The Ultimate Guide to Wine Bar George
Everyone has those foods or restaurants they dream about. The ones where they literally contemplate how crazy it would be to hop on a plane, have dinner and fly home the next day.
For me, one of these places is Wine Bar George. Yes, I have very much contemplated hopping on a plane just to enjoy one of my favorite meals (please send burrata and wine).
If you’ve been to Disney Springs anytime since May of 2018, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve at the very least passed by Wine Bar George (WBG) or seen the brightly colored Corksicle wine cups filled with their Frose or Frozcato made with Dole Whip (you heard me right, Dole Whip).
I’m always shocked when people tell me, for whatever reason, that they’ve never tried Wine Bar George. I’m here to tell you why this is on my must eat list.
Photo: Wine Bar George
The food is, well, chef’s kiss! With 25 offerings on the menu, they make sure all 25 are perfect and delicious each time.
From Mac and Cheese bites to skirt steak, there is something for every palate and enough options to keep it interesting.
The wine is obviously the star here. Wine Bar George offers 180 wines available by the glass and a team with the knowledge to help you decide which is the right glass (or glasses) for you.
Clearly, I enjoy the food and beverage offerings at WBG but what stands out to me the most when I dine there is the team, the experience and the namesake himself, George Miliotes. Miliotes is there, dressed in his jeans, greeting guests, suggesting wines and jumping in wherever he’s needed.
As one of only 269 Master Sommeliers in the world, his passion for wine and the overall dining experience truly comes through in what Wine Bar George offers.
I recently had a chance to chat with George about the restaurant, his history with Disney and my love for the avocado toast on his brunch menu (it all comes back to the food, I am who I am).
George has a pretty rich history with Disney. Some of you may remember the restaurant that once occupied the space that’s now home to California Grill. From October 1, 1971 until September 30, 1993 Top of the World was the place to be after the parks closed. Oh yes, Top of the World offered dinner, drinks, dancing, singing and I’m pretty sure some epic fashion back in the day!
When California Grill opened it’s doors in 1995 George (as well as WBG Executive Chef, Ron Rupert) was a part of the opening day team. With 100 wines by the glass, this was unheard of in the 90’s according to Miliotes. “We had the opportunity to do a lot of amazing things, we got innovate.”
After California Grill, Miliotes took the lead as the Beverage Director with Darden’s Seasons 52. Since this is a Disney blog and not a food blog, I’ll fast forward to 2017 when George got a call from Maribeth Bisienere (current Senior Vice President Of Resorts, Transportation, and Premium Services at The Walt Disney Company), a friend and colleague from the Contemporary. She asked if he’d be interested in building a restaurant in Disney Springs.
George said “the option of opening in Disney was never on his mind”. Partnering with Disney would give him the opportunity work with Bisienere again and give him the once in a lifetime opportunity to work with Imagineering. The location and clientele of Disney Springs has it’s advantages, and of course the fact that Orlando is George’s hometown was a huge plus.
Opening a restaurant, no matter the location, is never an easy task. Opening a restaurant at Disney takes it to a different level. There are literally no down days. When opening WBG, George knew that Chef Ron Rupert was the guy to run the kitchen. Having worked together for 25 years, both at California Grill and Seasons 52, they compliment each other and know each other’s styles.
The vibe at WBG is comfortable and relaxed. I mentioned earlier that I always see George at the restaurant in his jeans, not what you’d expect to see from a Master Sommelier. Of course, I had to ask him about it. His response? “Being comfortable in what you’re wearing makes the restaurant comfortable. I’ve always been a jeans guy”.
You’ll also notice that the team at WBG is in jeans as well. George wants everyone to be comfortable and empowers the team to “infuse themselves”, make suggestions and to share what they like with guests.
Words Of Inspiration
George told me that he loves when people come in and don’t realize how cool the experience will be. That idea is so inherently Disney, the idea of experience and discovery.
Speaking of which, knowing that George went through “Traditions Training”, as every Disney Cast Member does (and having gone through it myself, it’s incredible), I had to ask what George’s biggest Disney influence was. His inspiration came from words and ideals of Walt Disney himself; do it right the first time. Make it work, figure it out, the money will follow.
That mentality made Disney a success and I’d say its done pretty well for George as well!
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