The Hollywood Brown Derby: Dining Review

by Sue Kulick, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 7/9/2009

Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Dining

Located in a corner of Disney's Hollywood Studios (DHS), tucked away from the bustling crowd lies a little slice of Hollywood history and Disney magic. The Hollywood Brown Derby, serving lunch and dinner, is a not-to-be-missed gem!


Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Dining
Caricatures on the walls of the lobby at the Hollywood Brown Derby

The history of the restaurant is fascinating. When the Imagineers thought of creating a Hollywood Brown Derby for DHS, they wanted to recreate the atmosphere that made the original Brown Derby so famous. The Brown Derby opened in the 1920s, and quickly became a second home for Hollywood's elite. In 1985, the original Brown Derby closed its doors. In 1987, The Walt Disney Company entered into an agreement with the Brown Derby's owner to create a new Brown Derby in DHS. The only problem was - no prototype existed! The original was long gone. So the Imagineers had to recreate this famous icon from photographs.

To enter the building, you walk down a canopied entryway and into a small foyer. The first thing you will notice is all the caricatures of celebrities on the walls. These are very reminiscent of the original Brown Derby, where the walls were covered with star-studded drawings by Mr. Jack Lane. Look closely…there's a hidden Mickey in there!

After checking in, you will be seated in the beautiful dining area. The color scheme is deep rich mahogany wood and golden light infused on cream colored walls. The caricatures continue into the dining area, where you can sit at a table or slide into a red leather booth.

Soon your server will be there to attend to your every need, just as if you were indeed Hollywood royalty! You can start your meal with an adult beverage, such as a Peachtree Punch, a Derby margarita or a Razz Martini. You may think you are not that hungry, but don't pass up an appetizer here! The lunchtime starters include coconut shrimp, smoked salmon, and a beef short rib tart. The dinner appetizers include crab cakes, cremini mushroom ravioli, and the famous Cobb salad for two. Everything is prepared fresh and to your liking.

Then, it's on to your entrée. Lunch entrees include the individual Cobb Salad. This salad was invented late one night by the Derby's original owner, Bob Cobb, when he chopped up some leftovers for his dinner. Some of his friends tried it, and loved it, and began to order it. The rest, as they say, is history! If you're not the salad type, try the grilled rib eye with crispy onions, gorgonzola, red bliss potatoes, and tomato vinaigrette. Or try the fresh egg linguini pasta with shrimp, clams and mushrooms in a light herb truffle cream sauce. For dinner, you have some of the best choices that Walt Disney World has to offer. There is a 12-ounce New York strip steak, and a spit-roasted half chicken. You can try grilled Atlantic salmon, or pan-roasted duck breast with venison sausage. No matter what you order, the food is served with flourish and flair that could be the envy of Hollywood.

Despite all those delectable courses, you still need to save room for dessert! The Brown Derby's signature dessert is the grapefruit cake. This delightful concoction is layers of yellow cake with fresh grapefruit cream cheese icing. It is a Brown Derby original! Another dessert to dream about is the Banana White Chocolate Toffee Tower, and yes, it tastes as good as it sounds! There is a vanilla crème brulée served with chocolate biscotti, as well as a few other wonderful choices.

The Hollywood Brown Derby is a Signature Dining experience; if you are on the Disney Dining Plan, a meal here will cost two table service credits per person. If you are not on the dining plan, be prepared to pay a bit more than the other DHS restaurants. Also be prepared to sit and enjoy a lingering, delightful dining experience. This is not the place to rush into when you are trying to grab a quick bite between attractions, but rather a place to sit, relax, and feel like you have been transported back to the time of Hollywood's heyday!




Characters at the Hollywood Brown Derby



About the Author:
Sue Kulick is a resident of the Pocono Mountains and an avid Disney fan. She and her husband, Steve, live in a log home with their Golden Retrievers, Cody and Belle and their cat Tigger.


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