Friday, April 18, 2008

The Hollywood Brown Derby in Orlando

I love Hollywood and I love Orlando... at least Walt Disney World.

Oh, and I also love Universal.

Being that I- oh wait, I also love Sea World.

And Ripley's Believe it or Not. And that upside down building on I Drive that looks so cool even though I have never been there.

Anyway, being that I love Walt Disney World and I love Hollywood, the Brown Derby Restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios is one of my favorite places on earth.

First, a bit of history:

The Brown Derby was a famous restaurant chain in the "golden age" of Hollywood. The restaurant chain was famous for it's hat shaped exterior... but not the one IN Hollywood.
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The Hollywood Brown Derby, the most famous one in the chain, was not in a hat shaped building. This was done because the crazy scientologists in Hollywood were worried a giant martian might show up on earth and pick the restaurant up and wear it on his head.

The other locations didn't worry about this because derbys are "like, so last year on Mars."

The real Derbys have all closed and the one in Hollywood has been torn down and is now a parking lot.
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Now take another look at this photo from the 1980s:
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Now look again at the parking lot:
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Notice something? "Juices Fountain" seems to have been passed over by the wrecking ball.

Juices Fountains still stands, but the most famous restaurant in Hollywood now has a bunch of Toyotas parked on top of it.

Ahhh well, we always have Orlando.

So, Disney re-created the Brown Derby an it is one of the finest restaurants on Walt Disney World property.

This is what the original interior looked like:
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The most famous thing about the interior was the caricatures of celebrities that covered the walls.

Now here is a photo of the Disney recreation:
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Notice anything?

If you were straining your eyes to see if the staff of Juices Fountain was trying a hostile takeover you may have missed the minor changes Disney has made to the restaurant.

For starters, they have less caricatures and they took out some booths and replaced them with tables. Still, it's a pretty awesome replica.

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Here I am standing in front of a wall of caricatures.

Notice anything?

Yup, I have a Hagar the Horrible T-shirt. Admit it, that's pretty freakin' cool.

Here is a caricature of Roy Rogers:
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He was famous for his fried chicken restaurants. I am told he played a cowboy in a movie, too.

Here is one of Ronald Reagan:
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He was just like Roy Rogers... except with less chicken and more State of the Union speeches.

Here is Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy:
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They were a ventriloquist/dummy act. I tried for like 20 minutes to come up with a good political joke that wouldn't offend half of my readers. I couldn't.

Let's just leave it alone.

This is a cartoon of Lilo & Stitch done by the creators of the film that appears in the guest book of the restaurant:
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And Stitch is right! The food is good. I had the tilefish:
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The "real" Brown Derby was most famous for the Cobb Salad. The owner apparently created it as a midnight snack for Chinese Theater owner Sid Grauman.

Although I have an amazing amount of admiration for Sid, I hate salad so I ate the fish.

The Brown Derby's other original recipe was the Grapefruit Cake:
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I tried that, it was pretty good... although it tasted too much like grapefruit.

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