Thursday, January 26, 2012

Restaurant Review: 50s Prime Time Cafe.

Stepping in from the hot Florida sun into 50s Prime Time Cafe is like stepping into your grandmother's living room, if your grandmother's house was decorated in a fun, 50s-style kitsch. Black and white televisions playing old favorites, formica, pinks, blues, and 50s futuristic touches, this restaurant is nostalgic fun for anyone, whether you lived through that era or just watched it on Nick at Night.

Fun waiting area/living room with 50s touches.

Your server here will call herself "mom" or perhaps "cousin" or even "uncle," but they'll all have one thing in common: Making sure you mind your manners. Think it's okay to put your elbows on the table?  Mom has something to say about it. Didn't finish your veggies? You better hide them because when your Cousin Sue comes back, she's not going to like it. Some servers have the routine down better than others, especially the "mom" types. On our last visit, our server was friendly but brisk. Fortunately, the server for the table next to us had the entire room in stitches with her routine, as she went from table to table checking up on all of us, so we didn't miss out on the fun.

Carousel of Progress or grandma's kitchen?


As nice as it is to be entertained, you're really here from the food and 50s Prime Time doesn't disappoint. Think comfort food with a Southern touch, with standouts like fried chicken served with to-die-for greens, meatloaf, and chicken pot pie, but you can also try lighter fare like salads and poached salmon. Round that out with flavored sodas, like cherry coke, diner-style desserts, milk shakes, malts and even a few inventive mixed drinks for the grown ups, and you have an enjoyable, and fun, meal.

Black and white televisions are part of the decor.
Take in an old show while you eat.
 
I live in the south and I'm picky about my fried chicken, so I was pleasantly surprised at how good Prime Time's is. Your crust shouldn't shatter and fall to the table when you bite into it, but it shouldn't be a soggy mess either. This chicken falls nicely in between, a lightly spiced, non-greasy piece of chicken with a delicious crust.  And there's a lot of it, by the way, usually three to four pieces.





You'll get it serving of mashed potatoes with gravy that are perfectly fine, but the real star of this dish is the greens that come with it. Spicy and, somewhat shocking to this southern cook, not not at all soggy, these greens are delicious. Of course I know you can make greens so they still have a nice bite to them, but I cook them the way I was taught: Until they're mushy. If you've been turned off by greens before because of the texture, give these a try.
The roast beef is good too.  Tender roast beef braised with tomato juice, it's served in an unnecessarily complicated mound of mashed potatoes and julienned carrots and celery.  I generally don't care for pot roast that's been cooked with tomato juice and I probably wouldn't get this again because of it, but that's more of a personal thing preference rather than a problem with the preparation and overall taste.  Overall, it's a good, solid dish and I liked how the carrots and celery were still slightly crispy.  If you'd debating between this dish and the fried chicken, give the sampler platter a try. It comes with both plus meatloaf for $19.99.



Kids meals are the usual fare with the addition of a grilled fish option. My daughter really enjoyed the macaroni with marinara sauce. 


I really liked that there was a substantial portion of fresh fruit offered instead of a dessert option. This is when having the dining plan comes in handy and it's why I like it so much. You'll pay $15.02 per child (ages 3 -8) for the plan. This meal costs $8.59.  Add a snack and a quick-service option and it's easy to come out ahead with children.

Most table-service restaurants at Disney have excellent desserts and 50s Prime Time is no exception.  I loved Dad's Brownie Sundae with hot fudge and caramel topping. You could also try the delicious S'mores, with their caramelized outside, warm gooey inside, all covered in chocolate sauce. I'm not a marshmallow fan, but I always say yes to these.  I mean, it's the polite thing to do!


Photo courtesy of Chip and Company.

50s Prime Time Cafe is a new favorite of mine. I love the food and the atmosphere--where else can you watch old TV shows while you eat?  It's going to be a must-do every trip.

4 comments:

rpknfn14 said...

I loved the food at 50's primetime cafe during our trip in September. My issue was with my server. She was not into the whole theme at all. I even tried to get her into it and it was like she wanted nothing to do with it at all. That really ruined my whole experience there overall. The food was great but not sure I would go again because of our waitress.

Chris

Anonymous said...

We eat here at least twice every trip. Really good food.

Anonymous said...

Ask for Aunt Jen - She was lots of fun!!!

Anonymous said...

Great food and fun . Our waitress yelled at me for ordering too slow , called my son in law "Chip" , and my daughter was Princess . They are almost 30 , absolutely hysterical .
Will return every time .