Theme Park Apprentice 7: Challenge 3

Edited: July 24, 2015, 6:48 PM

As a reminder, Challenge 2 is still going on and is due Saturday, July 25th at midnight. Please do not forget to submit an entry for that challenge.

Due to requests for more time to work on the weekends, challenge postings will be moved to Friday evenings beginning with this challenge. Please see the Chatter thread for additional information.

Challenge 3: Food and Wine

The Challenge

Since its inauguration in 1995, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has become one of the most popular seasonal events put on by the Walt Disney World Resort. Due to its success, regional parks have recently begun trying to copy the event. You have been hired by a park that has decided to do the same, but with a bit of a twist...instead of a seasonal event, they want a permanent eatery in the form of a station service restaurant. Your challenge is to come up with a restaurant concept that meets the following criteria:

-Your restaurant must be some form of station service. You may have multiple counters serving different items with independent lines and payment, you may have a cafeteria-style restaurant where guests collect their items and pay at the checkout, or you may use a buffet where guests pay a flat fee and can collect as much as they want from various locations.
-Your restaurant must have an overall theme, and each individual food station must fit into that theme in some form. The theme of your restaurant must fit the park.
-You must have at least five food stations in your restaurant. You may have up to eight stations.
-You may include regional chains as stations in your restaurant if they fit the theme, but you may not include national or international chains.
-While you are encouraged to select your home park for this challenge, you are welcome to use any park outside of Disney or Universal.

The Proposal

Your proposal for this challenge should be 3-5 pages (not including pictures) and should include:

-The name and theme of your restaurant
-The park, and the specific location in the park, where your restaurant is located
-A description of your restaurant, including the layout of the serving and seating areas and the appearance of the interior and exterior
-A list of stations with sample menus and approximate prices
-Anything else you feel will benefit your proposal

The Advice

-To attract the widest possible audience, it is advisable to have a variety of offerings.
-Make sure the size of the restaurant is appropriate for the park you have chosen. A medium-sized regional park doesn’t need an eatery that seats 1,000+ guests, for example.
-Since you’re using several stations, there is no need to develop an extended menu for each one. 3-5 items with appropriate sides is satisfactory for a station.
-Prices do not need to be exact, but they should be reasonable. It is okay to give a range for the items at each station rather than price everything individually provided the range is small (for example, $10-15 would be okay but $10-30 would not).
-Feel free to get creative with your menus, but don’t make it too exotic for the majority of visitors.

The Deadline

All proposals must be submitted by midnight on Saturday, August 1st.

Replies (33)

Edited: July 24, 2015, 9:55 PM

I had a feeling this one was going to frustrate me...and I was right. For some reason it seems like whoever is creating these challenges is forgetting that this contest is about CREATIVITY. When you design the whole restaurant for me and then tell me that the only thing I can do is pick a theme to the restaurant, I have to be honest, I'm feeling a little stifled. How many different themes can you put on a restaurant that is a counter service restaurant? I can think of about 4 and they are all about 85% similar to each other. How are you going to judge this one when everyone has 4 different themes to choose from and no ability to be unique from the rest of the pack? And what is with the pricing? I just went to my craptastic local theme park and paid $6 for a bottled water. $15 is going to get you something that has already been on someone else's plate twice. A quality meal at an amusement park/theme park is going to cost somewhere in the area of $40 - $50 per person....and that is on the low end... And then we're not supposed to get creative with the menu?? Once again, I thought this whole thing was about creativity and what would be the point in creating another way to shill out crappy burgers and tacos...because anything else would be considered "exotic"....and I don't get the overall concept of a unifying theme....if you serve Mexican food and theme it to Mexico, and then have a burger bar right across from it and theme it to Americana, then you immediately have clashing themes. You also seem to be forgetting the fact that when people are in amusement parks eating $10-$15 food, they are more than likely trying to scarf it down as fast as they can so they can go back out and get on roller coasters as soon as possible.

I at least see where you were trying to go with this, but even my craptastic local park already has one of these...and people don't give a crap about some kind of unifying theme...they window shop all of the stations and then pick one and buy their entire meal from that one place...

You tell us to make the restaurant fit the theme of the park and then insist that we can't use a park that actually has a theme to it, instead asking us to use our local parks. I don't know how to break this to you, but the only theme in my local park is unrulely teenagers and a general feeling of being run down and dirty...

By the time I get this restaurant themed to urban crime and serving a vast variety of cheap and tasteless burgers, I have to wonder what this all has to do with Epcot's Food and Wine festival...

This whole thing doesn't make much sense at all...

Please quit trying to build my proposal for me and open these up for some creativity!

July 25, 2015, 3:56 AM

Jeff, calm down. I think you read way too much into the challenge. I understand your concern about the price range thing, but that was not meant to be a limit on what you set the prices at, just not to have too much variance in the price menu without being able to back it up. I'm going out on a limb here with an example, and this is without doing any research into what an appropriate price is. Say you have a barbeque counter. You should not say that prices range from $10-$60 then say that it offers a variety of barbequed choices. Be more specific. Say something like "prices start at $10 for a grilled buffalo burger, $20 for half a chicken and 2 sides, up to $60 for a full side of elk ribs". You don't have to give a complete menu, but some examples to justify what price range you establish for each station.

Every park has some sort of theme to it, crappy as some of them are. If it is a generic theme (western) then use it and make the food establishment something that is appropriate to a western theme, not necessarily a western/cowboy/chuck wagon theme, but if you do then and make it THE attraction for the park, the place that will start a renaissance in the park and force park management to bring the rest of the park up to the standards of your new food court.

You are encouraged to use your local park, because you know it better than others (presumably) but you don't have to use it. You can use any park anywhere other than a Disney or Universal park. You say that there are a limited number of potential themes- so use your imagination and find a way to make your choice of theme unique. If you can't find a way to do that in your local park, go somewhere else that you are familiar with, or go to a park that has enough variety that you can create a unique food court-style setting that will let you do something "completely different".

Jeff, and everyone, don't read rules into the challenge that aren't there. Write what you know is the best answer to the challenge and write it so well that the judges are blown away by the quality of your proposal. Be able to justify your proposals, keep them both imaginative and realistic, and for cryin-out-loud have some FUN with this! I've got about a dozen ideas for this challenge myself.

July 25, 2015, 7:16 AM

>>>>And what is with the pricing? I just went to my craptastic local theme park and paid $6 for a bottled water. $15 is going to get you something that has already been on someone else's plate twice. A quality meal at an amusement park/theme park is going to cost somewhere in the area of $40 - $50 per person....and that is on the low end...

I think you've misread the challenge. AJ's intention appears to be to allow you to use a "range" for prices rather than a specific amount, but no to get crazy with the range. Ie- saying fries cost between $1-100 is insane - the range is way too high. Saying they cost $4-6 is reasonable.

If your prices are 45-50 for a main, thats fine, but if you had it at 20-60, thats a problem.

>>>>You tell us to make the restaurant fit the theme of the park and then insist that we can't use a park that actually has a theme to it, instead asking us to use our local parks. I don't know how to break this to you, but the only theme in my local park is unrulely teenagers and a general feeling of being run down and dirty...

You're just being told not to use the big 2 - I'm not going to tie you to whatever I think your local park is - but to suggest that non Disney/Universal parks don't have a "theme" to me shows a lack of creativity and awareness of non Disney/Universal parks.

July 25, 2015, 10:32 AM

A question: Supposing our local park has a seasonal food festival already. Would it be acceptable to use that as a jumping-off point for our own restaurant?

Edited: July 25, 2015, 10:57 AM

I've got a pretty looney idea for this one myself, I might write it up and drop it in the unofficial submissions after the deadline...

Doug, Let me check with the others. Personally (speaking with a competitor hat on) I'd shy away from it - either do soemthing distinct from whats there already, or choose a new park. But I'll discuss it with the judges.

Edited: July 25, 2015, 11:30 AM

Jeff, I think James and Chad pretty much covered everything but I'll add my thoughts as well.

First off, every challenge in this season (except the redemption challenge) was originally drafted by me. However, we all review the challenges and discuss modifications before they are posted. For instance, this challenge originally required usage of your local park, but after discussion it went to any regional park, then any park beside Epcot, then any non-Disney park, then finally any non-Disney or Universal park. While I do not write full proposals, I made sure I could come up with several different solutions to each challenge and chose the seven (out of ten I originally created) that would likely get the most variety of submissions. I will admit that this particular challenge was probably my least favorite of the ones I chose, but it was the only restaurant idea I could come up with that fit the theme of this season and was different from what had been done before.

Secondly, before I started working on the competition, James advised me that if I do two seasons they should be very different to maintain interest. Since TPA 6.1 was a very blue-sky type of season with very loose requirements, I chose to go for a more realistic scenario concept where you're given a task with set boundaries and have to accomplish it. The intent is not to prevent creativity, but rather to force competitors to think a bit differently about what they want to do. Look at the attractions that are being built recently, not just by the destination parks, but by regional parks that have restrictions similar to what is seen in these challenges. Creativity is definitely there.

Third, I think you are probably either misinterpreting the challenge or are creating rules that aren't really rules. This challenge only has five rules:

1. Station service restaurant of some type
2. Restaurant has some kind of theme (it can be as strong or as loose as you want)
3. 5-8 stations
4. Regional chains are allowed as stations, national or international chains are not
5. Pick any park other than Disney or Universal

Everything else is simply a guideline and is intended to help those who aren't sure where to start. If you don't follow these, and especially if you have good justification for what you've come up with, we will definitely not penalize you for it. There is definitely plenty of room to get creative without breaking any of the five actual rules in this challenge. Keep in mind that we aren't looking for the greatest restaurant ever created and are instead looking for the best fit in the park you have chosen.

Lastly, regarding the prices thing, the values I stated are simply examples. You do not have to stick to those prices and can price items however you feel appropriate. I'm just recommending that if you go for a range, you keep the range small. It would be a lot more helpful to tell someone entrees at a restaurant cost $15-25 than $10-50, for example. If you want, just forget the numbers and assume that a range should be no more than $10 of variance, with specific outliers mentioned. You may also use a separate range for the items at each station. As for exotic food, if it is something that is generally available in the United States it is most likely fine. If it is a regional delicacy that you would expect to see served on Fear Factor or Survivor, it probably is not something guests would want to pay for.

Douglas, if your selected park has a food festival you may use it as inspiration. However, you may not simply stick the festival inside a building and call it a day. You may incorporate elements of the festival into your restaurant but the majority of it should be your own creation.

July 25, 2015, 3:15 PM

Chad and AJ, thanks for the feedback. I've taken your advice to heart and have gone in a very, veeeeeeery different direction with a new park. It was a challenge to look outside of my region, but I think it could yield much stronger results!

