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Universal Orlando announces new restaurants for CityWalk

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Published: December 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Universal Orlando today announced multiple changes to its CityWalk shopping and dining district, coming this summer.

By June 2014, Universal expected to have added a new Starbucks, a Cold Stone Creamery, a Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, Bread Box handcrafted sandwiches, Pranzo Italian Kitchen, Antojitos Mexican Food, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, and a Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.

UniversalExecutives

Here are some additional details about the new additions to CityWalk, with images and information courtesy Universal.

ANTOJITOS AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD

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This one is almost finished and will open soon! Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is a place where guests can journey through the cantinas, street carts and markets of Mexico City for unique tapas-style dining at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. Only the freshest ingredients are used to create craveable, made-from-scratch Mexican street fare in a very authentic environment.

COLD STONE CREAMERY

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For more than 25 years, Cold Stone Creamery has served up the finest, freshest ice cream, cakes, smoothies and shakes using only the highest quality ingredients and their signature process of preparing your custom ice cream creation on a frozen granite stone.

STARBUCKS (Moving)

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Starbucks will move to a lower-level location near the escalators so you can pick up your coffee conveniently on the way in...or the way out of the parks. It will grow to 130 seats, and will be located next to Cold Stone Creamery. With more than 18,000 stores in 62 countries, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world.

THE COWFISH and ITALIAN KITCHEN CONCEPT

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Innovative sushi joins forces with creative burgers for an untraditional dining experience at this reincarnation of the popular North Carolina hotspot. The result: “Burgushi,” a cutting-edge fusion of burger and sushi. Burgushi items include sushi rolls created using burger components and sandwiches created using sushi elements. It may the first time you've heard the term 'burgushi,' but it won't be the last.

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Immerse yourself in the essence of modern Italian cuisine at the Italian Kitchen Concept, created by Universal Orlando. Watch as the culinary team handcrafts your pasta from scratch to create fresh takes on classic dishes in a clean, contemporary dining atmosphere.

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HOT DOG HALL OF FAME

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Hot Dog Hall of Fame, an outdoor quick-service offering, will sit between Emeril's and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. Strike out your hunger with some of the most iconic hot dog creations from our nation’s most famous ballparks. Take a seat in the bleachers and enjoy a loaded Chicago dog with all the toppings, a perfectly charred Boston brat, a monster LA dog and more. Jeff Bornmann, vice president of development for the restaurant said, "We have everything from your basic dog to Chicago dog, New York dog, deli dog — which will have pastrami, sour kraut, Swiss cheese — two footlong versions and then barbecue dogs," "The goal is to feature dogs that are iconic dogs from every region of the country." Just don't expect ketchup...they don't have that here. Instead look for a mustard bar containing what is said to be the best mustards in the world.

BREAD BOX

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With a Bread Box sandwich, you’ll be transported back to your childhood kitchen or your favorite street corner deli.  Here you’ll find that the combination of quality meats and vegetables, fresh bread, and simple preparation can transform a sandwich into something more.

MENCHIE’S

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One of the world’s most popular frozen yogurt shops is coming to Universal CityWalk.   The dream was to create a place where people from all walks of life and ages could enjoy themselves—not only with great tasting, quality frozen yogurt and an expansive self-serve toppings bar, but with a unique experience in a fun and happy environment that makes you smile.

RED OVEN PIZZA BAKERY

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Red Oven Pizza Bakery is already open. You order at the registers and then a server will bring you your food as you are seated outdoors. Universal CityWalk's Vice President of Revenue Operations Modesto Alcala seemed particularly proud of this location. He took a small group of us on a personal tour of Red Oven Pizza Bakery.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS STORE
In addition to all the new restaurants at Universal Citywalk, there will also be an update to the Universal Studios Store. Take home a bit of movie magic! The store features Universal Studios logo collectibles for adults and children – including T-shirts, plush toys, hats and beach towels – featuring the likenesses of Spider-Man, Woody Woodpecker, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Simpsons and the characters of Dr. Seuss. The store will look refreshed, and will become more of a huge centerpiece. Look for all of these changes to be completed in 2014. 

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The new businesses will replace Pastamore and Latin Quarter, as well as the previous Starbucks location. CityWalk's candy shop and the cigar shop recently announced that they would close, too.

