This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at FAST FOOD BLVD in Springfield USA. Replacing the International Film & Food Festival in 2013, Springfield’s Fast Food Blvd quickly became one of the most popular dining locations within the Universal Orlando Resort. Complete with menu items taken directly from The Simpsons television show, this “food court” style eatery offers a wide array of items to appease everyone in your party.
# 6 – Like walking into a cartoon…
Unlike most traditional animated shows, The Simpsons television show has spent many episodes making fun of the restaurants we eat at in the real world. The restaurant chain that is referenced the most is Krusty Burger, which is a stand-in for our McDonalds/Burger King/Wendy’s. In typical Simpsons fashion, Krusty Burger is often represented as the worst place a person could go to for food, offering the most unhealthy choices possible. In typical American fashion, that just makes us like it more.
While the inside of Fast Food Blvd. resembles more of a traditional food court with various stations, the outside façade includes representations of several iconic locations from the television show, including a Krusty Burger franchise.
There is a lot of seating inside Fast Food Blvd., along with pieces of artwork featuring literally hundreds of Simpsons characters.
Here’s a look at Fast Food Blvd.’s main seating area from a different angle.
This character poster below features over 450 characters, including references to people who actually worked the show such as Simpsons creator Matt Groening along with show producers Al Jean and James L. Brooks.
You can also see a breakdown in which each character is identified by number…
…along with a character key which allows you to identify each character on the poster.
The poster below I actually bought a print of at the Kwik-E-Mart because I loved it so much. It references a ton of classic moments from the show.
Throughout Fast Food Blvd. you’ll see TVs that are playing clips from The Simpsons episodes in which the characters are discussing food or are in some of the various restaurants within Fast Food Blvd. This is very similar to the queue of The Simpsons Ride which plays clips from episodes where the family went to theme parks.
Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror is the first area of Fast Food Blvd. where you can actually get food. and it is a grab-and-go area featuring healthy options such as salads and fruit cups.
# 5 – The Frying Dutchman
While Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror is a venue that is solely a play on words referencing the tv show’s classic Treehouse of Horror episodes, each of the other options in Fast Food Blvd. is a place referenced directly in The Simpsons, including The Frying Dutchman for seafood options.
Throughout Fast Food Blvd. you’ll see clever jokes that originated with the cartoon, including the logo for The Frying Dutchman having the “All” in “All You Can Eat” crossed out. This is referencing the episode New Kid On The Block (s4 ep8), where Homer tries to sue The Frying Dutchman over its all-you-can-eat policy.
The neon light signage also goes harder than it has to, with the fisherman and the customer in the sign having two different poses that light up, just like the cartoon. The fisherman is tossing a “fresh catch” into the customer’s mouth.
Each area of Fast Food Blvd. also has artwork referencing the particular venue. Here we have the sea captain himself, Horatio McCallister, in front of The Frying Dutchman.
The Sea Captain and guests after a charter fishing expedition.
There are always little touches in all of Simpsons artwork. Note the boots coming out of the fish’s mouth below.
Ahoy ye mateys! Surprisingly enough, Universal Studios Florida has two decent seafood places as The Frying Dutchman serves as a nice quick service counterpart to the flagship restaurant of the park, Lombard’s Seafood Grille. I’m much more of a fried seafood kind of guy, and The Frying Dutchman comes through in spades. The calamari came out great and all orders are served with one hushpuppy and an order of tater tots. Considering most theme parks are filled with standard french fries as a side, one of the most satisfying parts of Fast Food Blvd. is that it brought in tater tots and seasoned “Kurly” fries into the mix, both of which were long overdue. I personally love tater tots and – even better – appreciate when they are identified as “tater tots” on a menu instead of something goofy like “potato barrels” like we see in Toy Story Land.
# 4 – Luigi’s Pizza
While pizza is my favorite food in the world, generally speaking I avoid “food court pizza” like the plague. However, Luigi’s Pizza is MUCH BETTER than your average pizza found at theme park quick service and hotel food courts. Shockingly better.
Luigi’s Pizza is based around the stereotypical character Luigi Risotto (is that an E-Ticket name or what?!)
One of the most underrated features in all of Fast Food Blvd. are the jokes in the actual menus themselves. Almost every pizza place you’ll go to in the world – or even the frozen pizzas in your local supermarket – will have a traditional “meat lover’s pizza.” Luigi’s has a Meat Liker’s Pizza, but even better, the vegetarian option is called the Meat Hater’s Pizza. That alone is five stars.
The pizza itself at Luigi’s is much more like the quality you would get at Red Oven Pizza Bakery in CityWalk then your traditional theme park quick service pizza. Universal Studios Florida is blessed with solid pizza options, because Louie’s pizza in the New York section of the park is also terrific. Despite coming out of a conveyor belt, the crust on the Luigi’s Pizza options were crispy and tasted incredible.
# 3 – Cletus’ Chicken Shack
A last minute replacement for Kentucky Fried Panda, Cletus’ Chicken Shack may actually be the true gem of Fast Food Blvd with one great item after another. The double batter chicken platter is a true surprise as the corn-flake crusted chicken is very flavorful, and the mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and corn on the cob are great sides. It reminded me a bit of eating meals at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley in that the mashed potatoes and corn on the cob are not your every day theme park sides, but they go perfectly with the chicken here.
On the outside of Fast Food Blvd. there is a faux entrance to Cletus’ Chicken Shack.
“Didn’t fully cross the road”…to quote Larry the Cable Guy, I don’t care who you are, that’s funny.
Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel and family, along with Comic Book Guy, are my personal favorite characters in the entire Simpsons universe, so I admit to being slightly biased for this location.
THAT SAID, this menu slaps. Can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Chicken & Waffle Sandwich
What some people see in the Dole Whip at the Magic Kingdom, or the Fish ‘n Chips at the UK pavilion in Epcot is what I see in the Chicken & Waffle Sandwich at Cletus’ Chicken Shack. People outside the southern part of America are probably thinking “chicken and waffles? Have you lost your mind?!” but the two foods combined just create something magical. Even better, Cletus’ Chicken Shack has a special maple flavored mayo that takes the sandwich to the next level. When ordering, ask for the mayo on the sandwich and on the side. You can thank me later. Throw in some tater tots and you basically have the perfect quick service meal in a theme park.
# 2 – Krusty Burger
For most Simpsons fans, the biggest draw to Fast Food Blvd. is being able to order actual items from a bonafide Krusty Burger. I love The Simpsons. I think you know I love The Simpsons. So believe me when I tell you that Universal nailed this one and delivered exactly what I always wanted.
As a longtime fan of The Simpsons show, the minute it was announced that Fast Food Blvd. was going to open I was hoping there would be a Ribwich. Hilariously mocking the McRib from McDonald’s, on the show Krusty Burger described its creation of the Ribwich with the following, “We start with authentic, letter-graded meat, and process the hell out of it.”
Unlike its television counterpart, The Ribwich at Krusty Burger is nothing like the McRib and is more in line with a pulled pork sandwich. Topped with coleslaw and served with seasoned “Kurly” fries and a pickle spear, the Ribwich was definitely a menu item needed within Universal Studios Florida, with pulled pork being such a staple of Florida dining. In fact, while you can find pulled pork sandwiches at CityWalk’s Margaritaville, NBC Grill, and Hard Rock Café, Krusty Burger was the first to offer it within either of the Universal parks. The combination of the cool coleslaw on top of the warm pulled pork makes for a flavorful experience.
Like the Ribwich, the Krusty Burger is an iconic food item straight from the canon of the Simpsons universe. Known as “the unhealthiest food in the world,” the Krusty Burger in Universal’s Fast Food Blvd is just a really good theme park burger. Using different burger patties and rolls than ones served at the other hamburger locations in the park, each Krusty Burger also has a giant tomato slice, iceberg lettuce and is topped with both a cheddar cheese sauce and a “secret” sauce. Served with “Kurly” fries and a pickle spear, being able to chomp down on an actual Krusty Burger will bring many a Simpsons fan’s dreams come to life.
The Clogger is another burger straight from the cartoon.
The actual Clogger served at Krusty Burger is a toned down version of the one shown in the cartoon. While the normal Krusty Burger is a 1/3 pound burger, the Clogger used a 2/3 pound burger patty. The Clogger also has applewood bacon slices. The rest of the ingredients are the same as a Krusty Burger.
As much as I love the name Meat Hater’s Pizza, I think Heat-Lamp Dog at Krusty Burger may be the all-time funniest named menu item in theme park history.
The Sideshow Bob Foot Long Dog is topped with a ton of chili, cheddar cheese sauce, coleslaw, and diced onions.
Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds.
# 1 – Moe’s Tavern
Moe’s Tavern is one of the main set pieces on The Simpsons show, so Universal needed to get it right, and boy did they. From a pitch perfect facade to an inside that brings you right into the show, Moe’s Tavern is one of my favorite themed areas at Universal. The Love Tester is here, as well as Springfield’s resident drunk Barney Gumble, and the walls are filled with references to the TV show.
There is no food served in Moe’s Tavern, but you can bring in your meal from the connected Fast Food Blvd.
Fans of The Simpsons have seen Moe himself take many a crank call on this phone. If you hear it ring, you may want to see who it is…
One popular drink to get at Moe’s? The FLAMING MOE. In fact, the Flaming Moe became the first signature drink in Universal history that guests wanted to watch before they drank. Based on an iconic episode of The Simpsons, the Flaming Moe uses a unique dry ice effect to simulate the drink being on fire. While the Flaming Moe itself is little more than orange soda, the overall experience of seeing the Flaming Moe is a fun one, especially if you have younger kids with you. (The Flaming Moe cup is also a great souvenir.)
Moe’s Tavern also serves Duff beer on tap, including Duff, Duff Light, and Duff Dry.
Keep your eyes open behind the bar at Moe’s for some great details, including bottles of Sideshow Bob’s Pruno…
…and Alkie’s Choice bourbon.
The last station at Fast Food Blvd. is related to Moe’s Tavern and is named Flaming Moe’s. This is where you’ll pick up your drinks from any of the venues within the food court.
HONORABLE MENTION: Krusty Burger Wrappers
We’ve referenced several things in this article where Universal adds a level of detail you generally don’t see in the theme park world, and we also need to include the Krusty Burger Wrappers that sandwiches are served in at Krusty Burger.
This could be a plain piece of paper, like almost every other restaurant in the theme park world, but it isn’t, and that level of authenticity makes the meal even more special.
We’re going to pour one out for another item that used to separate Fast Food Blvd, Springfield USA themed napkins.Not sure if it’s currently a supply side issue or they are just gone forever, but the current napkins are just like the ones you get everywhere else. Note in the picture below that the waffles previously used in the Chicken & Waffle Sandwich were frozen Eggo waffles. The current waffles used for the sandwiches are a much higher quality.
So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Looks at FAST FOOD BLVD in Springfield! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.