Cave Inn BBQ brings bold, unique flavors with prehistoric setting to Winter Garden Florida, close by Walt Disney World

in Food

Most visitors to Central Florida’s many theme parks and tourist destinations aren’t likely to find their way to the quiet city of Winter Garden, home to more than 100 years of orange groves. But just fifteen minutes north of Walt Disney World, a new locally-owned restaurant called Cave Inn BBQ is introducing excitingly unique flavors unlike any other barbecue joint around.

Cave Inn BBQ will hold its official grand opening on Saturday, but it’s already showing off its giant chops with a variety of bold sauces topping its flavorful menu. With items served in “mammoth-sized portions” and named for dinosaurs, such as Pterodactyl wings, Raptor meat sandwiches, and Tyrannosaurus ribs, it’s clear this restaurant is trying to grab attention with a quirky theme. The restaurant’s interior is minimally decorated to fit the cave motif, though doesn’t come close to competing with the likes of Downtown Disney’s immersive T-Rex Cafe.

But where it falls short on following through with its namesake theme in appearance, Cave Inn BBQ shines with delightfully interesting barbecue that’ll make any patron feel like they’re ripping into the ultimate prehistoric feast. Though it’s basically serving the same food as every other barbecue restaurant – ribs, turkey, beef, pork, mac and cheese, and other staples – Cave Inn BBQ has managed to elevate the concept with sweet and spicy sauces, making everything in-house never and never pulling back on trying new flavor combinations.

Though each patron orders individually, Cave Inn BBQ serves up its food on giant platters, creating a wow moment as it arrives to the table, towering with huge portions of “mmmeat.” Side dish stars include the Brachiosaurus Slaw – a mixed cabbage blend in a light and sweet vinaigrette instead of mayo – and the Pungent Lily Rings – thinly sliced, seasoned, and crisped sweet onions rings that disappear like candy.

Its homemade sauces are the stars of Cave Inn BBQ, every single one as surprisingly good as the next. The La Brea Tar Pit Sauce is the signature flavor, served on most of its meats and most similar to a “standard” savory BBQ sauce with a kick. From there sweeter offerings include the orange spiced Cro-Magnon Marmalade, Paleo Paradise pineapple pepper, and Flint Rock Fruit apple butter, each deserving a sample. Prehistoric Passion cranberry sauce shines when served on giant turkey legs, creating a Thanksgiving meal of sorts, while the Cocoa Indulgence chocolate sauce evokes notes of a well made Mexican molé but mashed up with the BBQ profile.

Desserts include house-made gelato, the most interesting of which is the Neolithic Dream, a creamy coconut gelato with a swirl of cinnamon, served on a drizzle of Cocoa Indulgence BBQ sauce (trust me, it works) and topped with a sprinkle of habanero coconut (just a little kick) and whipped cream.

And it all ends with a fun bonus bowl of colorful rock candies, completing the Cave Inn BBQ experience.

During its soft opening days, Cave Inn BBQ is welcoming customer comments as its owner and chef brothers are eager to perfect their new creations. Serving moist and juicy spare ribs, turkey, and an assortment of slow cooked meats, there are few complaints to offer. The Triassic Pasta mac and cheese, while nicely sharp, was way too dense, the Baked Tubor slided potato had a bit too much bite, and the Chilled Herbavore Soup was more of a salsa than the gazpacho it was meant to be. But the staff gladly took note of these minor points, promising to continue to improve on what’s already a largely fantastic menu.

In recent years, the city of Winter Garden has replaced its orange groves with shopping malls and even an indoor mini golf course, though its historic downtown area remains. It’s also the city I personally call home. Sadly, restaurants seem to come and go quickly here, with many locals seeming to stick to overly advertised (and often uninteresting) chain restaurants. Cave Inn BBQ stands out among these chains as a unique local flavor that I will definitely be frequenting with the hopes that it doesn’t soon follow in dinosaurs’ footsteps, avoiding extinction.

Cave Inn BBQ will be holding its official grand opening on Saturday, June 22, from 1pm – 5pm, featuring free food samples, T-shirt giveaways, caricatures, face painting, and other entertainment.

More information about Cave Inn BBQ including its full menu and directions can be found at

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