Top 8 Amusement Park Restaurants

Let’s be honest. Amusement parks aren’t often known for their memorable food options. The phrase "amusement park food" alone brings up images of deep fryers bubbling with fried and greasy food. However, there are some parks with restaurants that are just as alluring as their wild attractions. Check out our list of the top eight amusement park restaurants to find out where the best culinary attractions are located.

8. Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs

Boardwalk, Coney Island, New York

While Nathan’s Famous hot dogs are widely accessible, some people will tell you that the best way to experience these all beef dogs is at the original Nathan's location on Coney Island. Maybe it has something to do with the air, heavy with the scent of salt water, or perhaps it’s the nostalgia of eating at the original Nathan’s restaurant. Whatever the reason is, stopping at this stand is a must for anyone spending the day exploring the attractions at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Not to mention, Nathan’s offers other delicious food options, like Krispy chicken sandwiches, juicy burgers, and fries loaded with toppings.

7. Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, California

The food at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant is so good that the amusement park was built to entertain the long line of guests waiting to get a seat in the restaurant. Back in the 1920’s, Knott’s Berry Farm was exactly what it sounded like: a simple berry farm. In 1934, the family decided to open up a five table tea room that sold fried chicken, biscuits, and boysenberry pie. Over time, the meals at Mrs. Knott’s restaurant became so popular that the family decided to build shops and attractions for guests while they waited for a seat. Today, the restaurant has expanded in size and offers both indoor and outdoor seating, along with a full-service bar, not to mention a massive amusement park.


6. The Alamo

Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

While Knoebels is primarily known for its odd spelling (pronounced kuh-no-bels) and abundance of rides, this amusement park is also a destination for some tasty eats. The Alamo, named after the historic Alamo Mission in Texas, is a full-service restaurant that has been in operation since 1926. The menu here offers a little something for everybody: chicken and waffles, broiled New England whitefish, and even gnocchi. If their menu listings don’t sound appealing, maybe the fact that Knoebels has won the Golden Ticket’s “Best Food” award 12 years in a row will draw you in to see what all the hype is about.

5. Hungry Dutchman Cafe

Nelis' Dutch Village, Holland, Michigan

Nelis’ Dutch Village is a destination within a destination. Not only does this park boast fields filled with colorful tulips, but it is also designed to represent the different villages of the Nelis family’s home country, Holland. However, the best part of this amusement park is that you can try food from the Netherlands without having to leave the country. Located within the 10 sprawling acres of Dutch Village lies the Hungry Dutchman Cafe. It's here that you can try traditional, and mouthwatering, meals from Holland, like pork sausage baked in flaky pastry dough with a side of Dutch apple pie.

4. Boma - Flavors of Africa

Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida

With as many dining options as Disney World has to offer, it’s no surprise that one of their restaurants landed a spot on our list. Much like the Hungry Dutchman Cafe, Boma provides guests a wide variety of flavors from other countries without having to spend money on the airfare. Located within Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this restaurant offers delicious and unique entrees, sides, and desserts from over 50 African countries, like Harira soup, Pap and Chakalaka, and Tunisian couscous salad. The building itself is even designed to resemble a bustling African marketplace. Boma also offers more kid-friendly meal options such as corn dog nuggets, mac and cheese, and grilled chicken.


3. Three Broomsticks

Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City, California

Transforming the fictional world of Harry Potter into an interactive theme park isn’t an easy task. But, it’s something Universal Studios has done not once, but twice. Besides offering all the fan favorites like Honeydukes and Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, the snowy, magical town of Hogsmeade also has a festive place to dine, the Three Broomsticks restaurant. While the menu mostly features dishes native to England, like shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, and bangers and mash, this restaurant also offers the great feast platter that allows visitors to dine like a wizard returning to Hogwarts. Guests can even sip on Butterbeer, available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

2. Aunt Granny's All You Care to Eat Buffet

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Tucked away in the Great Smoky Mountains, tourists can find Aunt Granny’s All You Care to Eat Buffet, the perfect place to try a wide, and endless, array of classic Southern comfort foods. While the name may seem to come from an older member of the Parton family, ‘Aunt Granny’ is actually a nickname given to Dolly herself from her nieces and nephews. Dollywood also offers other quality restaurants, like Backstage and Granny Ogle’s Ham n’ Beans, where guests can feast on sides and entrees like fried green tomatoes, banana pudding, and meatloaf.

