NOTE: Big Time Street Food closed in May 2020, just months after I wrote this review.
Big Time Street Food (https://www.bigtimestreetfood.co/) was on my list of newer places to try for the longest time. Located in hip and pretty Thornton Park, near downtown Orlando, it is connected to Burton’s Bar and even shares a door with the neighborhood watering hole. But I emphasize neighborhood, because both places really are meant for residents of the immediate neighborhood due to a major lack of nearby parking spaces. Over the last year or so, I’ve done several “drive-bys” of Big Time Street Food, hoping to find a nearby parking space so I could finally try the food, to no avail.
But back in early January, I had a chance to see hip-hop legend KRS-One perform at The Abbey, a downtown concert and event venue located a few blocks away from Big Time. I made sure to park in a convenient garage located between the two and headed to Big Time first, to eat a giant, heavy meal before a long and late concert. (I’ve been to hundreds of concerts and totally know better, but this was my best chance to finally make it here, Saboscrivenerinos. You’re welcome!)
Big Time Street Food is a very small and casual space. You order at the counter and can then sit on one of the few stools at a counter, or go next door to Burton’s, and they bring you your order when it’s ready. I studied the menu in advance, but couldn’t decide between two things. My Constant Readers can take a wild guess as to what I did next — yes, I ordered both!
This is the Holy Chicken sandwich ($7.99). You’re staring at an extra large, fresh-fried chicken thigh, a generous amount of dill pickle slices (after a long quest, I finally like most pickles!), and lightly spicy “gochu-mayo” on a soft, lightly-griddled sweet potato roll. It’s like an artisanal version of the beloved Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich, and yes, it’s better.
Despite knowing I was going to have to stand in the same place for several hours, and despite knowing how gross club restrooms can be (especially when you’re in desperate need of one), I couldn’t stop myself from also ordering the Chorizo Montoya burger ($7.99). This beauty contains a “smash burger” patty, chorizo sausage, oaxaca cheese, avocado, grilled onion, roasted tomato aioli on the same soft, lightly griddled bun. It was a damn fine burger I’d rank alongside Orlando’s finest.
Believe it or not, I had every intention of eating half of the chicken sandwich and half of the burger, and putting the other halves back in my car, because luckily it was a cool evening. But in true Saboscrivner fashion, I devoured both while they were at their hottest and freshest. I have no regrets now, and luckily I didn’t have any regrets during the concert either.
It ended up being a really fun night. I arrived early enough to get right up next to the stage to see several opening rappers, followed by the trailblazing teacher KRS-One, who exploded out of the Bronx in the late ’80s as the star of Boogie Down Productions, before becoming a vaunted solo MC throughout the ’90s. I suspect many Saboscrivnerinos might recognize KRS-One from the closing rap verse on REM’s “Radio Song,” the first track off their 1991 album Out of Time, or maybe as the subject of Sublime’s respectful tribute to the master himself, “KRS-One.” A socially-conscious, spiritual, and political rapper, he concerned himself with educating and empowering his listeners, spitting cautionary tales that warn against crime, violence, and police brutality. I highly recommend the compilation album A Retrospective as the perfect gateway to his finest work. And I’m thrilled to report he is still teaching lessons today (when we need his voice more than ever), without slowing down or missing a beat.
And after wolfing down two delicious sandwiches from Big Time Street Food directly before the show, I was relieved to not have miss a beat either.