July 25, 2015, 3:58 PM

Thanks! This helps to clarify things quite a bit. I keep getting burned by what is a rule and what is a suggestion. Since I'm a very out of the box thinker, I prefer strict guidelines as to what is a rule and what is a suggestion.

Edited: July 25, 2015, 4:05 PM

Jeff, for future reference the rules will always be the bulleted list under The Challenge. Anything under the section labeled The Advice is merely a suggestion and/or guideline to help those who may be stuck and is not a rule. The Proposal simply outlines what we expect to see included in your submission.

July 26, 2015, 7:47 PM

I have a quick question. For this challenge, would a sit down buffet style restaurant work? Boma for example. Or does it have to be quick service?

July 26, 2015, 8:01 PM

I have not been to Boma, but a buffet is listed in the Challenge as an option that can be used. Having someplace to sit and eat is almost expected, but I suppose not a requirement.

July 27, 2015, 4:52 AM

The difference being that you are formally seated, and a waiter or waitress takes drink orders. Just wondering if that was allowed or not.

July 27, 2015, 4:54 AM

My reading is you may have any style you like, as long as there are multiple, varied, stations.

July 27, 2015, 11:37 AM

DPCC, that would be fine. As long as guests don't order their meal from a waiter and actually have to visit the stations to collect their food it meets the requirements.

July 27, 2015, 1:15 PM

Does it matter how realistic the park choice is? For instance, one of my local parks is Magic Mountain, and I could never imagine a well-themed eatery there. Should I place my restaurant in a park more dedicated to theming such as a Busch Gardens Park or Dollywood, or is it ok to have it at a Six Flags park?

July 27, 2015, 1:49 PM

Juan, you're free to use any park you like as long as it isn't Disney or Universal. Even if it isn't likely to happen in real life, if your restaurant fits with your chosen park it is fine. Keep in mind that we only request a theme and it is up to you to decide how detailed to go with it. If you want to use SFMM and have a good concept, feel free to go for it. If you'd rather use another park, that is fine as well.

July 28, 2015, 9:59 AM

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DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton, Pennsylvania, is a perfectly generic amusement park. But despite their flat rides, mini-golf course, go-cart track, and a complete lack of theme, DelGrosso’s distinguishes itself thanks to two factors: good food and a dedication to Italian heritage. Utilizing these assets in a new fully-themed restaurant, DelGrosso’s hopes to take the first step in its transition from an amusement park to a theme park!

The DelGrossos are a multi-generational family which originally emigrated from Italy in 1911. Over the following decades, the family rose to prominence on the back of Marianna Pulcino’s old-world pasta sauce recipe. Soon DelGrosso’s Café in Altoona would serve “the best spaghetti dinner in town.” Eventually, very much like Knott’s Berry Farm out West, the café’s popularity grew unmanageable, and Ferdinand DelGrosso bought nearby Bland’s Amusement Park as an outlet for his waiting diners. DelGrosso Foods, Inc., grew on this site, and today consumers can find fine DelGrosso Italian sauces and products in their local grocery store.

Inside the park, where general admission is free, guests continue to discover inexpensive food in the tradition of Mama Pulcino, with offerings good enough to warrant a mention by Epicurious as among the best theme/amusement park food in the country. Culinary events such as Spaghetti Wednesdays keep the park vibrant throughout its May-September season. Food is truly DelGrosso’s top attraction (not the crazy mouse coaster), and any effort to raise the park’s profile must start by diversifying its food offerings.

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Undoubtedly, Italian old-world charm has been kind to the DelGrossos. And as the DelGrosso family crossed an ocean to bring European food to the United States, now they look back to a famous Italian explorer who traveled across Asia and brought exotic cuisines to Italy. That man would be Marco Polo. In his honor DelGrosso’s presents Marco Polo’s Crossroads, a station service restaurant which expands the park’s menu with foods from the orient, and expands the park’s theme with Medieval Italy.

For the park as a whole, this theme is expansive, covering Italy’s history from 1200 through the Renaissance. Inspirational figures from this period include the Medici, Magellan, Boccaccio, Columbus and Galileo. Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy fuels fantastical realms, while Leonardo Da Vinci’s “clockpunk” inventions inspire rides. As for Marco Polo’s Crossroads itself, the foundation of this transformation, it takes its unique theming from Venice circa 1285, presenting a romanticized version of genuine history.

Marco Polo’s Crossroads is located at the park’s center, in between the ride complex and the picnic grounds. It is dressed to resemble Marco Polo’s birthplace in Korcola – weathered stonework, rustic tile roof, fine latticework, and a quaint bell tower which is to be the park’s new centerpiece and icon. A covered passageway contains weathered maps and paintings which tell, at a brief glance, the history of Marco Polo’s expeditions throughout Central Asia and China. Several archways lead to the open-air courtyard within, with seating for 400. This courtyard frames views outwards onto every section of the tiny park. Tables are of simple aged oak, minimalist and elegant without putting off the casual diner. Guests may opt to eat here, under the clouds or romantic lantern light at night, or they may retire to the picnic grove for a truly bucolic summertime outing.

Live musical performances in the courtyard take their form from the Medieval Italian Trecento, to keep guests fully immersed in the period.

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Food stations line the building perimeter, under a covered portico decorated primarily in the pre-Renaissance Venetian style. Each station is dedicated to one of Marco Polo’s destinations, adorned with foreign artifacts which Marco Polo brought home with him. These stations include Athens, Constantinople, Beijing, Delhi, and Baghdad. Venice represents the sixth station, which provides an outlet for classic DelGrosso Italian fare. Servers are dressed in the garb of their nations, as appropriate for the time and place represented.

Non-Italian cuisines present a challenge to DelGrosso’s kitchen staff. To ensure that all meals served at Marco Polo’s Crossroads are up to the standards of DelGrosso’s in-house grub, the park has created partnerships with other respected restauranteurs throughout the region, with each station run independently under DelGrosso’s oversight. (DelGrosso’s leases out counter space, and collects a percentage.) Stations operate as distinct restaurants, much like a food court. Diners purchase separately at each booth.

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*Note these are sample menus. Each station also provides simple beverage options, including water, soda and juice. All vendors offer gluten-free and vegetarian choices. Low prices reflect those currently available in the park.

Venice (Italian Station):
Lasagna with Meatballs $7.25
Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce $6.75
Bistro Wrap $5.50
Meatball Hero $4.75
Famous Potato Salad $2.75

Athens (Greek Station):
Garlic-Herb Salmon $6.75
Exceptional Pita Sandwich $5.50
Sundried Tomato Wrap $5.25
Classic Greek Salad $4.75
Stuffed Grape Leaves $2.25

Constantinople (Turkish Station):
Shish Kebab $5.75
Gyro Sandwich $5.25
Fantastic Eggplant Moussaka $4.75
Mixed Vegetable Sauté $4.00
Baklava $3.00

Beijing (Chinese Station):
Honey Walnut Shrimp $8.75
Beef and Broccoli $5.50
Steamed Pork Buns $5.00
Delicious Chow Mein $4.25
Vegetable Rolls $2.75

Delhi (Indian Station):
Incredible Tandoori Chicken $7.25
Chicken Vindaloo $6.75
Seekh Kebab $6.00
Manas Vegetarian Curry $5.50
Naan Bread $2.25

Baghdad (Middle Eastern Station):
Lamb and Spinach Sauté $9.50
Baba Ganooj $7.25
Basmati Lentils $5.50
Herbed Green Fava Beans $4.75
Good Tabbouleh $4.25

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DelGrosso’s wishes to make Marco Polo’s Crossroads a true seasonal attraction, able to pull repeat visitors back not only to try new food stations, but to try new limited-time specialties at every station (often of a more esoteric nature). Furthermore, Marco Polo’s Crossroads shall be the new home to the park’s end-of-season events, including the Italian Food & Heritage Festival and the Harvest Festival.

One substantial feature of Marco Polo’s Crossroads is the cooking and tasting seminars which switch out on a weekly basis throughout the season. These would be provided to guests at a low extra rate, to range from $10 to $30. In order to keep the park family-friendly, these seminars are the only way to purchase alcohol in DelGrosso’s Amusement Park. Amongst the offerings:

- A History of Italian food, hosted by representatives from DelGrosso
- Special wine and beer tasting events
- Advice on properly pairing drinks with different ethnic foods
- Cooking classes covering the various foreign foods, to be hosted by noteworthy regional chefs
- The occasional “one-time-only” celebrity chef appearance, at a substantial upcharge

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With its ambience of northern Italy circa 1285, Marco Polo’s Crossroads is the sole feature to-date in DelGrosso’s Amusement Park to feature any genuine theming. It is expected to become the park’s primary draw, largely due to its ever-changing menu and special events. DelGrosso’s masterplan is to extend their new restaurant’s aesthetics to the park as a whole, transforming their collection of flat rides into a modest (though tiny) regional theme park. Medieval Tuscany and Venice provide the theme, which is easily applied to existing infrastructure. While the rides remain the same, their names and decorations change accordingly. As an example, the Pharaoh’s Fury swinging ship ride becomes Columbus’ Fury, in an Age of Discovery sailing ship.

The aim is not to become the next Disneyland, but to improve the park’s profile in a realistic and budget-conscious manner. DelGrosso’s tradition of culinary excellence provides a reasonable means to bring a true “renaissance” to their park.

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July 30, 2015, 11:28 AM

Coming Soon To Knoebels…


Noteworthy Restaurant
Good Eats, Great Beats

Edited: July 30, 2015, 9:00 PM

There is a term for a theme park crowd, it is: “captive audience”. In regards to food, it is similar to a crowd at a stadium, in that outside food is typically not allowed and it is difficult to leave the area and eat food that you brought with you…and you might miss something if you leave. In Denver, the major sporting arenas have lately been working hard on upgrading their food selections. The understanding is that if you serve high quality and better tasting food, people would be not only be much more willing to eat in the facility, but to also to spend a little more money on a quality meal. The home of the Colorado Rockies, Coors Field, and the home of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, the Pepsi Center, have both been going out of their way to improve their food offerings, and it is a plan that is working. What is even more interesting is that the parent company of these major league teams recently bought Elitch Gardens. What is intriguing about this purchase is that Elitch Gardens and the Pepsi Center share a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks that separate them and have for years shared space acting as each other’s overflow parking lots. These now sister companies are going to start working more closely together to attract people to the downtown sporting and amusement attractions.

Getting back to the issue of food, it is widely known that the food at Elitch Gardens currently resides in the barely edible category. This is something that Kroenke Sports Enterprises (the new owners) will want to see fixed as soon as possible. The question then becomes: how do you quickly turn around something that has been so bad for so long? In the sporting world, which Elitch Gardens’ new owners are intimately familiar with, you would pay top dollar for a couple of free agents to immediately right the ship, but then, after that, you would scout around for a bunch of role players who have tons of drive, motivation, and excitement about taking the team to the next level.

