Wednesday, February 21, 2024

From Starbucks to New Themed Restaurants, California’s Great America Ups its Food Offering in 2018


California’s Great America, a Cedar Fair park, is undergoing a food revolution heading into the 2018 season with four new eateries – a full-service Starbucks®, French Quarter Funnel Cake & Churro, Sierra Creek Lodge rustic family restaurant and Orleans Candy Kitchen. For special events, a new 500-person covered outdoor space adjacent to Great America Pavilion will provide amenities for private events, and the iconic Consulate gathering facility inside the park has been updated to offer a more intimate and modernized setting for small groups and meetings. In addition, its popular Maggie Brown’s Smokehouse & Fried Chicken will receive an exterior and interior makeover for 2018. These new and upgraded venues are part of the park’s overall new master plan that also introduces several major new attractions over the next few years.

California’s Great America is dedicated to delivering superb food and beverage offerings in inviting and immersive settings that will match the world-class rides and entertainment guests are expecting,” said Great America’s Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “Guests today are more discriminating and savvy, and the park is responding by elevating food experiences and festivals, including Taste of Orleans and Red, White & Brews. We realize the importance of food to the overall guest experience, and these additions are only a part of what is planned in the coming years.”

Starbucks interior concept

The brand new, full-service Starbucks will be situated in the park’s Hometown Square area, just past Celebration Swings. All Starbucks favorite beverages including classic coffees, Frappuccinos® and Macchiatos, exotic teas, seasonal beverages and more will be available. The food menu includes fresh sandwiches, fruit and protein snacks, and bakery treats like scones, bagels, cakes and cookies.

Guests will enjoy the oversized window seating that provides a picturesque view of the midway. Additionally, a new outdoor patio will create street-front café ambience. The interior will be decorated with classic images from Great America’s historic past. Starbucks will be situated where Candy Café was previously located.


An entirely new home is being constructed for French Quarter Funnel Cake & Churro Factory. The popular Great America funnel cakes will be taken to another level in 2018 with a myriad of flavor combinations that can be mixed and matched to individual preferences, and created right in front of guests. The classic strawberry and powdered sugar funnel cakes are here to stay, and will be joined by new great flavors like blueberry, caramel, apple, cookies and cream, tropical coconut and pineapple.

The innovative churro selections include Campout (s’mores), key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, creamsicle, cookies and cream, tropical (coconut, pineapple and rum flavor), macha (white chocolate and Bavarian cream), cotton candy, apple pie and many more flavors.

Guests can enjoy their custom creations in Orleans Place’s new outside patio, situated where Sweet Tooth was previously located.

Sierra Creek Lodge interior concept

Dining in the Planet Snoopy kids’ area will take on a completely new flavor and feel, as Joe Cool Café is re-imagined into Sierra Creek Lodge. The family dining experience will introduce a mountain lodge feel from the exterior woodwork to the interior décor. Murals featuring wild animals will don the walls, and the indoor furnishings will add to the Sierra atmosphere. The serving lines will be doubled for faster service, and an extended patio will offer more space for families to gather, dine and relax.

New food selections will include a Panini bar featuring fresh vegetables, lean meats and savory sauces. A new Coca-Cola Barrilitos™ station will feature agua fresca (juice and water blends) such as pear cucumber, mango lime, strawberry hibiscus, and pineapple. Kid favorites like chicken tenders, mac and cheese, and pizza will still be available.


Another sweet food addition for 2018 is Orleans Candy Kitchen, a classic confectionery that includes a station where guests will order specialty caramel apples, choose their personalized toppings and have the delectable favorites made right before their eyes. From classic caramel, to house made pralines, to an assortment of crushed candies and nuts, the possibilities for custom-tailoring are endless.

Candy aficionados and guests of all ages will be drawn to the fudge making that happens in the front window of Orleans Candy Kitchen. Fun flavors include peanut butter, caramel, strawberry, white chocolate, and cookies and cream. The venue will provide that old-time candy shop feel with a cornucopia of salt-water taffy offerings, chocolate covered Oreos® and crispy rice treats, and a wide assortment of Bay Area created Jelly Belly® flavors. Orleans Candy Kitchen replaces Trending Now.


In 2017, the iconic Great America restaurant reinvented itself by delivering mouth-watering barbeque favorites like brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Now the dining experience will be modernized with more ordering kiosks for faster service, a giant rotisserie and smoker visible to guests, an expanded outdoor patio, and interior design renovations.


Two new offerings for corporate events will greatly enhance Great America’s catering possibilities. A new 500 person covered outdoor event space is being built adjacent to the almost 18,000 sq. ft. Great America Pavilion. Features include the same upscale catering offered inside the pavilion, outdoor HD television monitors, and an open-air feel to deliver park and stadium views.

The private Consulate chambers, offering a beautiful park view from the top of Orleans Place, is being updated with modern amenities for intimate private meetings. Hosting up to 50 attendees, the historic Consulate was originally constructed as an apartment for the Marriott family while the park and neighboring hotel were being built.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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