1. Mythos Restaurant

Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida

Take a break from all the hustle and bustle of Universal Studios by unwinding and dining in the otherworldly Mythos Restaurant. Designed inside and out to look like a grotto carved by the gods, this 5-star, sit down restaurant is renowned by both foodies and amusement park goers for having some of the best food around. Their menu boasts a variety of options like spanakopita dip, pad thai, and pressed porchetta panini. They also offer a kid’s menu that features simpler dishes, like chicken fingers and cheese pizza. If their wide range of tasty dishes isn’t impressive enough, they’ve also been declared the world’s best amusement park restaurant six years in a row by Theme Park Insider.


Not only can you find thrilling attractions behind the walls of amusement parks, but you can also discover mouthwatering meals. So, forget about the notion that all amusement park food is greasy and fried, and check out the delicious dishes these restaurants are serving up.

Posted in: Trends | By Emily Hepner

How to Make a Profit with Poutine

You may have noticed poutine showing up on a lot of American bar and restaurant menus recently. This tasty treat is a Canadian comfort food that is finally making its way down to us. But what exactly is it? And why would you want to include it on your menu? To learn about this salty, savory snack food, keep reading and find out how you can make a profit with poutine.

What is Poutine?

Poutine is a dish made with french fries covered in fresh cheddar cheese curds and gravy. This junk food can be eaten on its own or as an appetizer, much like regular cheese fries in many places in the U.S.

The meaning of the word “poutine” isn’t quite certain. Many believe it comes from the English and French word pudding. However, it’s also said that poutine used to just be a slang term for “mess” in Quebec, which is how people thought the dish looked when it first started showing up.

History of Poutine

Like the origin of the word "poutine," the history of this dish is unclear. There are several different poutine origin stories, but they all lead back to 1957 in rural Quebec. What is known is that the first poutine consisted of only french fries and cheese curds, with the gravy being added a few years later in 1964.

One of the first instances of this dish in the U.S. dates back to the late 1970s, when “disco fries” were popular in New York and New Jersey. People would enjoy them as a late-night snack after partying, hence the “disco” part of their name. The main distinction between poutine and disco fries is that the American dish uses shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese, while poutine is served with cheese curds.

Why is Poutine Popular?

People all over the United States love to order this savory snack food. However, business owners also love to have it on their menus because of how inexpensive it is to make. The basic recipe only calls for three ingredients: french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. You also don’t need any kitchen equipment beyond a standard french fry cutter and commercial deep fryer, which you probably already have.

Cost Breakdown of Poutine

To figure out exactly how profitable it is to put poutine on your menu, we decided to make our own! Then, we tallied up the cost of the ingredients we used and compared it to the prices we found on menus.

Profit Margin

When broken down, the cost of the ingredients needed to make one plate of poutine is about $1.50. When we looked at the prices on American menus, a plate of poutine can cost up to $14, but most are around $8 per serving. That gives you a huge profit margin, even if you do use ingredients in addition to the three traditional ones (such as aioli, meat, or mushrooms).


  • Sold on Menu - $8
  • Food Cost per Serving - $1.50
  • Profit Margin per Serving - $6.50
  • Poutine Recipe

    We chose to make a traditional poutine recipe for our experiment. It consisted of only three ingredients: fresh cut french fries, cheese curds, and homemade gravy. Many restaurants may offer other ingredients on their dishes, which may raise the cost of making them, but we decided to stick to the basics. Check out our video to see our poutine recipe!


    Ingredients

    • 1-2 large Idaho potatoes
    • 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 1/2 clove minced garlic
    • 1/2 tbsp. minced onion
    • 1/2 cup beef stock
    • 1 tbsp. ketchup
    • 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
    • 1/2 tbsp. peppercorns
    • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1/2 tbsp. flour
    • 1 cup chedder cheese curds
    • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

    Directions

    1. Thoroughly scrub the potatoes and cut into sticks about ½” thick using a french fry cutter.
    2. Place the potatoes in cold water for about an hour. Drain and dry them well before frying.
    3. In a saucepan over medium heat, add oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes.
    4. Add the ketchup, vinegar, peppercorns, Worcestershire sauce, and beef stock to the saucepan.
    5. Stir the ingredients and bring to a boil.
    6. In another saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour to make a roux.
    7. Stir the roux for about 3 minutes or until it’s light brown in color.
    8. Whisk in the stock mixture.
    9. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until reduced by half.
    10. Strain the sauce through a china cap strainer.
    11. Season the liquid with salt and pepper.
    12. Fry the dry potato strips until golden.
    13. Top the fries with the cheese curds and gravy.