This same logic can be applied to theme park food.

Please, take a walk with me as we explore the new direction of Elitch Gardens, under new management, and the first salvo of sweeping changes:

The Gardens Showcase

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Once inside the front gates and out of the chaos that is the entrance area, we arrive at the carousel. From here we will turn left instead of entering the waterpark. Walking in a direct line between the carousel and the Ferris wheel, we will go down one, two, three, doorways, but when we get to the fourth, we stop.

Something is very new here. The façade on the left side of the street is still the same, keeping the old town style, but instead of a candy store, there is a very modern looking entrance way that seems to go back much further than where the old candy shop stopped. It would appear to go back all of the way to the perimeter fence, and indeed, there is an entrance to the restaurant from the main gateway area outside of the park boundary.

The new owners have told me that they plan on taking Elitch Gardens back to its roots…back to its original roots…back to something that could not joking be called an actual garden.

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I beg your indulgence for some interesting facts and background here. Elitches started life as an extremely popular restaurant, but the original location was too hemmed in, so John Elitch bought land slightly outside of Denver in order to have more room for expansion. In this, the original location of Elitch Gardens, there were gardens all over the place, because Elitch Gardens actually started off as a restaurant, with a zoo, and botanical gardens. The gardens and greenhouses were so extensive that Elitch Gardens was a commercial florist in addition to a zoo, restaurant, live theater venue, main stop on the big band circuit, and eventually an amusement park that squeezed the zoo parts out of the park.

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The zoo was the first one opened west of Chicago, and had the odd distinction of having many of the animals donated to them by P.T. Barnum a year before his death. But in 1994, more than a hundred years after it first opened, the park was moved three miles east into a freshly reclaimed toxic waste (no kidding) railroad yard slightly west of downtown Denver, without a trace of gardens anywhere. The name Elitch Gardens with no gardens in sight/site became a bad joke to anyone who had enjoyed the old park. Since the move, attendance figures have been in the toilet because all of the old timers remember how much better the old park was, and the young people don’t have nearly enough thrills at the park to make it through an entire day. And the food, to put it bluntly, sucks.

But the new owners seem to have honed in on what makes Elitch Gardens something unique, and that means getting back to the gardens…and a world class restaurant.

The Gardens Showcase is elegantly decorated to gardens, not in a grab a shovel and let’s start digging kind of way, but in the beauty of the delicate nature of a flower kind of way. While there will be paintings and murals of plants strategically and eloquently placed around the walls, there will also be live plants all around the restaurant. These plants, in addition to the rooftop garden over the restaurant will supply the restaurant with a portion of its fresh ingredients.

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The different stations will pick up on the main theme of the restaurant and feature live and artistically rendered plants directly related to the type of food that is typically going to be prepared at the various stations. For example, the Mexican station will feature jalapeños, while the Italian station will feature tomatoes. The décor will make it very obvious from a great distance as to what is going to be served at the different stations. The different stations are American, Italian, Mexican, Asian, and BBQ, all of which are staples of theme park and stadium food. There will also be two additional stations that specialize in Salad and Dessert. The different stations will have the right equipment to make a reasonable variety of their targeted type of cuisine from scratch. For example, the BBQ station will have a smoker, while the dessert station will have an ice cream maker and plenty of ovens and pie pans.

What will make the Gardens Showcase a one of a kind experience is not the food, which, since Denver is sitting at a very interesting crossroads of many different types of food, is fairly easy to come by, it is the competition. This will be a talent competition, where there is no single winner, but those who are successful will win prizes (concert and sporting event tickets), be given more responsibility, and tested further. Eventually someone, or several people, will be given the chance to build a restaurant of their very own, in Elitch Gardens, one of the sites owned by Kroenke Sports Enterprises, or an independent site.

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Contestants, if you can call them that, they are more like nominees, will need to take a two day class on food handling, preparation, and general orientation of the restaurant, before they will be allowed to select from the available dates on the calendar. At first, the people with more experience will be given weekend and busy days, but after the first month, these coveted days will be reserved for contestants that have already succeeded and are in need of a bigger challenge. As a result of this training, contestants will not need any experience whatsoever to participate, but they will be watched a bit more carefully if they are really novice at cooking.

What will be very obvious upon entering the restaurant is the TV cameras sprinkled throughout the facility. Kroenke Sports Enterprises, it is important to note, not only owns the Rockies, Nuggets, and Avalanche, but also the Colorado Rapids (soccer), and Colorado Mammoth (indoor lacrosse). To broadcast all of these games, Kroenke Sports Enterprises also owns a television station called Altitude Sports & Entertainment. Since these sports are not running live games 24/7/365, there is a great deal of in-between time that needs to be filled with some kind of programming. As a way to work some synergy between the different franchises that they own, Altitude Sports & Entertainment is going to be recording from the Gardens Showcase, attempting to capture some of the magic that shows like the Iron Chef and Hell’s Kitchen have. In order to facilitate this, several food celebrities will be consulted and back of the house people who have worked with these shows will be hired, in order to have experience from day one. Hosting the show will be the Executive Chef from the Shock Top Lodge, a restaurant in the Pepsi Center, and the Executive Chef from Mountain Ranch Bar and Grill, a restaurant in Coors Field. In addition to hosting duties, they will also be in charge of maintaining high standards, assisting contestants, providing valuable insight, and will assist in the judging, although most of the judging will be done by local Denver chefs and sports stars, in addition to the electronic voting of the guests.

The participants will meet with the two head chefs 72 hours before they are scheduled to appear. They will work with the chefs on what their menu offering is going to be and a shopping list will be created. The two head chefs will then delegate to the sous chefs who will be in charge of early preparation of items, such as loading the smoker, if there is an excessive amount of time needed to get items prepped. A purchaser will be in charge of stocking the restaurant with the items each participant needs.

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On the day that participants are scheduled to appear, they will come in a little early and do some preliminary camera work, before going into their station and getting ready for the lunch rush. There will be two different menu offerings, one for lunch and one for dinner. The restaurant will maintain a website that keeps track of participant bios and food offerings that will also be posted on screens right inside the main doorway. With seven different stations and seven different participants, there should always be something new and interesting to try out.

Guests will be charged a flat fee of $20 per person, to have unlimited access to the offerings of the participants for either lunch or dinner. The cost is being kept down and at a flat fee in order to keep the restaurant filled with people eager to talk to a camera about the good and bad things about their meal. Since this is a contest, albeit a very laid back one, the patrons will also be in charge of a portion of the vote, via electronic voting on the same website that posts the menus for the day, using a special code on their receipt to show that they are actually in the restaurant.

Since patrons have an all you can eat pass, the portion sizes will be shrunk to try and keep food wastage to a minimum, while encouraging patrons to taste a little bit of everything. Each station will have a variable number of dishes, but typically around four or five different dishes. Participants who have too many ideas will be encouraged to come back and bring different ideas to the same or a different station. But save a little room for dessert, our dessert artists are competing as well, and most of their offerings are too delectable to mention here.

Interestingly enough, since I started talking about this idea, I have already spoken with enough people to keep the restaurant in at least four days of participants and nearly two weeks of desserts. Not only are they excited about the restaurant, but how Elitch Gardens’ new ownership is going to transform the entire park, taking it back to the days when it was renowned for its beauty, its gardens, and its restaurant.

Edited: July 31, 2015, 7:23 AM


Good Eats, Great Beats


Located at Knoebels park in Elysburg, PA, Noteworthy is a new international restaurant that takes the place of the International Food Court. Noteworthy holds the theme of international dining, while building upon it with it’s new musical theme.


The space has been revamped. It still is a pavilion, which gives it the feel of an outdoor concert in the park. The picnic tables have been replaced with more normal, permanent restaurant tables. There are buffet tables rather than the previously existing walk up windows.

Adult meals at this all-you-care-to-eat restaurant will cost $18, and children under 12 cost $12. Coke brand soft drinks are included, but alcoholic beverages are not. The price is a bit low, because Knoebels park has a focus on keeping a family friendly budget.

Noteworthy Restaurant is a buffet style restaurant with six individual stations, each being themed to a different genre of music. They are:

Bluegrass: American Comfort Food

Opera: Authentic Italian Cuisine

Jazz: From the Creole Capital

Polka: German and Polish Cuisine

Showtunes: Street food from the Big Apple

Salsa: South of the Border

Each station has food items that match the theme of the music it represents. They all consist of entrees, sides, and one or two desserts. The restaurant also features an extensive Wine list featuring wines from around the world, and craft beers from around the world, each fitting in with one of the stations. Other alcoholic beverages are also available.

All of the stations are decorated to match the culture their food is from. For example, Showtunes will be surrounded in lights, while Salsa would use reds and yellows to portray the feeling of Central America. Here are some examples of the signs that might hang above the food.


Below is a Sample Menu for Noteworthy. Not all of these are offered every day, but they are rather rotated according to season and availability of ingredients.


American Comfort Food

Chicken Pot Pie

Country Fried Chicken

Country Fried Steak

Baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Chicken

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Corn on the Cob

Buttered Carrots


Apple Pie

Cherry Pie


Authentic Italian Cuisine

Fresh Baked Breads and Rolls

Pasta Fagioli

Gnocchi Alfredo (Potato pasta in a cheese sauce)

Pasta Bar (In the style of an omelette station, but with pasta and various meats, veggies, sauces, etc)

Baked Chicken and Herbs

Chicken Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan


Roasted Vegetables (Zucchini, Tomato, and Bell Peppers)





From the Creole Capital


Bourbon Steak Tips

Fried Catfish

Fried Okra

Whole Crawdads

Dirty Rice

Alligator Bites (I wouldn’t get rid of those!)



Bread Pudding with Bourbon sauce


German and Polish Cuisine


Kielbasa with Peppers and Onions



Red Cabbage

Boiled Potatoes





Berry Parfait


Street food from the Big Apple

(NOTE: This station is designed to be more kid friendly, with more finger food.)

Sausages, Hot Dogs and Corndogs with Toppings, such as Peppers, Onions, Ketchup, Mustard, Chili, and more!

Chicken Fingers

Mozzarella sticks

French Fries

NY Style Pizzas:



Pizza of the day

Salad Bar



Soft Serve Ice Cream


South of the Border

Burritos (Beef or Bean)

Chicken Enchiladas

Rice and Beans

Tostones (Fried Plantains)

Rellenos (Dough balls filled with meat and vegetables)

Refried Beans



Churros with caramel sauce


An important aspect of Noteworthy is the live entertainment. There are six musical groups, each corresponding to one of the buffet stations. They are all small groups, because performance space in the restaurant is small, and the volume needs to be kept relatively low.

