Since the Hot Krust Panini Kitchen opened in the Dr. Phillips area of Orlando people are taking notice. From the local Fox TV news station to some of the area pro basketball players and pro golfers, lots of people are taken notice and singing the praises of this tiny little gem. Hot Krust is tucked into a little corner next to Whole Foods, directly next door to the flashy bright orange signage of Dunkin’ Donuts. If you blink you might miss it. Hopefully you don’t because you’d be missing out.
First of all, the ingredients are all fresh. The meats have no preservatives, no artificial colors, no additives, no growth hormones or steroids. They do not use butter or grease in any of their food. Sounds healthy, yes?
We visited twice and both times we were greeted by the owner Evan. A man who obviously has a huge passion for serving a high quality product. A man who has a fierce passion for his restaurant and pleasing every person who visits. He has done well.
Our first visit Chad opted for the Catch-Of-The-Day which was a Mahi panini with a Chipotle Ranch sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion. The very generous portion of Mahi was meaty and flaky and pressed with multigrain bread. Other bread choices include white and gluten-free.
I ordered the Coconut Tilapia Panini. A juicy piece of Talipia coated with coconut, mango and pineapple crumbles. Absolutely delicious.
I had a simple salad with my sandwich while Chad enjoyed the Waffle Fries. There is a condiment station where you can find a collection of Fat Cat sauces. Fat Cat is a local company that makes wonderful hot sauces to accompany about anything. I enjoyed dipping Chad’s waffle fries in their Papaya Pequin Passion sauce- a blend of papaya, pineapple and pequin peppers.
Our second visit came on the heels of me winning a panini or salad of my choice via a Facebook contest. They have contests for free food often- you can like their Facebook page here. I chose the Shrimp Milan salad with grilled shrimp, roasted red pepper, black olives and feta cheese tossed in a Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. You know how sometimes a salad is just a big bowl of lettuce with a few toppings and by the end you are eating straight lettuce? That wasn’t the case here. I had a lot of shrimp and they were not skimpy on the other toppings. Excellent.
I also found another of the Fat Cat sauces that was excellent on my salad- their award winning Purry Purry sauce (which I also used with my side order of spicy curly fries.)
Chad got the Alibaba Veggie panini with hummus, mozzarella, red onion, lettuce and tomato. He enjoyed it very much. Accompanied by a side of sweet potato fries, he had a filling and satisfying meal.
One more thing to note- the fries are not fried. As a matter of fact, there is no deep fryer in the Hot Krust kitchen. And the fries are made to order thus ensuring freshness.
Overall, this is one of our favorite sandwich/salad spots in Orlando. Slightly pricy but then again, Dr. Phillips is one of the more pricy areas in the metro area. Another bonus though, Evan opens his doors at 8:30am so you can can stop in and pick up a salad or a sandwich for your lunch later on your way to work. There are plenty of options for those on a Vegetarian or Gluten-Free diet too. For us, Hot Krust is an easy 4 1/2 out of 5 sprouts.