    Poutine is a delicious comfort food that's been popular in Canada for years and is finally making its way down to the U.S. There are many different ways to modify it, but even with extra ingredients added, this dish has a large profit margin. So, if you're looking for a new recipe that's as profitable as it is easy to make, consider poutine as a cost-effective, delicious addition to your bar or restaurant menu.

    Posted in: Trends | By Alyssa Burns

    Making a Tom Collins with The Horse Inn

    Formerly known as the official drink of summer, a Tom Collins offers a refreshing lemon flavor that is sure to keep your guests cool. Even though summer may be winding down, it’s never too late to add this classic cocktail to your bar menu. To learn how to make a Tom Collins, we met with Benjamin Hash, bar manager of Lancaster, PA's Horse Inn, a Prohibition-themed bar and restaurant. Check out our instructional video and step-by-step directions below, so you can start serving your guests this refreshing summer drink.

    History of the Tom Collins

    During the summer of 1874, a simple joke began in America. A stranger would pick a friend, or even a random person off the street, and tell them that someone named Tom Collins was spreading lies about them at the local bar. The person, confused and enraged with the mysterious Collins, would rush to the bar to confront him, only to find that he had made his way to another bar across town. Then, the person would rush to that bar only to be told that Mr. Collins had left for another location.

    Eventually, the practical joker would reveal that there was no Tom Collins and that they had made it all up. In some bars, the person on the hunt would walk into a bar and ask, “Where is Tom Collins?" The bartender would then serve them the now famous cocktail. This hoax became so popular across the nation that even newspapers began reporting Tom Collins sightings.

    While that story is certainly fun to tell, it’s not the authentic story behind the Tom Collins. The real history of this sour cocktail dates back to mid-17th century London in a popular hotel and coffee house called Limmer’s Old House. It was here the drink, a combination of lemon juice, club soda, powdered sugar, and Old Tom gin, was named after their headwaiter, John Collins. Even though Collins did not craft this mixed drink himself, he was so beloved by the patrons that they named it in honor of him. However, it’s believed that the name was eventually changed to Tom Collins because of the use of Old Tom gin.

    How to Make a Tom Collins


    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 oz. Old Tom gin
    • 1 oz. lemon juice
    • 1 oz. honey simple syrup
    • 1 oz. egg whites
    • 1/2 oz. club soda
    • 1 brandied cherry

    Directions

      Mixing Glass Picture
    1. Ice the Collins glass you'll be serving your Tom Collins in.
    2. Measure and add the Old Tom gin, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and egg whites to a cocktail shaker.
    3. Shake the ingredients together.
    4. Add a few scoops of ice to your cocktail shaker. Again, shake your ingredients together.
    5. Add the club soda to your mixed ingredients.
    6. Pour your mixed ingredients into the Collins glass using a cocktail strainer.
    7. Garnish your finished drink with the brandied cherry and serve.

    Why Use Egg Whites in Your Cocktail?

    While not every cocktail recipe will feature egg whites, adding them to your cocktails helps to add a frothy, smooth finish that is sure to impress your guests. Since egg whites just affect the texture of your mixed drinks and cocktails, you don't have to worry about them hindering the delicious flavors of your finished product. Besides a Tom Collins, egg whites are also a great addition in whiskey sours, Clover Clubs, and Ramos Gin Fizzes.

    Posted in: Drink Recipes | By Emily Hepner

    How to Host a Seafood Boil at a Brewery

    If you own a brewery or brewpub, hosting a seafood boil is a great way to bring your local community together while also increasing sales at your business. One of the best additions to any seafood boil is delicious, ice cold beer, so hosting an event like this will draw in new customers and give them a chance to try out some of your signature brews. The ingredients and preparation methods for different types of seafood boils vary by region, but the delicious results are always the same. Keep reading to learn more about preparing for and hosting a successful seafood boil party at your brewery.

    What is a Seafood Boil?

