Cedar Point improves its food game with two new restaurants

Posted Friday, May 17, 2019 8:30 AM | Contributed by BrettV

Cedar Point has opened two new restaurants this season that offer menus a step up from corn dogs and fries. A new barbecue joint and Italian restaurant await guests. For $13.99, guests can pick an entree and a side. Drinks and desserts and additional sides cost extra.

Read more and see photos from The Akron Beacon-Journal.

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Friday, May 17, 2019 8:35 AM

I've been a fan of Cedar Point for a long time, but in terms of food, the park has always rested somewhere between terrible and mediocre. I never understood why, either, because you don't have to go nuts to make better food. Holiday World has always had some delicious stuff. SeaWorld/Busch Gardens has always had some of the best offerings anywhere. I imagine part of the issue at CP is that they've had a revolving door of managers over the years. They've had a few good ones do a season and then ship them off to another park.

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Friday, May 17, 2019 10:11 AM

While I always welcome improvements, at this stage with CF I have given up on this actually happening or at the very least sustaining. I can provide numerous examples but I don't think it is worth our time.

To Jeff's point, Holiday World can pull it off but why can't CP, is something I have always wondered?

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Friday, May 17, 2019 11:26 AM

SFGAm's food is even worse. It appears to be due to their overwhelming desire to have everything fit their food plan. I wonder if the seasonal nature of the park and having to hire new employees every year is part of the problem.

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Friday, May 17, 2019 11:44 AM

Melt is sustaining and I think these two new options are in response to it doing so well.

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Friday, May 17, 2019 4:13 PM

It’s interesting when you look at how different parks approach their F&B operation and concept portfolios.

On one end you have Six Flags with lots of corporately branded F&B concepts. Cedar Fair is somewhere in the middle with a blend of corporate and in-house concepts. And on the other side you have Disney and Universal who have very little corporate presence (at least in the parks; you see more of it at Disney Springs and City Walk).

At my park, one of the biggest growth opportunities we are seeing right now is within our F&B operation, specifically at table service concepts with alcohol service. It’s amazing how when you offer beer and wine/drinks with a meal, how popular it is with mom and dad, even at more upscale table service restaurants with higher price points than a traditional counter service offering. At least that is the trend with us.

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Friday, May 17, 2019 4:51 PM

Jeff said:

SeaWorld/Busch Gardens has always had some of the best offerings anywhere.

They do a great job. I'm headed back to Dollywood later this summer for the first time in a while, and I remember the food there being very good as well.

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Friday, May 17, 2019 8:46 PM

I've been critical of Cedar Point's food offerings for as long as I can remember. That said, I thought last season they really turned a corner. Miss Keats Smokehouse and Crystal Rock Cafe were probably the stars of the show. These places are smoking their food on site, much like the new BackBeatQue, which has a more expansive menu.

The new BBQ place where Witches Wheel once stood is more of the same; fresh cooked food (including fresh perch....finally.). Funnel-cake dipped shrimp?

For years the food at Cedar Point was mediocre at best. I would argue that this season it's "pretty good" at worst. The momentum built from last year seems to have kept up.

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Saturday, May 18, 2019 12:28 AM

Cedar point has some of the worst food in the themepark industry. So expectations are low. I definitely don’t have high expectations of the barbecue place considering how bad Kings Island”s is The food is always cold.

I don’t understand why some Cedar Fair parks have decent food (like Kings Dominion and Carowinds) while Kings Island and Cedar point have such horrible food year after year. It has to have something to do with individual park mgmt. since some of the parks have better food than the others.

One of the overall problems is they make deals with Subway, Chic-Fil-A, LaRosas (which issome of the worst pizza in the world), Skyline, etc and sell lesser quality versions of this low quality main stream fast food in the park. At least these 2 new ones don't fall in that category.

The other issue is probably their low-ball meal plans. They are offering season dining for a ridiculously low price, and you always get what you pay for....

Last edited by super7*, Monday, May 20, 2019 8:51 AM
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Saturday, May 18, 2019 8:11 AM

I've always hated chain food in parks, but I also say that it's welcome at Cedar Point because the rest of their food is so god awful.