Readers' Opinions

From Oak A on December 12, 2013 at 9:59 AM
I heard that a new cornerstone restaurant would be a Jekyll & Hyde location. I have dined at the NYC location, and the atmosphere was incredible.
From Robert Niles on December 12, 2013 at 10:12 AM
Apparently, there will be more announcements in June. I'm guessing that J&H might be announced then, in conjunction with the Harry Potter Diagon Alley press opening.
From Melanie Howe on December 12, 2013 at 11:15 AM
I'm hoping the J&H rumors are true....Otherwise, this is a sad, sad list of replacements for my beloved Latin Quarter.....First time I've ever been totally underwhelmed by a Universal "big" announcement. Keeping my fingers crossed for more later.
From Shannon Nelson on December 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM
I agree with Melanie. Very underwhelming replacements aside from J&H, which looks awesome. But another Starbucks, coldstone creamery, already have these in Houma, LA. Even the Cowfish sushi burger looks underwhelming. I can get a good burger at Nascar grill. So I will miss Latin Quarter, but imagine J&H at Halloween horror nights. Places like that is what Universal needs, not places you can go to in your hometown. Even the BK Whopper bar, you can get burgers you can't get at a regular BK. Much rather see NBA city replaced with NFL or maybe a WWE restaurant.
From James Rao on December 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM
I think change is great, so I am not opposed to it in anyway (unless that change involves removing Spider-Man from IOA), and most of these restaurants sound mildly interesting and somewhat unique. However, bringing in a Schussler Creative restaurant cannot be a good thing (Hot Dog Hall Of Fame)... Schussler is great at concepts, but the food is usually awful and the prices out of control. I had hoped Universal would learn from Disney's mistakes (Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex), not copy them!

Besides, can't you still get a Nathan's Dog inside the park?

From 67.82.34.52 on December 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM
We went to the Red Oven Pizza last week and it was fantastic! What a pleasant surprise to actually find good pizza in Florida. And the staff was great as well. Also, it was open at 2am on a Sunday night! A great first step for the new Citywalk.
From Robert Niles on December 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM
I'll take USH's new Pink's over UOR's new hot dog place, no matter what how it turns out.
From 98.162.245.45 on December 12, 2013 at 7:14 PM
Yes! At least in October they were still serving Nathan's Hot Dogs in the parks. Despite the high-falutin food that Niles and company review on here, for me, nothing beats a frozen butterbeer and a hotdog in IOA. Just watch out if you get one in the Lost Continent area. The squirrels by the hotdog stand are not shy and they'll jump right onto your table to try and steal a bite.

Moving Starbucks to the lower level of CW makes sense too. There have been many a time after HHN that I would have loved to get a frappucino, but I didn't want to walk up the stairs to see if they were still open or not. There's nothing more disappointing than walking around a park for 8+ hours and then climb the escalator stairs that are always out of order, then find out Starbucks is closed.

From Gabriel Schroll on December 12, 2013 at 9:11 PM
It seems kind of cool to me, except for the hot dog place. I actually preferred Starbucks to be upstairs, as it was nice to sit by the window and people watch from above. But it's still Starbucks. I'd prefer they put in something a little more unique. Starbucks is on every street corner as it is.

I'd love to see J&H! That would be pretty amazing. I also can't say I'm disappointed in the Burgushi concept, having never heard of that before. I'll definitely try it the next time I'm in Orlando.

Change is (usually) good. Mixing it up, trying new things, replacing underperforming restaurants and/or stores is in their best interest. If a new restaurant is sub par, it'll only be a matter of time before it's replaced with something else. That's just the way these things work.

Now if they could just remove Rip Ride Rockit and put in an actual B&M coaster with some inversions and/or "real" loops, I'd be happy. I hate that ride.

Oh well.

I'm looking forward to seeing the changes. They won't all be good, but at least Pastamore is going away. Never did like that place.

From Mark Hollamon on December 13, 2013 at 4:58 AM
I didn't read anywhere in the post that the NASCAR Cafe was one of the old eateries on the chopping block and that is too bad. The NASCAR Cafe is one of if not the worst restaurants in or out of a theme park.

Missed opportunities?

From Annette Forrest on December 13, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Does anyone know anything about the Jekyl & Hyde Club coming to Universal?

They had one in NYC for years my husband loved (he's a big horror fan). We never got to take my boys though because it closed a few years ago. It was located near Central Park, on 7th Avenue I believe. It was themed like the mad scientist's lab and was spooky inside. Like Halloween every day.

I have seen rumors about it coming to Universal for several months now. Anyone got the scoop on that?

From N B on December 13, 2013 at 4:53 PM
We ate at NASCAR a couple times. It wasn't the most memorable dinner experience, but we had no problem with the food at all.

This being said, I wouldn't mind seeing it go along with NBA. I think change is great, which is why I'm not upset about everything that is coming down in favor of new restaurants.

From N B on December 13, 2013 at 5:09 PM
Forgot to mention. We love the fact that there is a Starbucks right in the Hard Rock hotel. Nothing beats grabbing a Caramel Macchiato on the way to IOA for early entry.

Being up that early at the resort it sort of surreal. The only other people walking around are all on-site guests. Everyone is so quiet, even though thousands of people are converging on the gates at IOA.

At night time, only the die-hards are at the CityWalk until all hours of the morning. Nothing like an evening boat drink at the Lone Palm Airport.

From 76.182.116.68 on December 15, 2013 at 8:51 PM
Don't underestimate CowFish. This place is one of the best new and fun restaurants that I have been to in a while. Since it opened in Raleigh it is truly a tough table to get with constant long waits.

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