Performances are on the quarter hour and rotate as follows, each performing one or two numbers before ending their performance.

Bluegrass is represented by a duo consisting of a Banjo and a Fiddle

Opera is represented by a male Opera singer singer over a recorded track of well-known Opera songs, such as “O Sole Mio” and “Toreador” (Carmen).

Jazz is represented by a duo, each of whom plays multiple instruments and/or sings. For an example, check out “Fine Whines” (!the-band/cjg9). This would be the ideal choice for a performer, and we hope that they can actually be hired for the job.

Polka is represented by a trio, consisting of an accordion, tuba, and clarinet. They perform standard Polkas.

Showtunes are represented by another singer, this time a woman. She sings showtunes from Rogers and Hammerstein through Schwartz and Sondheim.

Salsa is represented by a mariachi quintet. It consists of two guitar players, a trumpet player, an accordion player, and a singer, who doubles as a second trumpet player when singing is not required.

Each group performs once every 90 minutes. Since the average family takes 60-90 minutes to eat, guests should be able to see at least four groups. They are, of course, welcome to stay to see all six!

Between performances, music is played in the restaurant, although not live. All six genres are represented, but some are played more than others. Jazz, Salsa, Showtunes, and Bluegrass (sometimes country instead) are played more frequently than Polka and Opera.


Noteworthy is a well themed restaurant that uses food to capture the essence of another art form. It’s menu and live performances combined allow for a feeling of traveling and experiencing many different cultures, while maintaining an atmosphere of the “concert on the green”. Noteworthy is a fantastic addition to Knoebels park, and it’s quality will continue to draw guests to the park for years to come.

Edited: August 1, 2015, 9:07 AM

A new dining experience coming soon to Busch Gardens Williamsburg…


The Royal Court is a new station service restaurant coming to the Scotland area of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It mainly is where all the culinary delicacies from the lands (Italy, England, etc.) in the park merge into one delicate, mouth-watering eatery for one of the best theme parks on the East Coast!

The Royal Court is located to the left of the Loch Ness Monster entrance and is accessible by a large bridge which goes over the tracks of the park’s train.

The building hosting the restaurant looks similar to a Scottish castle, keeping with the Scottish theme the land the restaurant is located in has. The building will be 90 feet tall and set to be one of the park’s new icons. The building is large enough to put the restaurant into it, but designed so it avoids interfering with Loch Ness Monster’s ride layout. Guests enter through a large gate into the large court room.

The floor of the court room consists of many shades of light brown, and a large pattern of diamonds surrounded by tile borders. A large chandelier hangs from the middle of the ceiling giving off light along with six symmetrical windows, three placed on each side of the court room. Making up most of the court room are 5 long tables, which can seat up to 60 guests at one time, meaning the restraunt seats 300 guests. At the back wall are 5 connected food stations which share one large kitchen, and a large window towers over the top of the station’s top . Down below are sample menus of the food stations in this restaurant from left to right:


Bratwurst Sandwich on Rye Bread: 6.99$
Coburger Bratwurst: 7.50$
Sauerbraten w/ Vegetable Soup: 7.50$
Steamed Pork Sausage: 6.00$
German Trout w/ Asparagus: 7.50$
Maultaschen (stuffed noodles): 7.75$

Pot-au-Feu (French beef stew) - 7.50$
Baguette- 3.50$ (usually a side dish)
Basil Salmon- 8.00$
Croissant: 2.50$ (usually a side dish)
Pot’ee (a soup made with pork an vegetables of your choice): 6.50$
Coq au vin (chicken braised with red wine): 9.50$

Spaghetti and Meatballs: 8.50$
Pizza: (Guests order the pizza with additional toppings of their choosing which cost extra money)- 7.50$
Lasagna: 7.00$
Italian Sausage: 6.50$
Shrimp Alfredo: 8.00$
Veal Platter: 9.50$

Fish N’ Chips: 8.50$
Roast Beef w/ Yorkshire Pudding: 9.00$
Shepard’s Pie: 9.25$
Bangers and Mash: 8.50$
Roast Chicken: 8.75$


(The purpose of this station is to satisfy diners who want to eat in a lavishly themed restaurant, but don’t want to eat food that originated from an ocean away, and people who are, well, picky eaters.)

Cheeseburger: 5.50$
Hot Dogs- 6.00$
Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich: 6.50$
Fried Chicken w/ Macaroni and Cheese- 9.50$
Philadelphia Cheese Steak: 8.00$
Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza- 8.50$

This is only a sample menu, and you can expect to find many more cuisine options in this one-of a kind dining experience!


The Royal Court allows park guests to dine on all sorts of moderately-priced European cuisine favorites in one elaborately themed restaurant, while also allowing more of our exotic-free eaters, (people who only eat American food, mostly), to dine in a high quality eatery without sacrificing their love for more common food. Even though the restaurant is themed to look Scottish and is in the land of Scotland, it is a culinary celebration of all of Europe as a whole.
The Royal Court: All of Europe in one place…

. I know the food menu names sound a bit boring, but I tried to clearly state what would be on the menu without confusing anyone with splashy menu names.
. As always, thank you for taking the time and effort to read this proposal, and may we all dine on Belgian Waffles…

Edited: July 31, 2015, 6:49 PM

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN
Dollywood, a great American theme park in the heart of the South, wanted to expand its food offerings and add a little more "Southern Culture" to the Smokey Mountain region. Good old-fashioned foods like fried chicken, hamburgers, and apple pie were available at most of the restaurants in the park, but missed were the various other foods that makes a "well-rounded" southerner's mouth water. Dollywood wanted more regional foods such as Barbecue, Soul Food, Creole, and Tex-Mex, all fare that exemplify the cuisine of the South, represented by the southern states of Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Louisiana, and Texas. In a country fair setting, folks and families with a hearty appetite can enjoy ALL the "Fruits of the South" in Dollywood's newest restaurant, Country Fair Southern Cook-Off.


Location and Layout
Country Fair Southern Cook-Off will be located in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion in the Country Fair section of Dollywood. The 350-seat eatery will have five counter service stations that will feature five regional foods of the South. The menu of each station will be displayed on decorative hand-painted signs and each station will be adorned with various knick-knacks from the region it represents. Guests will order and receive their food from the stations and pay at one of the cashier stands that precede the entrance to the dining area. The dining area of the restaurant will be a grand, rustic hall with a relaxed southern feel furnished with white-washed wooden chairs and tables, red and white checkerboard table cloths, and wagon-wheel chandeliers. On the walls will be numerous photos that celebrate Blue Ribbon winners from the Country Fair's fictitious historic past.

Each food station will offer soup ($4-$6), an appetizer ($5-$7), four to five entrees ($10-$15), side orders ($3), and dessert ($4-$6) specific to the region it represents. Each entree will be offered with the choice of two sides and cornbread or buttermilk biscuits included. For the light-eaters, each station will offer three entree salads, the Blue Ribbon salad, the Fried Chicken salad, and the Chef's salad ($10 each).

The food stations at Country Fair Southern Cook-Off will be:
Southern Classic
The "old-tyme" classics passed down from generation to generation of southerners will be featured in the Southern Classic station. The foods include Brunswick stew, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, cured ham, pork chops, biscuits and gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, hash-brown casserole, grits, green beans, creamed spinach, sweet corn, apple pie, and pecan pie.
The sweet and savory meats from the smokers and fire pits of Texas and the Carolinas will be featured in the Barbecue station. The foods include chili con carne, burnt ends, ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, BBQ chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, roasted corn on the cob, baked beans, fried potatoes and onions, french fries, cole slaw, potato salad, and bread pudding.
Soul Food
The deep-fried goodness and slow-cooked tenderness of the Deep South will be featured in the Soul Food station. The foods include black-eyed pea soup, hush puppies, chicken and waffles, fried catfish, chicken fried steak, oxtail, mashed potatoes, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, collards, fried okra, cream corn, lima beans, sweet potato pie, and peach cobbler.
The spices and seafood from the coastal waters of Louisiana will be featured in the Creole station. The foods include gumbo, oysters Rockefeller, crawfish boil, jambalaya, chicken creole, shrimp creole, shrimp étouffée, shrimp po' boy sandwich, red beans and rice, dirty rice, boiled potatoes, buttered corn on the cob, greens and bacon, seasoned fries, bananas Foster, and beignets.
The combination of flavors from Texas and "Our Neighbors in the South" will be featured in the Tex-Mex station. The foods include tortilla soup, chips and salsa, quesadillas, beef, chicken, or steak tacos, chicken, steak, or shrimp fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, black beans and rice, Mexican rice, taco salad, and fried ice cream.

Two additional stations that will compliment the five food stations at Country Fair Southern Cook-Off will be a kids food station and a beverage station.
Country Kids
The Country Kids stand will include chicken noodle soup, fried chicken, ribs, ham, macaroni and cheese, grilled shrimp, chicken tenders, hamburgers, mashed potatoes, french fries, corn, apple sauce, baked apples and a complimentary Blue Ribbon.
Beverages of the South
Over a dozen varieties of Southern iced teas, such as raspberry, mint, pomegranate, and apricot almond, will be featured at the Beverages of the South station as well as various flavored lemonades and over 100 varieties of Coca-Cola products from Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. Alcoholic beverages will not be available as they are prohibited at Dollywood.

Separate from the food and beverage stations will be a bakery and a small food counter that will round out the culinary experience at Country Fair Southern Cook-Out. The bakery and the small food counter will be easily accessible from the dining area without the need to reenter the lines of the food stations area and will have their own cashiers separate from the other cashiers for convenience.
Blue Ribbon Desserts & Sweets
Desserts of the South! The Blue Ribbon desserts include apple pie, blueberry pie, cherry pie, key lime pie, lemon meringue pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pecan pie, sweet potato pie, apple dumpling, bananas Foster, beignets, bread pudding, apple cobbler, peach cobbler, Mississippi mud pie, banana pudding, chocolate cake, coconut cake, red velvet cake, sugar cookies, butter pecan cookies, and pecan pralines.
Country Counter
A small counter that includes many exclusive treats of the South, such as divinity candies, goo goo clusters, moon pies, peanut and pecan brittle, and boiled peanuts.

Other restaurants that will open at Dollywood to expand the variety of food offerings at the park will be:
Our Ancestors' Kitchen
An international buffet served from our great great great grandparents kitchen with authentic Italian, German, Irish, English, Polish, Russian, French, Scandinavian, Chinese, and Korean foods. Our Ancestors' Kitchen will be located in The Village section of the park.
A Holiday Feast
A festive restaurant in Craftsman's Valley that celebrates a Smokey Mountain Christmas all year round. Glazed ham and roasted turkey with all the trimmings will be served family style.
Happy Holidays Cafe
Next door to A Holiday Feast will be a small counter service cafe with specialty treats and beverages that celebrate the seasonal holidays of Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
The Loggers Table
A friendly counter service restaurant in Timber Canyon that comforts folks with its home-style fare of pot roast, chicken and biscuits, meatloaf, and beef stew.

