Chef Eddie’s

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Chef Eddie’s, which used to be called Queen Bee’s, is an unexpected treasure in Orlando: downhome dining. It’s particularly wonderful on Sunday, when it fills up with after-church families, but it also is a great place to dine on quieter weekdays. From breakfast through supper, Eddie’s offers ambiance so pacific that many community members come to sit alone and read or text or watch an overhead television while they eat.

While Chef Eddie’s has a cadre of regular customers, when we walked in for the first time we were greeted by waitress Debbie as if we, too, were old friends. She told us to choose a table, but when we found one we liked and sat down, we realized that the chairs were so low that we could rest our chins on a dinner plate. When Debbie saw our predicament, she directed us to another table, just under the TV, where Dr. Oz was telling viewers that they could boost their energy if they “add something yellow” to their diet.

The menu is a full repertoire of soul-food classics. Out front, a big smoker yields barbecued ribs so tender that you literally cannot pick one up without the bone sliding out from the great cylinder of meat that surrounds it. This is not mushy meat like on a baby back rib, but it is radiant with flavor, complemented by tangy, mustard-pepper sauce.

Queen Bee’s used to be famous for its smothered pork chops, a tradition Chef Eddie James upholds. When I ordered some, waitress Debbie was so happy for me that she called out to Jane, “Oh, mama, you stay on your side of the street!” The chops are thin but intensely porky, smothered with onions and peppers in a long-simmered brown sauce.

No matter what you order, I highly recommend getting Parmesan cheese grits on the side. They have a beguiling smoky flavor, as if they are laced with bacon, but Debbie assured us there is no bacon in them. The chef uses smoked gouda cheese, which enhances the grits with extra dairy richness.

What To Eat

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Parmesan Cheese Grits

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Macaroni & Cheese

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Peach Cobbler

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Pig Tails

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Cabbage

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Pork Chops

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Pulled Pork

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Red Velvet Cake

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Short Rib

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Sweet Potato Casserole

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Ice Tea

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Sweet Potato Pie

DISH

Chef Eddie’s Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Chef Eddie’s?

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