I've had exactly two good meals at CP in the past 35 years. One was at Melt and the other was when the used to have the Famous Dave's brisket sandwiches over by Shoot The Rapids.

I look forward to trying some food that may not suck on my next visit.

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Monday, May 20, 2019 8:33 AM

super7* said:

One of the overall problems is they make deals with Chic-Fil-A, and sell less quality versions of this low quality main stream fast food in the park.

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Monday, May 20, 2019 3:54 PM

I can second (or is it third) the comments about Holiday World. I visited for the first time on Saturday, having not heard anything about it's "better than average" reputation for food and beverage. My wife and I ordered a veggie burger and chicken salad wrap. And, after biting into our sandwiches we just looked at each other in disbelief. The sandwiches tasted like they were made from real food. With Cedar Point being our home park, this was quite the revelation for us. A welcome surprise.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 8:22 AM

The variable that has not been discussed here is the price point. There will always be a connection between cost and taste. As a Disney Passholder, I can attest that most quick service meals in Orlando are between $10-$12. Their quick service obviously is down to a science and is an operations marvel in the way they provide consistently hot, fresh, "decent" food at their quick service. Furthermore, if anything is wrong (i.e. "You forgot my kid's grapes" or "these fries aren't hot...") the cast members have the authority to fix it on the spot.

At Cedar Point, any complaint like the ones above immediately get "upped" to a supervisor and the frontline employee has virtually no power. You have to wait for a supervisor to come "approve" the change, and those supervisors are usually dealing with another issue across the park. Frontline employees at Cedar Point need to be given more common sense authority in their roles to immediately fix guests concerns. Instead, in my experience, frontline employees feel as if they have no power to make decisions and everything gets bumped up the chain.

Finally, the cost matters. I don't know why, but it just rubs me the wrong way when I'm paying $15 + for a meal and they're actually weighing my food (every BBQ restaurant at Cedar Point). I've never seen this done at any other establishment. It just screams "we're going to make sure you don't get a pinch more than what you're paying for..."

I don't mind paying $15 for a quick service meal, it is certainly the highest priced quick service meal in the industry, but when I eat it- it needs to taste decent. Unfortunately, Cedar Point cannot guarantee this- and when there's something wrong- the employees can't make instant guest turn around decisions and I'm stuck waiting for Dick Kinzel's signature to turn it around.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 8:30 AM

I am right there with you, also as a WDW passholder. It's incredible that they're able to handle the volume of people they do at the efficiency level they reach. I haven't been to CP in a couple of years, so I don't know if it's improved, but it wasn't great last time I was there (outside of Famous Dave's).

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2:46 PM

Well the cost certainly factors in to it, and CP's price to quality ratio is way off.

If I had a CP burger and fries and it was $5 I wouldn't care about the bad quality, much as I when I spend $15 for the chicken curry at Katsura Grill in Epcot, I don't care about the price.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2:48 PM

Do they use white meat for that now? I got it once and it was dark meat, which I find slimy and gross.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:35 PM

I don't recall, it's been a couple years... I just remember that it was delicious. I don't mind the dark meat, though, so it may have been.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:46 PM

It was still slimy dark meat with bits of fat all over it as recently as last July. Which is a bummer, because I love the way it is prepared.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:51 PM

Tilt-A-Whirl said:

Finally, the cost matters. I don't know why, but it just rubs me the wrong way when I'm paying $15 + for a meal and they're actually weighing my food (every BBQ restaurant at Cedar Point). I've never seen this done at any other establishment. It just screams "we're going to make sure you don't get a pinch more than what you're paying for..."

I hate to double post, but this. The only other place where I have ever had my meat weighed (insert juvenile joke here) was in my college cafeteria. And just like CP, they would be quick to take .01 oz of meat off the scale and back into the steamer just so you wouldn't get anything over what you were paying.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 4:14 PM

Outside of Epcot's Food & Wine, Dollywood has had the best food options...in my opinion. I'll give Discovery Cove at Sea World an honorable mention though you certainly pay for it with your admission in that case.

Second honorable mention to Mama Melrose's Italian Restaurant at Disney MGM. I missed that restaurant for decades, I guess, but what a great surprise when I finally checked it out.

Cedar Point...I love you, but it has never been about the food.

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