The Coop

With the success of Cask & Larder, Orlando seemed ready for more Southern cuisine. Enter the folks of 4 Rivers Smokehouse (the BBQ joint that is an obsession for some Orlando residents) and you have The Coop, a casual take on classic Southern comfort food in Winter Park.

Like 4R, The Coop is casual. You walk up to the counter, order your main and choose your sides cafeteria style before finding your seat and chowing down. And boy, is there a lot of stuff to choose from.

Fried chicken, of course, reigns supreme at the Coop, but entrees like meatloaf, fried catfish, and shrimp & grits are also available with a plethora of sides to choose from. My dear hubby went very straight forward and ordered fried chicken tenders, rice & gravy, and bread pudding.

All-in-all, he was happy. The chicken was very good (crispy on the outside, juicy and tender inside) rice & gravy tasty (if a bit salty), but the bread pudding was way too sweet for both his and my tastes.

I wanted to sample more of the offerings, so I went with meatloaf (served on mashed potatoes) with Mac&Cheese, Hoppin John, and a baby pecan pie.

The meatloaf was excellent, rich and homey, and didn't need the gravy on the side. I really preferred the tangy tomato sauce and did use a little extra since it complemented the meat and cut through the richness so well. The mashed potatoes were good, solidly made and well seasoned. Again, I didn't need or want any gravy. I practically licked that plate clean.

The Mac & Cheese was classic and met my expectations. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as the Hoppin' John.

I'm a big fan of rice and beans and while I'd heard of Hoppin' John before, I had never tried it. It was maybe a little wetter than I had imagined, but so tasty. Substantial but not heavy. And unlike my husband's rice and gravy, perfectly seasoned. It's a great side to include on the menu and along with the meatloaf, one of the things that'll bring me back.

I ended with a classic miniature pecan pie. It was too cute to pass up, and was a perfect little dessert to end the meal.

The space is large, the line moves pretty quickly, and service is friendly. The Coop is very welcome to the Orlando food scene, and a place I'm certain I'll be returning to again and again.

The Coop
610 West Morse Blvd.
Winter Park, FL 32789

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