Cedar Point improves its food game with two new restaurants

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

I think that is at least part of the problem.

kpjb's avatar

BrettV said:

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.

Hmmm... maybe I was lucky when I was there? I hope I'm not disappointed whenever I return, because I have high expectations. (Unless there's another quick service chicken curry place in Japan and I'm mixing up the restaurants.)


Tilt-A-Whirl said:

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.

I noticed that yesterday, the portion control that is. Even then the portion control was inconsistent. On the other hand, Coasters loaded up my burger basket with fries that were acceptable. In my opinion (I am a sous chef for Kroger) it's a problem embedded in staff.

I do empower my minions to fix something if it's off. Not sure that CP can do that on a mass scale.

I avoid several of the food locations and always go when it's busy. But that's just me.

If the new Hugo's is CP's example of "stepping up their food game" they have a big problem. It was terrible. We tried their "brick oven pizza" (LOL!) and goodness... It's the first time I ever thought "wow... these guys have nothing on Little Caesar's."

I mean it takes effort to make a pizza that bad.

I haven't had a chance to try Hugo's yet, but I have heard reviews ranging from what you said all the way to "best food in the park." Not sure if it's a case of good days and bad days based on staff, crowds, etc, or if it really isn't that good and some people are just easy to please.

We got the pizza at Hugo's on Sunday for the 3-year-old, and while it wasn't worth writing home about, it was better than the pizza served a couple of buildings over. It was also better than LaRosa's served at Kings Island. I know, it isn't really saying much on either front.

After we left, I wondered if there wasn't a staff/training issue. I got the stromboli as a meal. It came with exactly one garlic knot as the side. Was that single dinner-roll sized piece of bread really $5? It was a bit dry and could have used some marinara or something to go with it. I'm on the dining plan, and the stromboli was enough food for me, so it wasn't a big deal. If I was laying out cash, there is no way I would have accepted that as a side.

OhioStater's avatar

On our recent trip over the past few days I learned two things:

1) The perch at BackBeatQue is very good. For 15.99 you get a decent serving (4 nicely-sized pieces) and a side. Our daughters opted for a well-portioned heaping of a (not Kraft) mac-and-cheese. For an extra 5.99 you can double your entree, which we did, and got another side for another 4 bucks. So for about $25 all four of us had a lunch. My wife and I split the perch while the girls had their mac and cheese.

From the taste, it's clear this was not the frozen chewy perch being served up at the place near Gatekeeper (Lakeside?) of previous seasons. It was fresh, not overly breaded, and cooked just right.

2) The Sidewinder Fries are gone from the park. They lasted one season, and, while simple, they were our favorite go-to snack in the park all last season. No sense in discussing why; the guy who manned Sidewinder Sue's (now re-named Sagebrush Sue's) told us the park lost money on them last year, so they are no more.

One step forward, one step back.

Promoter of fog.

Kings Island still had the sidewinder fries at Coney BBQ as of Coasterstock weekend. It will be a bummer if they start to leave the chain, I really did enjoy them.

Your BackBeatQue experience sounds similar to mine at Miss Keat’s last year. Outside of the comical meat rationing, everything was quite good and was casual restaurant quality. I’d choose Miss Keat’s over Applebees any day. Nice to hear BackBeatQue seems to be similar. I have taken the drive over to Thirsty Pony just to get good perch, glad to hear it is in the park now as well.

OhioStater's avatar

Funny, this was the first year that I didn't make an off-campus pilgrimage to the Pony to pick up perch and bring back to Breakers. The shrimp also looked really good...jumbo-size with a funnel-cake coating.

I noticed the aforementioned scale, and yes, it does seem rather silly to be weighing the portions.

Luckily no one has to weigh the perch. :)

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

birdhombre's avatar

Went to BackBeatQue with some friends who each had a dining plan, then we added an entree to one and a side to another, so we sampled almost everything. In general, it was very good by Cedar Point standards. The smoked sausage was awesome. Cornbread muffins were great too. Fried okra was... good but different. Rotisserie chicken was yummy. The brisket wasn't as flavorful as I'd like, but at least it wasn't dry. Fried perch was good but I'll always prefer Jolly Roger in Port Clinton. The one disappointment was the mac & cheese, which was bland and not very cheesy.

Still need to try the funnel cake shrimp and corn on the cob, which I'll do next time, because I'll definitely be back. And while the line looked long when we went in, it moved very quickly.

Ken P said:

We got the pizza at Hugo's on Sunday for the 3-year-old, and while it wasn't worth writing home about, it was better than the pizza served a couple of buildings over. It was also better than LaRosa's served at Kings Island. I know, it isn't really saying much on either front.

We gave Hugo's another try, as the 3-year-old wasn't interested in anything else we offered him to eat. I'm confused as to what the pizza should be.

The first time, we got a wedge-shape with no discernable edge crust. My wife described it as if they took a frozen pizza, sliced it up 6 ways, and cooked each individually.

This week, we got a round personal-sized pizza with crust on the edge. It tasted better than the prior trip.

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