, pickled Maitake mushrooms|
|Pickled Red Hots - these seemed to cause some confusion with lack of description on the menu, they were served room temperature and had a great smokey flavor|
|Curry Wurst $10 - Sweet curry Sausage, mushroom ketchup, caramelized onions|
|Buffalo Chicken Dog $10 - Chicken Sausage, Frank's Hot Sauce, blue cheese, pickled carrots|