    Generally speaking, a seafood boil refers to a social event or gathering that centers around the preparation and consumption of shellfish. The contents and cooking styles of seafood boils vary by region, along with the side dishes and drinks served. Seafood boil parties are often sponsored by community organizations or seafood restaurants, making them the perfect opportunity to socialize with friends while enjoying delicious food. However, a brewery is also an ideal place to hold a boil, especially if you plan on cooking with or serving beer at your event.

    In terms of ingredients, seafood boils include shellfish like whole crabs, crab legs, lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, and crawfish. These ingredients will vary based upon the area of the country where the boil is held and which seafood is in season. You may also want to include vegetables like onions, celery, potatoes, and corn, and spices like bay leaves, garlic, salt, pepper, chilies, and thyme. Some seafood boils even include andouille sausage for an extra burst of flavor.

    What Are the Different Kinds of Seafood Boils?

    The preparation style and ingredients in seafood boils vary by what's available and prevalent in specific regions of the country and that area's unique culinary history. Keep reading to learn more about different seafood boil party menus.

    Cajun and Louisiana Seafood Boils

    Cajun and Louisiana-style seafood boils are synonymous and typically only feature one type of seafood -- usually shrimp, crab, or crawfish. If you decide to hold this kind of seafood boil party, you might also want to add andouille sausage and Cajun seasonings, like cumin, coriander, and paprika. You can also purchase pre-mixed Cajun seasoning mixes. Historically, this style of seafood boil has been held in the French Quarter area of New Orleans since at least the 1950s.

    Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry Seafood Boils

    Lowcountry seafood boils usually feature a variety of different seafood and are generally less spicy than their Cajun cousins. The finished product is often called Frogmore Stew, which refers to a town in the fishing community of St. Helena Island in South Carolina. Seafood boil parties in this area have been held since the 1960s and showcase the region's rich melting pot of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean flavors. If you're holding this style of seafood boil, you might also consider adding ham, another traditional ingredient in Lowcountry boils.

    Chesapeake and Mid-Atlantic Crab Boils

    Seafood boils in the mid-Atlantic region are largely centered around crabs, which are plentiful in the Chesapeake Bay and nearby Atlantic Ocean. The crabs at a crab boil party are typically steamed or boiled in spiced water or beer. Afterwards, the crabs are seasoned with seafood spice mixes like Old Bay or J.O., both of which complement and showcase the flavor of the crab. Guests will then crack, pick, and eat the crab meat by hand alongside dipping sauces and sides like corn and cole slaw.

    New England Seafood Boils

    When holding a New England seafood boil, you'll want to have plenty of clams and lobster on hand. Most locals also add potatoes, corn, and mild sausage to the mix, and seasoning is minimal. New England seafood boils are the perfect choice for breweries, because the most common boiling liquid is beer.

    How Can You Market and Spread Awareness for Your Seafood Boil?

    Effectively marketing your seafood boil is crucial to its success. We spoke with Anthony at Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, VA, who held a seafood boil to benefit autism awareness in collaboration with Ford's Fish Shack, a local restaurant that provided seafood for the event. He offered the following pro tips on how they successfully marketed their boil:

    "Some of our channels included listing the event early on our website (at least 30 days prior to the event), email marketing, having the staff talk to patrons about it, having table toppers and posters advertising it, and reaching out to every possible local news outlet we could... I believe we ended up getting listed on around 10 websites (between calendars and actual news coverage like the Loudoun Times-Mirror)."

    "Ford's Fish Shack and Autism Speaks helped as well. Lastly, and probably most importantly, we promoted through Facebook and Facebook ads. We were posting pictures on our main Old Ox page and on the event page itself... Every time someone likes a picture that we post, the reach for that post increases substantially, so we posted a lot and it worked extremely well for this event. We use Facebook and social media heavily to promote all of our events, big or small."

    Can You Hold a Seafood Boil if Your Brewery Doesn't Serve Food?

    While many breweries also have kitchens that serve a variety of delicious foods, some are solely focused on their beer. If your brewery doesn't serve food, you can hire a catering company and bring them on site to prepare your seafood boil. Be sure to obtain any necessary special event licenses beforehand, as you don't want to be held liable if guests are injured, become sick, or choose to drink and drive.

    Why Use Beer to Boil Your Seafood?

