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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch ' Family Dinner Night in the Nineteen Fifties!
July 24, 2011

One warm summer's evening, I found myself seated at a turquoise Formica countertop table, having just finished a delicious meat loaf platter and looking at pictures of Cousin Hassan's two children in their soccer uniforms.  Cousin Hassan coaches pee-wee soccer on the weekends and couldn't wait to tell us about it after the dinner he so graciously served.  He even let us watch The Adventures of Spin and Marty while we ate.  I couldn't wait to text my friends about my fun evening at Cousin Hassan's, but I had to wait to get my cell phone back.  At the start of our meal, I was texting my roommate what time I would be home, but I got caught by Hassan.  He took my phone away because dinner time is family time.

You'd think my cousin was a martinet when it came to family meals, but such a traditional all-American family dinner is commonplace at the 50's Prime Time Caf' in Disney's Hollywood Studios!  The restaurant opened in 1989 and has been serving family dinners and entertaining guests regularly ever since then.  The caf' is housed inside a 1950's home designed with strong lines, sharp angles, and long rectangular windows, reminiscent of the modernist homes like the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, CA designed by famous architect Richard Neutra.  Once inside, you feel as though you stepped into a bygone era, celebrating the artistic, retro feel of a country freshly rebuilt in a time of progress and innovation after the war.

 

Daring and bold shapes, colors, and patterns of the caf's bar area break tradition after the more conservative styles of the first half of the 20th century.

 

While waiting for your table, you know it's 1955.  Walt Disney is on television, introducing Disneyland to homes across the nation!

 

From the reservation desk, you get a glimpse of the kitchen dining area that is to come!

If you are not yet in the 1950's mood, you soon will be once you are seated in the dining room and your server comes by to make you feel like you're at Mrs. Cunningham's kitchen table.  Those of us with hats were ordered to take them off and those who refused were punished'

 

Brent, nicknamed Scooter, was ordered to set the table.  Cousin Brian and Princess Kayleigh thought it was a hoot!

The menu was loaded with traditional dishes and platters popular at American dinner tables in the 1950s to even today.  They are given special titles such as Uncle Charlie's Grilled Tuna Casserole and Cousin Barry's Olive Oil Poached Salmon.  The menu is also peppered with the house rules such as 'Keep your elbows off the table'

 

The Dessert Menu is seen through a Viewfinder, a popular toy in the 1950s.

 

Beer Battered Onion Rings

 

Dad's Traditional Meat Loaf

 

Aunt Liz's Golden Fried Chicken

 

Mom's old Fashioned Pot Roast

I am very intrigued to find out how the Disney chefs cook their dishes for 50's Prime Time caf'.  Usually when you eat out in restaurants, it's done in batch cooking (large volumes at one time) and speed for efficiency, but at 50's Prime Time, your meal tastes like it took all day to cook, just like Mom (or Dad) does.  My meatloaf was brimming with flavor, juicy and tender, just how meat loaf should be.  The mashed potatoes and gravy made a delicious side and the green beans were incredibly fresh and lacked the out of the can taste I've experienced at some chain restaurants offering home style cooking'

Everyone in my party could agree that the food was excellent and felt just like home, especially with Hassan making sure we had good manners.  Though he wouldn't offer dessert unless everyone cleaned their plate!  He made sure of it too, even if he had to do it himself.

 

I'm fed my last bite of potatoes before I can get my phone back.

Scooter didn't eat any of his vegetables!  No desserts for you!

Our family dinner at 50's Prime Time Caf' had sadly come to an end.  My friend Brian was gracious enough to treat us to the whole dinner and we definitely were thankful he let us join in on this rollicking ride to the 1950's.  We were lucky that Brian scored some reservations he made earlier that day, but Advanced Dining Reservations are definitely recommended as the caf' is very popular.  You may have some luck walking in if it's late at night during a Fantasmic presentation. 

Some people may find it rude for your server to be yelling at you or feeding you the rest of your dinner, but here, guests look forward to it and can't wait to see what they do next.  Sometimes, other tables watch you to see what you get yelled at, especially if you come to the table with your hat on.  In my experiences in dining at 50's Prime Time Caf', I've found the larger the party, the more fun you'll have, so definitely try and go with a large group, even if you're not family, because once you're there you'll certainly become one!

 

Family Portrait

(top row) Princess, Scooter

(bottom row) Skippy, Spanky, Cousin Brian

 

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