Power Up Cafe opens at Universal Studios Hollywood

January 29, 2024, 3:29 PM · Universal Studios Hollywood has opened its second Nintendo-themed restaurant.

Located on the Upper Lot, across from Universal Plaza tower, Power Up Cafe serves Mushroom Kingdom-themed calzones and drinks. The eatery is in a soft opening now in advance of its official debut February 15.

Power Up Cafe

The menu includes a meat calzone, a veggie calzone, a pretzel (all $13 each), and popcorn ($7). Four themed drinks also are $13 each.

I will have more to say about Power Up Cafe after a media event later this week. But for now, I tried the "Super Mushroom Calzone," with pepperoni, sausage, Mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce. (That's right - it's mushroom-shaped, but there are no actual mushrooms in it.)

I also selected the "Super Mushroom Fizz," a lemon-lime soda with strawberry popping pearls. It also comes with a "Super Mushroom Power Up," which is a mushroom-shaped flavored sugar cube that comes in a paper question-block box for you to add to the drink when you're ready.

(And no, before any smart-aleck comments, the drink did not include actual mushrooms, either.)

Power Up Cafe food

The calzone offered a soft texture - not the crispy exterior I like on pizzeria calzones. That's the price of the themed color and shape of these items, I suppose. The cheese is three slices that are melted enough to cling to the exterior of the calzone. Inside, it's a homogenous blend of diced pepperoni and ground sausage that makes each bite consistent. Overall, the calzone filled me up and was tasty enough, though I would have liked a cup of marinara on the side to help add some needed moisture.

The drink is just fizzy sugar with a hint of strawberry - not my thing, but sodas are a multi-billion-dollar business, so I recognize that I stand in a minority here.

Fast & Furious construction

Excavation continues on the site of Universal Studios Hollywood's new Fast & Furious roller coaster. It remains strange to a long-time Universal visitor like me to walk around the plaza and see mountains in the distance rather than the Castle and Animal Actors theaters.

Fast and Furious roller coaster site

But several cranes now tower over that void, as crews dig and reshape the Upper Lot's hillside in preparation for vertical construction on the new coaster.

Fast and Furious roller coaster construction

We are still awaiting official word from Universal on an opening timeframe for the coaster, which is tipped to be named Fast & Furious - Hollywood Drift, but my money is on sometime in the summer of 2025.

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Replies (6)

January 29, 2024 at 3:38 PM

$13 for a pretzel? Is it at least stuffed??

January 29, 2024 at 3:57 PM

Universal can't just sell regular calzones and theme this more appropriately to a New York pizzeria instead of around Nintendo that has it's own land in the park on the Lower Lot? If they wanted to leverage the Nintendo IP outside of the theme land, why not open a spot in CityWalk?

Are they going to start selling Butterbeer next to Jurassic World? It just seems silly to go through all the work of creating a heavily detailed theme land only to allow that theming to be broken in other areas of the park.

January 29, 2024 at 3:59 PM

Themed soda drinks at $13 dollars are also pretty crazy! Plus they also seem kid-sized :(

Nevertheless, pretty cool how they integrated the little restaurant into that section of the park and the calzone sounds like something I will try, and I also agree with Robert here about the needed marinara. I'm really excited for the Fast and Furious coaster. I guess we've been spoiled with relatively quick Universal construction time lines on both coasts. They've been at it for a while and the fact that it won't be open this year is a bit of a bummer. But the interesting ride geography and the still fresh newness of Nintendo world means Universal is taking its time on this.

January 29, 2024 at 4:18 PM

The pretzel is not stuffed, but it is Fire Flower shaped and served with cups of chipotle cheese, mustard and white queso dipping sauces.

January 29, 2024 at 5:25 PM

Expensive but looks neat! Can't wait to ride the F&F coaster and that's what they should have built in Orlando in the first place. If they ever need to get rid of Hollywood Rip Ride they should just demo it and the current F&F ride and rebuild a new coaster using the existing queue!

January 30, 2024 at 8:24 AM

Under the "coming soon" statement on the walls, I thought they should have added:
"This time it will be good! No, really."

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