    While some people use water as their primary boiling liquid, beer is an excellent choice for cooking at a seafood boil. The natural sugars and maltiness inherent in beer will add a rich depth of flavor to your food. Beer also helps tenderize meats and seafood. You'll probably want to use a mild ale or lager, as these brews will add flavor without interfering or clashing with the flavor of the food.

    We also spoke with Fort Collins Brewery in Fort Collins, CO. They had the following to say about using beer as your primary boiling liquid:

    "We paired [our seafood boil] with Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat. We also boiled the shrimp using that beer. We did this because that particular beer pairs very well with seafood dishes. The sweetness and tartness helps bring out the savory flavors of the boil."

    Which Beers Should You Serve to Complement Your Seafood?

    The style of beer you serve at your seafood or crab boil party depends largely upon the type of shellfish you'll be serving. For recommended pairings, check out the table below.


    Shellfish Beer
    Clams Choose a German pilsner like Victory Brewing Company's Prima Pils.
    Crabs Try a farmhouse saison like Brewery Ommegang's Hennepin.
    Crawfish Choose an American pale ale like Lagunitas Brewing Company's A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale.
    Lobster Try a hefeweizen like Sierra Nevada's Kellerweis.
    Mussels Choose a Berliner weiss like Firestone Walker Brewing Company's Bretta Rose.
    Oysters Try an English stout like Magic Hat Brewing Company's Heart of Darkness.
    Shrimp Choose a doppelbock like Brauerei Ayinger's Celebrator.

    If you're interested in pairing your beer with other ingredients in the boil, here are a few suggestions.


    Side Beer
    Corn Try a lager like Guinness's Harp Lager.
    Potatoes Choose an amber ale like Tröegs Brewing Company's Nugget Nectar.
    Sausage Try a märzen like Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu's Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen.

    Should You Brew A Unique Batch of Beer for Your Seafood Boil?

    If you'd like to provide a more personal touch at your seafood boil (and expose more patrons to what your brewery has to offer), you can brew a unique batch of beer specifically for the event. Old Ox did this for their boil, and it was a huge hit. Here's what they had to say about this signature brew:

    "We brewed a hybrid-style beer (blending an ale and lager together) and named it "Blue Lobstah." We collaborated with the team from Ford's Seafood Shack on this beer... We created several different varieties for them to try, and they loved the hybrid, so we named it and ran with it!"

    "Here was our description of the beer: 'Our special event beer is "Blue Lobstah!" This hybrid style blends the crisp, refreshing base of a golden lager with the subtle spice complexity of a farmhouse ale.'"

    What Equipment Do You Need to Host a Seafood Boil?

    The most important piece of equipment you'll need at your seafood boil party is an outdoor gas stove, in addition to a large stock pot and stock pot basket. You can also purchase a steamer kit, which will generally contain a stock pot, steamer basket, propane burner, and other accessories. You'll also want to have a large mesh scoop to ladle the seafood, meat, and vegetables out of the stock pot. If you're more of a traditionalist, you can substitute a net or wire mesh for the stock pot basket.

    What Else Will You Need on the Day of Your Seafood Boil?

    Weather permitting, the best place to hold your seafood boil is outside on your business's lawn, patio, or deck. Instead of spreading tablecloths, lay down several layers of newspaper or heavy weight brown paper. When your boil is ready, you can drain the extra water onto the ground and dump the food directly onto the tables. Be sure to provide plenty of napkins, paper towels, wet wipes, and wet towels for guests to clean their hands with during and after the boil. Similarly, you might want to have bowls handy for shells and corn cobs.

    If guests are eating crabs or other hard-to-pick seafood, you'll want to have crab mallets and knives nearby. When it comes to condiments, consider having cocktail sauce, drawn butter, hot sauce, and lemons at every table. You might also want to have crackers or bread available. When patrons finish their feast, all you'll have to do is ball up the paper with the shells and other trash inside and place it in a garbage can.


    If your brewery or brewpub is looking for new ways to bring guests through your doors, hosting a seafood or crab boil party is a great place to start. Depending on what's plentiful in your area, you can choose between a variety of seafood boil styles and ingredients. Similarly, holding a boil gives your business the opportunity to showcase your best beers and pair them with different types of delicious shellfish. With these seafood boil party ideas in mind, grab your shellfish, steam pot, and beer and get boiling!

    Posted in: Bar Supplies | By Nora Fulmer
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