Country Fair Southern Cook-Off will be the first of many new restaurants at Dollywood to improve and expand on the regional food offerings at the park. Quality attractions and experiences, great live music, clean and well groomed surroundings, AND good down-home Southern cookin' are what guests have come to expect when they visit the pride of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. DOLLYWOOD, USA!

August 1, 2015, 8:57 PM

Tokyo Terrace is Six Flags Magic Mountain’s newest dining experience. Located on Samurai Summit near Superman: Escape From Krypton, Tokyo Terrace offers several different types of food from Japanese cuisine.
Tokyo Terrace fits in perfectly with the Japanese themed section of Six Flags Magic Mountain, Samurai Summit. Although many view DC Universe and the Screampunk District as the best themed sections at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Samurai Summit is actually underrated when it comes to theming. Samurai Summit’s music and architecture really makes you feel like you’re in Japan. Tokyo Terrace will replace the old “Laughing Dragon Pizza Co.” building, located near Superman: Escape From Krypton. In addition to using the space occupied by “Laughing Dragon Pizza Co.”, Tokyo Terrace will also extend out via a terrace (hence the name “Tokyo Terrace”). From the terrace, visitors will get a panoramic view of the lower section of the park. The location of Tokyo Terrace can be seen below, circled in red (don’t worry; the terrace will stay to the right of the Full Throttle track).

The outside of Tokyo Terrace appears like an ancient Japanese building. A good visual representation of the structure appears in the foreground of the image below.

Diners come into the restaurant and pick up a tray. Diners then go from station to station, picking up items. Diners can also go to beverage, condiment, and utensil stations. When the diners have selected all their items, the guests then make their way to the cash registers. After paying for their food, guests walk out onto the terrace, where they eat their food at shaded tables. When the diners are finished eating, they exit the terrace via an exit path.

Red- Entrance
Blue- Food Station
Green- Condiment/Utensil Station
Yellow- Beverage Station
Purple- Cash Registers

Food Stations
Sushi Roll- 8 piece rolls, $8-12 per roll
California Roll
Shrimp Tempura Roll
Spicy Tuna Roll
Eel & Avocado Roll
Philadelphia Roll
Japanese Curry- 1 Bowl with curry and rice, $9-11 per bowl
Chicken Katsu Curry
Tofu Katsu Curry
Menchi Katsu Curry
Sesame Chicken Curry
Beef Steak Curry
Noodles- Noodles with meat or veggies, $7-10 per bowl
Soba Noodles
Udon Noodles
Ramen Noodles
Tempura- Plate filled with Tempura items, $7-12 per plate
Tempura Shrimp
Tempura Calamari
Tempura Sweet Potatoes & Squash
Soups and Salads- Bowl of salad or soup, $6-10 per bowl
Miso Soup
Tofu Salad
Sesame Chicken Salad
Teriyaki- Items come with small side of rice, $10-15 per item
Chicken Teriyaki
Beef Teriyaki
Salmon Teriyaki
Condiment/Utensil Stations
The Condiment/Utensil stations contain condiments such as soy sauce, ginger and wasabi. They also contain utensils, including chopsticks, spoons, knives and forks.
Beverage Stations
The beverage station contains 3 Coca-Cola freestyle machines. In addition to the Coke products, diners can also purchase a bottle of Ramune, a popular Japanese soft drink (this beverage is also served at the Japan pavilion at Epcot).

Remember, there’s nothing better than eating amazing food after going on some great coasters!

August 1, 2015, 11:58 PM

Victorian Frame

The Flying Tavern
Heightened cuisine.

The Flying Tavern is an innovative and technologically advanced restaurant that immerses guest in the fantastical adventures of a flying steampunk kitchen.

Near the height of the British Empire in 1880, its colonies extend from Jamaica to India to Egypt. Queen Victoria, the Empire’s illustrious ruler, wants to see all the glorious splendor that her Empire has to offer. She has commissioned Sir Angus Eatswater and his steam-powered flying fleet to explore the farthest reaches of the Empire and return with captivating curiosities, glistening gems, spectacular spices, and epicurean delights. After more than a year of adventuring around the globe and gathering the most famed chefs from across the Empire, Sir Eatswater has triumphantly returned. For the first time ever, he’s inviting guests to join the crew in the fleet’s galley for a culinary trip around the world.

Welcome aboard the Flying Tavern.

Victorian Frame
An artist’s rendition of the Flying Tavern.

The Flying Tavern is found in the England section of Europa Park in Germany. As a destination resort themed to the history, myths, and legends of countries all around Europe, a steampunk restaurant that ties into the history of the British Empire with a popular twist is an ideal addition to their culinary offerings. They currently have several high capacity, themed restaurants, but there is yet to be a major restaurant for the England section. The entrance to the Flying Tavern is just past a grand statue of Queen Victoria and in a pavilion, providing a thematically appropriate location for the restaurant. The Flying Tavern will fit perfectly into the Europa family and diversify its food offerings.

Victorian Frame
A mockup of the Flying Tavern’s location in Europa Park.

An important aspect of the Flying Tavern are the touch screen tables. When guests are seated, each guest sees their own interactive menu. They can select one of the six different countries and see their respective food offerings. By tapping on a dish, guests can see the nutritional information and a digital display of the food. When seated, one person per party is designated as the leader of the group by the host(ess). In the leader’s interactive menu, he/she can review the order of all the guests before placing it to ensure that no one, especially young children, accidentally orders more than they can eat. These tables let guests learn about their food and place their orders at their own pace without the time pressure of a line.

Once the order is finalized, a guest can scan his/her credit card via the built-in scanner on the table. They can also pay in cash, as change is dispensed through a slot on the side of the table. Once the payment is complete, a receipt prints out. The receipt shows the food ordered organized by country, making it easy for guests to pick up their items.

While guests eat, the tables sense the circular bases of cups and plates and create virtual coasters and table mats shaped like gears. The gears join one another and slowly rotate, providing an intriguing tabletop and reminding guests of the steampunk vessel that they’ve boarded.

The Flying Tavern is extensively themed to the inside of a luxurious steampunk vessel. Here, Victorian elegance meets bells, whistles, and gears. Copper pipes run up and down the walls, and steam billows out from openings in the pipe system. Throughout the dining room, there are portholes looking outside the ship. However, these are actual virtual displays showing a “fly-by” of the different colonies whose food is exhibited in the Flying Tavern.

Victorian Frame
An example of the decor found within the Flying Tavern.

The restaurant is divided into two halves. The first, towards the entrance of the Flying Tavern, is the dining area, where guests enjoy their meals. Here, there are two stories of seating. The top story overlooks the second half, which is where the food is served and cooked.

Victorian Frame
A diagram of the restaurant’s layout.

Guests enter the Flying Tavern through an opening in the ship’s hull. They are seated by a host or hostess dressed in Victorian-style attire. The host briefly explains the interactive menu before delivering a pitcher of water and glasses for everyone. Then, guests are free to make their selections.

After guests have ordered and paid, the touch screen tabletops become an intricate, interconnected pattern of gears. Once the guests’ order is ready, a message appears on the tabletop inviting guests’ to pick up their food. Most of the time, the wait is nonexistent.

Now, guests head to the back of the dining area and enter the “food court” section, where each country has its miniature counter service area. They are semicircles that stick out from the back wall, letting all the countries share one central kitchen. Each area follows a standard steampunk theme, with decorations from the designated country. Guests approach the counter of the country they ordered food from and show a server, who's wearing cultural garments from their country, their receipt. Once the meal has been put on a tray, the server stamps the food items that they delivered to the guest.

After gathering their food, guests return to their tables and enjoy a delicious meal.

Every 60 minutes, the lights dim and the voice of Sir. Eatswater can be heard, complete with a prim and proper British accent.

“Welcome aboard the Flying Tavern, the crown jewel of the British fleet. This is Sir Angus Eatswater, the captain of this fine establishment. Today, we’ll be flying over some of the Empire’s finest colonies as you sample some of their culinary masterpieces. Crew, ready the ship!”

The portholes are synchronized with the audio, delivering an seamless experience as guests fly over different countries as Sir Eatswater narrates their flight while narrowly avoiding danger. This entire experience lasts only a few minutes as to not distract guests from eating. During this mini show, steam and lighting effects are coordinated with the visuals and audio, truly immersing guests in the world of the Flying Tavern.

In typical European fashion, food is ordered in set menus (one appetizer, one entrée, and one dessert), which are $15-$20 each. There are two options for each course, and every item is served on a single tray. À la carte items are also available, and their prices are indicated below.


Vegetable Samosa - $4
Assortment of vegetables wrapped in a pastry skin and then fried.
Tandoori Chicken - $5
Chicken drumsticks with mild seasoning baked in a traditional oven. Served with cucumber yogurt dipping sauce.

Saag Paneer - $9
Spinach and cheese sauce with cubes of tofu served over Indian rice.
Chicken Tikki Masala - $10
Spicy coconut curry with succulent chicken over Indian rice.

Gulab Jamun - $5
Sweet and airy dough balls dipped in a honey sauce.
Kheer - $5
Sweet rice pudding.


Baba Ghanoush -$6
Grilled mashed eggplant with smoky, flavorful spices. Served with pita bread.
Mahshi - $5
Cabbage leaves stuff with rice and ground beef.

Shawarma - $10
Shaved lamp with fresh lettuce and tomatoes, drizzled with tahini sauce and rolled in pita bread.
Falafel Kebab -$9
Chickpea balls with grilled vegetables on a skewer.

Baklava - $5
Flaky pastry filled with chopped nuts and honey.
Palace Bread - $4
Fresh bread soaked in honey.


Prawn Cocktail -$6
Shelled shrimp in a mayonnaise and tomato dressing with a crispy lettuce leaf.
Pea and Smoked Sausage Soup -$5
Fresh peas and small sausage cubes in a hearty, smoky soup.

Meat on the Barbie - $14
Your choice of lamp, prawn, chicken, or sausage that’s grilled with our house barbecue sauce. Served with a baked potato.
Lamb Leg Roast - $14
A tender leg of lamb roasted with garlic, rosemary, and olive oil and served with a baked potato.

Lamington - $5
The “National Cake of Australia”. A sponge cake coated in a layer of chocolate icing and desiccated coconut.
Pavlova - $5
Meringue with a crispy crust and a soft inside, topped with fresh strawberries and kiwis.


