Beefy King (http://beefyking.com/) is an Orlando legend and also a time capsule. The sandwich shop was founded in 1968 and still stands proudly on Bumby Avenue, just south of Colonial Drive, in the “Milk District” neighborhood east of downtown Orlando.
It was originally a local chain of six restaurants, but this is the only one that remains. Three generations of owners later, they’re still doing things very much the same way after 50+ years: serving sandwiches of roast beef, pastrami, corned beef, barbecue beef and pork, turkey, and ham on soft, steamed kaiser rolls, alongside their legendary Beefy Spuds (think tater tots), onion rings, delicious chili, and more.
Beefy King survived an arson attempt in November, so this feels like the right time to sing its praises, now that it has reopened for business. It didn’t seem worse for the wear when I met one of my favorite fellow foodie friends there for lunch the week after it reopened. This is why YOU COME AT THE KING, YOU BEST NOT MISS!
Here’s a roast beef sandwich ($4.55) served with steamed, diced onions — the classic sandwich around here.
As you can see, it’s very juicy roast beef — much juicier and much less salty than Arby’s. I added some creamy horseradish sauce, which comes in squeeze bottles and is delicious on anything and everything, but especially roast beef sandwiches.
Here’s another roast beef sandwich with spicy barbecue sauce. (They have mild barbecue sauce too; don’t worry!) The steaming process makes the kaiser rolls nice and soft too, which really works well.
This is an extra-large two-meat sandwich with pastrami and corned beef, plus melty white American cheese and steamed onions ($8.50). I ended up adding some of that creamy horseradish to it, too. They have mustard, but only the yellow kind, and this sandwich is too good for yellow mustard, if you ask me.
I’m a huge fan of Beefy King’s chili, full of meat, beans, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. I always opt to get it with a slice of white American cheese that melts into it so nicely. If you’ve had Wendy’s chili before, this is similar, but a hundred times better.
RING THE ALARM! Beefy King has onion rings that just cry out to be dipped in the mild or hot barbecue sauces or creamy horseradish sauce.
And here are the golden-brown Beefy Spuds, also perfect for dipping.
Save room for a hand-spun milkshake! Beefy King offers vanilla, chocolate, cherry, and my personal favorite, orange. I skipped the orange shake this time, but I either regret ordering it or regret not ordering it.
Beefy King isn’t just a time capsule, despite being a real piece of classic Orlando that doesn’t have anything to do with “Mickey’s House.” It’s even more than a great place to grab a quick, affordable lunch in Orlando’s Milk District (although between Beefy King, Stasio’s Italian Deli and Market, Bad As’s Sandwich, and Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria, I argue the city should officially rename it The Sandwich District). It’s also a survivor. To be the last remaining location from a small chain, and to have made it all these decades unchanged, even emerging like the proverbial phoenix after an arson attempt after 51 years, means it’s a living legend, an inimitable institution, the kind of restaurant all Orlando locals should experience for themselves. When even culinary luminary Alton Brown and late-night laughing boy Jimmy Fallon know to seek it out, you know the word on the street is good.
The King is back.
Long live the King.