Happy Foodie Friday! This week we head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a meal at 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Once you step foot inside the restaurant, you’re immediately transported to the 1950’s, smack in the middle of Mom’s kitchen. The waiting area features the Tune-In Bar and Dad’s living room, outfitted with tacky wallpaper, vintage furniture, and a TV playing your favorite “programs.”
After waiting a bit, a “cousin,” 50’s name for its servers, comes to get you for dinner. The restaurant reminds you of an old-style kitchen, much like you’d see on Leave it to Beaver. Each group gets their own table. The dining area sticks with the theme – filled with small appliances and decorations from the time period. What I like about 50’s is that it could either be viewed as a simple kitchen from the 1950s, or viewed as a working set that puts you right in the middle of a show taking place in the 1950s.
The servers certainly put on a show. You’re warned from the beginning – no elbows on the table, no cell phones and no talking back! The servers’ antics will vary by table. A good server will get a feel for your party and determine whether you are interested in the interactive experience. I’ve seen servers go as far as “yelling” at guests and sending them to the corner; or simply taking orders, throwing in a few jokes and bringing the check. It all depends on how much fun you feel like having.
We had a great server on our most recent trip to 50’s Prime Time. Seeing that we were an older crowd (the youngest being 18,) she only threw in a few jokes. Like a good comedian, she let the crowd set the tone for the “show.” It wasn’t until my dad started making comments and joking around that she started the antics. Before long, my dad found himself bringing the dishes back to the kitchen as punishment.
But let’s get to the food.
50’s Prime Time Cafe offers old school, homestyle comfort food. The menu items are playfully named, such as “Dad’s Stuffed Pork Chop,” and “Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken.” The server will start by getting your drink orders. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you have the option of soft drinks, milkshakes, floats or other non-alcoholic specialty drinks. 50’s is one of the few restaurants at Disney that offers premium beverages with your meal. My first time at 50’s Prime Time I ordered the famous Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake. This is one of the best desserts (or drinks) in Disney. It’s a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich in a cup! While I love the shake, it quickly fills me up. For this reason, I usually pass on the shake in favor of a regular soft drink. I’ll either order the shake for dessert or grab one from the Tune-In Bar (little-known fact – you can order the shake to-go from the Tune-In Bar.)
We then place an order for the Beer-Battered Onion Rings. These babies are the size of doughnuts! A good onion ring has to pass a few tests. First, it has to have the right crunch. When you bite into an onion ring from 50’s Prime Time, it bites back. Next, they can’t be too greasy and you can certainly dig in without reaching for a napkin. Last, you have to be able to break the ring in half and have the onion stay in place – and these have a perfect break and onion separation. The onion rings are served with a delicious horseradish sauce that has a slight kick and definitely adds a nice dimension.
Time for dinner. My family loves Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken. The fried chicken is one of the more popular dishes at 50’s Prime Time. You get about four decent-sized pieces of perfectly fried chicken served aside roasted garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, and collard greens or green beans. My personal favorite is “A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes.” The dish includes two hefty pieces of fried chicken, pot roast, meatloaf and a side of mashed potatoes and greens.
The fried chicken is the real star of the dish. When we return to 50’s Prime Time, I’ll probably stick with the full plate of chicken rather than the sampler. The crust isn’t too greasy and is perfectly seasoned. It’s got a great crunch and the chicken is very juicy.
The meatloaf is good, but not my favorite. My mom cooks her meatloaf in a brown sauce, whereas 50’s is cooked more traditional with a ketchup sauce. It definitely has a few layers of flavor – you taste the onions and peppers and the ketchup sauce adds a sweet element. The meatloaf is sometimes dry, however, which takes it down a few points. The first time I tried the pot roast I was not a fan, but it shined in my most recent meal. It’s incredibly tender and separates easily by fork. It almost has a “pulled beef” taste and consistency.
After enjoying our meal, it’s time for dessert. While I’m partial to the Peanut Butter and Jelly shake, I’ll almost always opt for Dad’s Brownie Sundae. Picture
this: it’s Friday night and you’re at home. Maybe it’s snowing outside or maybe you just feel like having a lazy Friday night. You have your favorite movie ready to go on Netflix and you get a hankering for a huge ice cream sundae. You run to the freezer and grab vanilla ice cream. Just then, you spot some fresh brownies. Now we’re talking. “Do we have any whipped cream,” you wonder. Before long, your creation is a towering ice cream sundae with every fixing imaginable. That is what Dad’s Brownie Sundae is like. The base is a humongous chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream; but you wouldn’t know that, because it’s literally blanketed in whipped cream. It’s drenched in chocolate syrup and topped with Mickey-shaped sprinkles, caramel popcorn and of course, a cherry or two. This thing is massive and can definitely be split between two people. As big of an appetite as I have, I can never finish it.
All in all, I definitely recommend checking out 50’s Prime Time Cafe. The food is delicious and the antics are fun! If you can’t get a reservation, you can sit at the Tune-In Bar and order straight from the menu. You won’t get the interactive experience, but you’ll enjoy some awesome food. At the very least, order a Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake and thank me later!