Yorkshire Pudding -$5
Light pastry shell filled with vegetables and gravy.
Bangers and Mash -$5
Small, spicy sausage with mashed potatoes.

Fish and Chips -$11
Fried haddock served with a side of hand-cut chips.
Roast Beef -$11
Slices of moist, oven-roasted beef served with seasonal vegetables.

Sticky Toffee Pudding - $6
Moist sponge cake with finely chopped dates, drizzled in toffee sauce. Served with vanilla custard.
Strawberry Fool - $5
Puréed fruit blended with organic cream.

Hong Kong

Potstickers -$4
Flavorful meat wrapped in pan-fried dough.
Fried Wonton -$4
Finely chopped meat and vegetables wrapped in wonton skin and deep fried until golden and crispy.

Dim Sum Medley -$11
An assortment of some of the most popular dim sum choices, including shrimp dumplings, turnip cakes, and a pork-filled steamed rice noodle roll.
Char Siu and Duck -$11
Slightly sweet roast pork and crispy duck. Served over rice and with a side of steamed Bok Choy.

Egg Puffs -$4
Sweetened dough baked in a egg-shaped waffle shell and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Dun Tot - $3
Egg custard in a warm, flaky shell.


Beef Bites - $6
Ground beef with parsley, chopped onions, and carrots in a phyllo shell.
Kickin’ Wings - $6
Pickled jalapeno peppers, garlic and vegetable oil on moist chicken drumsticks.

Jerk Platter - $10
Black beans, shredded beef, jerk chicken, and rice with plantains.
Ackee and Saltfish - $10
Boiled ackee,the national fruit, sautéed with salt cod. Served with rice and peas.

Gizzada -$5
Small tart shell with sweet, spiced coconut filling.
Rum and Raisin Ice Cream - $5
A delectable, sweet ice cream made with coconut milk.

In addition to the meals, guests can also choose to order sampler trays of beverages from the different countries. There is an alcohol and non-alcohol option, so everyone can join in on the fun. Individual drinks are also served at the service counters.

Each station also offers collectible dishes for one item for an additional fee. These include plates, cups, and bowls, all themed to the designated country. This encourages guests to try food from all of the countries.

Victorian Frame
A mockup of a collectible mug for Great Britain.

The Flying Tavern will bring an immersive, delicious dining experience unlike any other in the world to Europa Park.

August 2, 2015, 8:19 AM

One again, it was a challenge to judge and write critiques for such a remarkable variety of proposals. Although the old "apples to oranges" cliché is just that- a cliché- it applies. Also, and anyone who has judged will probably agree, it is much more fun to talk only about the good stuff in your proposals and just not mention the problems. But that wouldn't help you in future proposals or future competitions. So here goes:

Douglas Hindley Marco Polo's Crossroads

There were several things in your proposal that stood out, which is even more special because it is an outstanding proposal in its own right. 1) You took a relatively (bordering on completely) unknown amusement park as your location, a very brave decision; 2) you took six totally unique and unrelated cuisines and found a theme to unify them in one food court, and 3) you establish a realistic premise that this would be the starting effort of a small unthemed amusement park to begin its evolution into a small theme park. The writing of your proposal was clear, concise, and well-organized, and your use of pictures was especially effective in making both the proposal and the meals available especially appetizing. I got the impression that the only place to eat in the food court was in the open-air courtyard, or in the picnic shelters. What if it rains? I see from the park map I found that it is not very far from where I believe the food court would be and the shelters, but if it's raining it could be a bit of a disaster if everyone has to first run with their food through the rain to a shelter, and if that one is full then move on to find one with room to sit and eat. The open-air courtyard would be a wonderful place to sit and eat if the weather was good, but on a hot or rainy day there could be problems. One other thing- you said that the archways in the courtyard looked out onto the other areas of the park. Perhaps after the park is totally themed Italian that would be a good thing, but as it stands now it looks like it would be a major intrusion into the immersive theming that the courtyard provides.

Your sample menus featured selections that were exotic enough to establish the culinary feel of each country, but accessible enough that everyone should be able to find something enjoyable. If you hadn't stated that the prices were comparable with current prices in the park I would have said that they were too low, but at those prices it would be extremely family-friendly. Bringing in outside vendors to run each station can be risky, but I think that it makes more sense to take that chance than to try to create six different cuisines when you only really know how to do one cuisine well. The Seasonal Offerings section was well-conceived, and the section about expanding the theme of the park, using Marco Polo's Crossroads as its jumping-off point brought this proposal to a different level- it wasn't just a "plop my restaurant down in the park and move on to something else." You showed how one new attraction can have an impact on the rest of the facility. This was a well-crafted, well-conceived proposal, and if the DelGrosso family has any sense they will read it and start turning it into reality.

Jeff Elliott The Gardens Showcase

This proposal is so different from what I (and I suspect any of the other judges) was expecting that I needed some time to reread it and think about it. Your "thinking-outside-of-the-box" proposals don't make it easy to judge or critique, but here goes-

I was impressed with your back story, how you told the history of Elitch Gardens concisely, how you established the problems with Elitch Gardens in the present and how the new owners want to bring back the glory days of the past at its present site. I don't know how much of this is true and how much is created, but it is totally plausible. Your proposal combines the popularity of cooking competitions with the competitive nature of the new owners of Elitch Gardens with its physical location, surrounded by sports facilities. Denver must be some sort of food mecca, because every time I watch "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on Food Network they are in Denver, so having a deep pool of competitors, trained or wanna-be trained, seems totally plausible.

You didn't mention if each competitor was only going to be there one day or over several days. I would suggest giving each competitor several days to compete, to give them a chance to get used to the experience. You kind of skirted the menu selection and pricing, but with this set-up it would be impossible to establish a permanent menu other than the way you did. It would be varied by the very nature of the competition, and having a flat price would be the best way to level the playing field for the competitors. You mentioned that there was an entrance from outside the park into the Gardens Showcase- this is good in that people could come to try out the food without having to pay park admission, but would require an entrance gate between the park itself and the Showcase. I'm not sure how much the average diner would want to make the effort to park at Elitch's just to try the food at the Showcase. Also, the name, while very classy, does not really tell visitors what is in it. It sounds more like a showcase of gardens than a showcase of food.

This was a very well-written proposal, interesting to read and a totally original approach to this challenge. The images you included were especially beneficial in showing what a physically beautiful facility it could be. Rethink the name of the restaurant and flesh out the foods perhaps a bit more and it would have been really outstanding.

DPCC inc Noteworthy

This was an interesting proposal, and I think you have improved in your writing and conceptual presentation since Challenge 1. I was especially impressed with the graphics you included. They definitely added to the presentation and helped readers to visualize what you were proposing. Your choice of musical genre was well matched to the cuisines featured, and since you were repurposing an existing food court with an international theme it was wise not to stray too far from what people would be expecting. Your menu selections (while rather s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out) were complete and would appeal to a vast majority of diners. Having New York food available for less adventurous (or younger) diners was a smart choice.

You mentioned "family-friendly budget" so you might want to cut back a bit on the availability of alcohol. Beer and wine is ok, even an international selection is ok, but when you went to "other alcoholic beverages" you went from family friendly food court to a cocktail lounge.

You mentioned the performance space in the restaurant is small. I haven't been there but can understand wanting to keep the number and volume of the performers small to avoid them being too loud for the space. If you're going to remodel the current food court into this restaurant be sure to include an appropriate performance area. Don't make it too small or look like you shoehorned it in at the last minute. The music should be nearly as important as the food, and by adding to the atmosphere it should make the food taste better.

This was a good, solid proposal, well-written and with graphics that benefited the proposal.

Tyler Harris The Royal Court

This would be a visually stunning restaurant, and your description of it was finely detailed. It would be hard to concentrate on the meal in such a beautiful setting. One thing- most people HATE long tables and sharing a meal in a public setting with strangers, and hate it even more so if they don't have individual seats and have to climb over picnic-style benches. It might look period-appropriate, and in some settings it might be fine, but if you notice places that have long tables and benches (like the Festhaus at Kings Island) there is always a space between groups.

Your food selections, while not especially adventurous, are appropriate, with plenty of variety and priced reasonably. I understand that England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all part of the United Kingdom, but since each country has its own themed land at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and each country does have it own unique cuisine you could have added at least one country, perhaps having England as one cuisine and Scotland and Ireland as another (Scottish and Irish culture derives from the Celts, while England is more Anglo-Saxon, but that's another story- trust me, the foods are different). Having the United States was a bit jarring and seemed out of place, but I understand why you included it. Perhaps titling it "Canada and the British Colonies in America" or something like that would have made it fit more into the Royal Court theme. One last thing that I think would be missed by diners here- entertainment. I think that this setting is almost begging for some sort of entertainment, at last occasionally, even if just a small instrumental group on a balcony performing music from the various nations as background music.

Now this is getting picky, but in a professional proposal this might be noticed. In America, the $ is placed in front of the price, $6.99, not 6.99$.

In spite of all my complaints and suggestions, I thought this was a good proposal, well-conceived and a good fit into your park.

Keith Schneider Country Fair Southern Cook-Off

This was an outstanding proposal, and I can't exactly put my finger on why it is so outstanding. You only used one picture; the menu selections were not especially exotic or adventurous; the setting and decoration of the restaurant is fairly standard for a southern family-style dining room. Yet it worked, and I would love to be able to walk in there and try just about everything on every menu. Perhaps it is the very fact that everything felt like home-made comfort food in a comfortable setting. Technically, this was an excellently written proposal. It was carefully organized, flowed well, and made me want to read every item on the menu (and this is from someone who owns about two hundred cookbooks and reads them like novels). Your choices of regional cuisines was perfect, and your selections in each cuisine's menu was complete and offered a wide enough variety for anyone to find something wonderful at any counter they went to. The Country Kids stand was an especially well-conceived idea, making it easy to find something for the kid who won't eat anything except mac 'n cheese. Having the dessert and food/snack counter separate from the other counters bothered me at first, but as I thought about it I think this would work fine- as long as the desserts were strategically placed so that diners had to walk past them on their way to pay for their main meal, so that they couldn't help but notice them and think about how good the pies, cakes, etc. looked and would finally go back for dessert.

The other restaurants that would open at Dollywood made me wonder if these were other ideas you had for this challenge, but decided to go with this one as your primary proposal. You made a good choice, but based on the quality of your description of the Country Fair Southern Cook-Off I would like to eat in any of these other restaurants.

OK, one thing to whine about- this is not a "cook-off". A true "cook-off" is a cooking competition. There is no competition here, just good cooking. One other thing- I think that at meal time the 350 seats would all be filled- you might want to think about expansion plans.

Juan Hamilton Tokyo Terrace

I took my family out to dinner last night to celebrate my 32nd wedding anniversary, to a Japanese Hibachi restaurant. When we got home I saw that you had posted your proposal for "Tokyo Terrace" and thought that must me a good omen for it. Well, apparently the same joke about eating Chinese food and being hungry an hour later applies to Japanese food. I read your proposal several times, and felt that I wanted more. I even waited for this morning to reread it again. The same feeling. You covered all the requirements adequately, you obviously did your homework on what would be served here, your graphics were very good and the diagram of the layout was clear and helpful. But somehow it didn't work for me in that it didn't excite me. Perhaps it was too short, too concise. I have read proposals that were far inferior in substance that excited me much more because they were exciting to read. You presented a basic shopping list, especially in the "Format", but you forgot to include the recipe as to why this restaurant would be exciting to visit. Your last sentence seemed to be an attempt at this, but it was almost like it was an afterthought and it could have applied to just about any restaurant in any park. There are two parts to a proposal, any proposal but especially when you are trying to "sell" your idea to people who need to look at both the technical requirements and the aesthetic, entertainment and "wow! factor" of a proposal. You nailed the technical requirements but forgot to inspire me to care about why I would want to eat here.

I was frustrated. You were well-organized, you did your homework, you presented good graphics that supported your proposal- I really wanted to get excited by this, but it wasn't there. You took a prime piece of Kobe beef and, instead of carefully seasoning it and grilling it over hardwood coals, you cooked it in the microwave.

Andy Teoh The Flying Tavern

OMG! This was absolutely one of the best restaurant proposals I have ever read. I got excited reading it from the start- your graphics grabbed me, and the use of the same framework with new images inside it was an excellent decision, providing continuity throughout the proposal. You establish a need for a restaurant like this in the park, you establish a backstory that fit that need and would support a restaurant like this in the park, your concept of the ordering technology was clear and concise, and your descriptions of the restaurant, both inside and out, established that dining here, even if the food was lousy, would be fun.

I doubt that the food would be lousy. Your use of the extensive international cuisines that were part of the British Empire was a great choice, bringing in food from nations not typically thought of as part of the Europa Park concept, but you found a way to bring in food from all four corners of the world. The descriptions of the dishes was helpful, in that many (myself included) are not all that familiar with Egyptian or Jamaican cuisine, or with some of the more common international choices you offered. Somehow I think that you could have described a peanut-butter sandwich from India and made it sound like something I would have to try. I have a feeling that your prices are a bit low, and that if the food quality was as high as the theming surrounding it you could charge more and diners would still feel they're getting their Euros' worth.

Two things I would either rethink and rewrite or omit altogether. The tabletops and the gears thing (these are one thing combined). I didn't really understand physically how it works. If it was a virtual thing, like a flat-screen under glass serving as the table top, it would be fun but prone to malfunction, and frankly I would rather have a physical placemat and coaster under my drink rather than have a virtual gear under my glass of water that, while it would look fun with all the gears turning, etc. the virtual gear wouldn't do much to soak up water from the condensation on the side of the glass. Use physical gears built into a working gear box under a glass table top, to minimize the chance of a technical malfunction, and use basic placemats and coasters for convenience.

The second thing was the hourly show. While a cute idea, it would only work well for the diners near enough to a porthole to actually be able to see what was being talked about. For those in the center of the restaurant, it would be a guy talking about something they would have no connection with. Also, only being done once an hour, many diners would either miss it entirely or would hang around to hear the show, tying up table space and increasing wait time for a table.

OK, I had to find something to complain about. This restaurant would be great fun, visually exciting, a culinary delight and a wonderful addition to Europa Park. This proposal was well-organized, well-researched and excellently presented. Thank you!

August 2, 2015, 8:42 AM

Excellent job, everyone! I think this was the best round yet, and all of you did such great work it will be difficult to judge. I just want to let everyone know that since I've been very busy the past few days and will be busy again today, my critiques likely won't be up until late tonight. I will absolutely get them up as soon as time allows, but depending on your time zone you may not see them until tomorrow morning. Sorry for any inconvenience caused by the delay and I do not anticipate it happening again during this competition.

Edited: August 2, 2015, 2:35 PM

I want to say before I kick off, that this week has seen some excellent entries. As I look at my ranked order, I’m surprised to see some amazing concepts in the middle of the pack - not because of anything that they did wrong - these were concepts that in any other competition could have won the week… but the bulk of entries this week were so damn good, it was little extra things that were the difference between ranking high, and not.

--Tyler Harris - The Royal Court--

I would like to see you start using HMTL and images in your entries, and I’m going to highlight why this is pretty essential. You say that “The building hosting the restaurant looks similar to a Scottish castle”

What does a Scottish Castle look like to you?

Do you mean something like this?


Or do you mean something like this?


...or is it more like this?


Each of those is a Scottish Castle, and by no means are those the only three styles of castle there are...

Only one of those is a “Royal” castle though, From those shots, its the one that you probably think looks the least like a castle if all you know castles from is from Cartoons and movies (the First one, Stirling Castle, was the home to the Stuarts, before they decamped to London when James I/VI took over the English throne).

This theme however seems a bit of a facade, and I don’t think the dishes really work with the surroundings - what doe Pizza have to do with a castle? Its not really a royal dish. I don’t see why you’d need a “Safety” American menu when you’re selling pizza, lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs at the Italian station… These are dishes your customers are going to be very familiar with.

You haven’t really told me how this is a “one of a kind” surrounding… Maybe its just that I live over here, but I can get Cafeteria quality faire in Scottish (and English, and Welsh) castles all over. I think you need more to be able to boast that claim when there’s an entire continent where that sort of thing is available. Okay, so its not America that these places are, but I’m sure there are plenty of Medieval themed dining places in tourist hotspots that offer some kind of royal dinner show, or actually make it a “royal” experience.

It also doesn’t live up to the “all of Europe in one place" claim. You’ve selected 3 western European nations, Where’s a chicken Kiev? Where’s a Greek Gyro (kebab)? There’s more places you could have taken this, and would have had to take this to be true to that strapline - Not asking for the latest and greatest bits of Slovenian cuisine, but just Italian/French/German isn’t enough, the entire eastern part of the continent needs some representation too.

Overall, for a small park this is probably fine, but it doesn’t live up to the name “The Royal Court”.

—— Keith Schneider - Country Fair Southern Cook off--

What could be more southern than a Cook off? I can hear the banjo already.

Congratulations on not going for the “World food court”, which I think is the natural choice for this challenge i think. Instead of trying to squish the concept into the park, you’ve just simply worked with the parks theme itself and made it work for the challenge. Maybe it is a little selling the south to southerners, but that's what Dollywood is, and the guests must like it because they keep coming back.

I would like to see some images though, although in your case the concept paints itself in words perfectly. The only real flaw is I didn’t like “Our ancestors kitchen”, I think you should have skipped this as I think it works against the theme rather than for it - in name and menu… Maybe “Grandpappy’s Kitchen” would work better as a name, but still has the “doesn’t feel southern”cuisine problem.

I love this idea and concept, and Dollywood would be a fool not to use it.

—-Juan Hamilton - Tokyo Terrace--

Your entry is a masterclass on how to use images. I hope the other competitors are watching.

You haven’t gone with a “World food court” theme, which is fine, however, I thought your menu showed a bit of a lack of variety by sticking to “Japan” theme. Maybe expanding out to other South East Asian cuisines would make it a bit more appealing.

Your entry also feels a bit short. There’s not really much I can say. Good call on including Japanese condiments though, thats an easy thing to mis.

—- Andy Teoh - Flying Tavern--

Good to see a non US park. Non US parks are underrepresented in this competition, and dare I say it, when discussing theme parks in general.

Going with the British Empire gives a good “excuse” for the “world food court” offerings.

I didn’t like the touchscreen tables. I think touchscreen tables and food do not mix. Your wait staff are going ot have to spend an eternity cleaning them least they look smudged and icky - and come peak eating times in the park, this is definitely going to happen. If you want to use modern tech to replace the waiter, I’d go with a portable touchscreen that can be subbed in and out during peak periods with a clean one.

Thats part of the reason why we have tablecloths, place mats and coasters - to speed up and make cleaning the table easier by putting those in “high risk” areas. A virtual drink coaster isn’t going to stop by glass leaving rings on the table. Its pretty, but it creates practical problems that are ultimately going to harm either throughput (more labour to turn tables) or guest experience (by getting a smeary screen with glass rings).

Okay, I’ve beaten you up enough on that one point.

I love steampunk, and I love the “this is your captain” speaking bit, and the fly by. I think the core part of your idea is fantastic, its just some minor execution points that need to be tweaked. Good job.

One last point I love the branding you’ve done in the images, with the frames. That is Finalist quality material.

—Douglas Hindley - Marco Polo’s Crossroads—

I love your backstory, and I take it from the situation it happens to be pretty much the truth, which is always a great place to start. Marco Polo’s adventures lend itself to a world food court perfectly.

I’m not sure about a “Baghdad” named station in the current political climate, I’d suggest Abu Dhabi or Dubai might be more “acceptable” names.

I like the idea of seminars, I would expand them so you don’t just have the full thing as an up-charge, but look at using cut down versions as seasonal attractions too.

Using this as the Trojan Horse to theme out the park shows good foresight. Good job.

—Jeff Elliott - The Gardens Showcase—

Count on you to go “off script” eh? Doing the entry in the form of a real article I think is absolutely fine, in fact, after I got through the first reading I scratched my head wondering if it was real or not.

I’m absolutely certain when AJ wrote this task, he didn’t have a regional version of “Food Court Wars” in mind. I have some concerns as to how scalable this is, I’m not sure you could get enough contestants for a 365-day food court.

But, if you just limited this to the right time of the year - the fringe between peak and off peak when its realistically feasible to use an event like this to supplement the crowd, with the same area doubling as a more conventional fast food eatery in the peak, and conference space in the off peak, then I think you’re on to something here. This gives locals a reason to get those annual passes and keep coming back, and helps get the buy in for adults to bring the kids to the park.

You’ve definitely won the most “Creative”, most “out of the box” award for the week.

—DPCC - Noteworthy —

Your price seems very cheap, but if that is the local market and corporate strategy, then it is what it is. Shows you’re thinking within the park.

Fusing Music into a world food court is a great idea. I would have liked to have seen a little more “world” perhaps, but your variety is good. Plenty of Safe and unusual options to pick from.

You’ve also done well in making this an attraction. This is a good way to expose kids to types of music they might not hear, like Opera.

You’ve got a great idea here. I think that this could work in so many places.

August 2, 2015, 11:58 PM

Again, sorry for the delay. I'll try not to get so backed up again.

Douglas (Marco Polo’s Crossroads): DelGrosso’s is a very unique choice for this challenge as the park is so small few enthusiasts have heard of it. While I haven’t visited, I do know a little about the park and its Italian heritage. Given that, the theme of your restaurant is nearly perfect. I like the idea of using your restaurant as a centerpiece to revive the entire park, transforming it from what appears to be more of a permanent carnival into a legitimate miniature theme park. The architectural design of your restaurant is outstanding and the size of the seating area is appropriate for a park of this size. The musical performances are a nice touch as well and help give the feel of Italy. Your stations all seem like appropriate choices given the theme of the restaurant and have a good variety of offerings to satisfy all park visitors, though there will likely be some that are more popular than others. I also think partnering with local restaurants is very smart, especially given the size of the park. The menus all seem good and the prices are appropriate. Special events are another good idea as long as they still fit with the theme and aren’t simply publicity stunts. Overall, I think this would be an excellent addition to DelGrosso’s and would be the equivalent of a new E-ticket attraction. I could see this expanding the park’s range to attract people from all over Pennsylvania (and possibly even some neighboring states), especially those who are food fans.

Jeff (The Garden Showcase): Like most regional theme parks, the food options at Elitch Gardens are definitely uninspired. Your solution, however, is an outstanding way to combat that. I love the idea of giving Elitch Gardens a new garden as the park is sorely lacking in that area. In addition, it is a beautiful setting for a restaurant and fits perfectly with almost any type of cuisine. The fact that the garden also supplies ingredients is a great bonus. The stations you selected are all safe choices and have been proven to work well in a theme park environment. The competition idea is very much a double-edged sword in my opinion. On one hand, you’ve got an extremely unique restaurant with a menu that changes daily and offerings that will never get old to the local visitor. On the other hand, you’ve got the potential for some very poor quality food if anyone can sign up with no prior experience. If done properly, the competition could be a huge draw and give Elitch Gardens a one-of-a-kind attraction, but at least require an audition and have a regular chef and menu for each station in case there is a lack of contestants on any particular day. Using an unlimited access system is a smart choice given the nature of this restaurant and the price is reasonable. Keeping portion sizes small is also great. Overall, this is absolutely a creative concept that has the potential to be really good if executed properly. However, it is also a significant risk as failure could doom the park. That said, based on my experience at Elitch Gardens last year this would absolutely be the star attraction of the park and would give those who have grown tired of it a reason to return.

DPCC (Noteworthy): Music is not a bad theme to use for a restaurant as it can be tied to food. Music is also not a bad theme for Knoebels as it is relatively basic and has been around for some time. The design of the restaurant is a basic but functional design. Prices are reasonable for Knoebels, especially considering that this is a buffet. The six represented types of music allow for six stations that serve various types of food. Your sample menu is large, but by having a varying selection of the options listed you are avoiding having too many choices. I also like the show component you have included, but I think you need some tweaking to the concept. Instead of simply having each group perform only one or two numbers, why not have ten minute performances followed by a five minute break? I worry that there will be a lot of dead time with the original format. I also think you overestimate that amount of time the average diner will be in the restaurant, with 30-45 minutes being a more likely dining duration. Overall, I would say that your restaurant is fairly basic, but it does work and is a nice fit for Knoebels. I don’t see this being a restaurant that will draw business to the park, but it will likely be popular with current patrons.

Tyler (The Royal Court): I was expecting at least one submission for Busch Gardens Williamsburg as the park lends itself well to the theme of this challenge. Scotland is a good choice for your restaurant’s location as it is somewhat centrally located in the park. The building for your restaurant is visually appealing but I’m not sure it is large enough to become a park icon. The dining room is well decorated and has an appropriate layout. However, I worry about it being too small for the park as BGW can see over 30,000 visitors on busy days. Most of your sample menus are pretty good, though the prices seem a little on the low side. However, given the number of countries present in Europe it would be nice to see more options. Even only using those with a themed area at BGW you’ve still got a couple absent. I’m also not a huge fan of a United States station as it is incongruous with the European theme of both the restaurant and the park. You mentioned satisfying picky eaters, which is a valid concern to address, but with a few very basic options (seriously, who would protest a cheese pizza) at the other stations, having a station just for them doesn’t make sense. Overall, I really like the theme of your restaurant, but restaurants have to be about the food as well, and given the options available to you I feel your selections are a bit lacking.

Keith (Country Fair Southern Cook-Off): Dollywood is not a park that is lacking in good food, but you have pulled off an outstanding restaurant that will improve an already excellent selection of offerings. Putting this in the Country Fair section is an excellent fit. I am worried 350 seats is probably a bit too small during peak season weekends, but based on my experience at the park it would probably be enough at other times. The décor of the entire restaurant sounds great and is definitely right at home in Dollywood. Your prices are very much in line with what I would expect at a major theme park. The five stations are all perfect choices and offer a wide variety of excellent offerings. I also like the idea of having a specific kid’s station. The dessert counters are a nice bonus and keeping them separate is an outstanding idea for those who change their mind after eating and don’t want to wait through a long line again. Overall, you have created one amazing restaurant that would absolutely hold its own against the best that Dollywood currently has to offer. The name could perhaps use a little tweaking, but other than that it’s hard to see any significant flaws.

Juan (Tokyo Terrace): Six Flags Magic Mountain (along with many Six Flags parks) is pretty limited in quality dining options, so I am glad to see you’ve created one. Samurai Summit is a natural fit for a restaurant of this theme and I’m really glad to see the old Laughing Dragon Pizza restaurant put to use again. I can’t tell if you intend on modifying the outside of the building or just giving it a fresh coat of paint, but either way it fits the area. While the addition of a terrace is a very good one, having all the seating outdoors is not. SFMM routinely gets 100 degree temperatures in the summer, and as none of the current restaurants (other than the full service Full Throttle Sports Bar) offer any indoor seating, a nice air-conditioned dining area would be welcome. Given that Laughing Dragon was a full service restaurant, I’ve got a feeling there would be enough room to have your stations and an indoor dining area in addition to the terrace. Other than that, the layout of your restaurant is good. Your stations have some good selections, but I think it would be helpful to broaden the theme of the restaurant. While visitors who like Japanese cuisine would love this restaurant, I’m not sure how big of percentage that would be. Your prices are a little on the low side for Six Flags, but in line with most other major theme parks. Overall, while it’s not a bad restaurant I just don’t know if you would be able to do enough business to justify it. Asian food in Samurai Summit is great, but it would probably be better to include more than just Japan.

Andy (The Flying Tavern): In a competition dominated by American parks, your choice of Europa Park is a refreshing one. Based on the backstory you created, England is the right location for your restaurant and I’ve got a feeling the steampunk theme will fit in with the rest of the park. The interior decoration of your restaurant is outstanding and you’ve got a very basic and appropriate layout. However, I don’t think you need the show component as many guests will not witness it with a 60 minute interval. While the screen idea is a neat concept, I’m not really sure it is necessary and/or an improvement over more traditional means. Part of the idea of station service is to visit the various stations and collect stuff independently, not order at one place. Also, while a group leader may be good for groups with smaller children I’m not sure it would be beneficial in other groups. It also sounds like you’ve made the entire table a giant touchscreen, which seems like something that could malfunction rather easily due to constant exposure to various substances. As for the stations and menu, you have made very good selections and have a nice variety of offerings. I would like to see your prices in Euros, but the numeric values sound about right for a major theme park. Honestly, you’ve come up with a very good restaurant that is definitely creative and original. However, it is hard to judge because it differs from what I would think of as a station service restaurant. Your restaurant is a very good one, I just think you may have gone a bit overboard with technology when a simpler solution would have been more practical.

August 3, 2015, 12:21 AM


Unlike previous challenges, the judges' votes were a bit more uniform in this challenge. While not every judge voted identically, there was a clear top tier, middle tier, and bottom tier.

Now, here are the results:

1st: Keith Schneider - 28.6 points
2nd: Douglas Hindley - 24.3 points
3rd: Tie...Jeff Elliott & Andy Teoh - 20 points
5th: DPCC inc. - 14.3 points
6th: Juan Hamilton - 7.1 points
7th: Tyler Harris - 5.7 points

I'm sorry, Tyler, but you received the lowest score in this challenge and are hereby eliminated from Theme Park Apprentice 7. However, you will have a chance at redemption. If you think you can do better, I invite you to continue following the competition, either as a spectator or as an unofficial competitor, and to submit a proposal in the redemption challenge taking place at a later date.

For everyone else, here are the cumulative standings:

1st: Douglas Hindley - 70.3 points
2nd: Keith Schneider - 69.7 points
3rd: Jeff Elliott - 54.6 points
4th: Andy Teoh - 53.5 points
5th: Juan Hamilton - 47.6 points
6th: DPCC inc. - 39.1 points
7th: Tyler Harris - 36.1 points

It appears we have a very close battle for first place right now. However, the rest of you can still catch up. Challenge 4 has begun, so if you haven't looked at the challenge yet do so. It is a bit more involved than the previous challenges, so prepare to put some time and effort into it.

For any further discussion of this challenge, please use the Chatter thread as this thread will not be regularly monitored beyond this point.

August 3, 2015, 3:39 AM

Big surprise there...

I understand my proposal had many issues, and that I didn't 100% bring my A-game for this challenge.

I hope to be back again for the redemption challenge, and improve my technique.

But I'm going to be honest, I never thought I would make it this far.. last time I played I partially copied ideas and ended up dropping out before the first challenge even started! My writing has improved, and even though I got eliminated third challenge, I feel like I have taken a huge step forward in my quest to become the next Theme Park Apprentice (at some point).

Good luck to the six contestants remaining in the game!

August 3, 2015, 6:09 AM

Tyler, you should be proud of your work so far. I say "so far" because I know we'll be seeing more of you, both in the redemption round and in future TPA competitions, and every time you compete you will get better at it. We learn by doing. I remember the last time you started TPA and things didn't go really smooth. You have made major advances in your writing ability, experience and maturity, and I know we're going to see great things from you!

August 3, 2015, 7:56 AM

To be honest Tyler, the hardest challenges I think are Shows, Restaurants, and Hotels.

Rides are fairly easy, but I think so many theme parks just do the basics when it comes to food (because they can) it's hard to get inspired...

August 3, 2015, 8:38 AM

Tyler, while it is disappointing to get eliminated, don't forget to be proud of what you have done. This competition can be very tough, and often the difference between the best and worst proposal is like the difference between an A and a B+ (or possibly even smaller). I've also found restaurants to be the hardest of the single component challenges, and I mean it when I say everyone submitted a great concept in this challenge. We've got one of the best groups of competitors ever this season, so making it to the third round is definitely an accomplishment. I wish you good luck in the redemption challenge and I hope to see you continue to be involved with this competition.

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