Why We Love Eating at Knott's Berry Farm

May 29, 2016

There's no shortage of amusement parks in Southern California. If you grew up here, you probably have great memories of spending an entire day seeking thrills on rides, meeting your favorite characters, and eating your favorite park food. Theme parks are what us Cali-kids lived for (and still do). 

As a kid, I was happy with mouse-shaped pancakes that tasted on par with school cafeteria food. After all, I wasn't really there for the cuisine, but rather for the fun and overindulgence of sugary treats. Today, as a father and food lover, I look forward to creating new memories with my family while trying the best food that each park has to offer. Yes, I still like the rides, but I love the food, especially at Knott’s Berry Farm.

It’s only fitting that Knott’s would have good eats because they were in the business of selling food long before the rides and Snoopy shows came along. In the 1920’s, Walter and Cordelia Knott sold preserves, pies, and obviously berries, all from a roadside stand along Route 39, which we know today as Beach Blvd. In1934, Cordelia began selling fried chicken dinners in a tea room that you know as the famous Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. It was so popular that in order to entertain the long lines of diners waiting for a seat at the restaurant, Walter began constructing old west buildings that became the basis for Ghost Town. Soon after, more attractions were built and by 1968, for the first time, an admission price of 25 cents was set to gain access to the park. 

Scenic patio dining in Ghost Town

So what makes dining at Knott's Berry Farm so good? Maybe it's the food history, or the appealing open space dining options surrounded by old buildings that give the ambience of being transported back in time. Or perhaps it's simply that the food is delicious and Executive Chef Bobby Obezo has made sure you are enjoying your dining experience as much as the entertainment. For me it's all of these things. And after eating at Knott's over the years, with the most recent trip being this past week, I've picked out three things you need to try on your next visit. 

Fried Chicken Dinner at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant

This is what started it all and one of the main reasons Knott's Berry Farm exists today. Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant is located outside the park at the California Marketplace. The restaurant has just recently been renovated and has an old West feel with modern touches. There are several different dining areas, each with their own characteristics.

On the menu, go for the fried chicken dinner. For starters choose between chicken noodle soup or cherry rhubarb and as sides pick from corn or cabbage & ham. Plus you get biscuits, a salad, mashed potatoes, and of course fried chicken. Dessert is included, and you would be amiss not to order the boysenberry pie. It's a lot of food, so it's always nice to end the day with dinner here. Also, the extra order of mac and cheese is worth ordering - cheesy, gooey, and with a nice crust.

Boysenberry Mojito

Biscuits with butter, preserves, and boysenberry butter.

Perfectly executed fried chicken.

We're all about being à la mode with this boysenberry pie and a side of vanilla ice cream.

Carne Asada Fries at Fiesta Village

For a quick stop to eat at Fiesta Village, go for Papa Loca. They have everything french fries, including garlic fires, chili cheese fries, sweet potato fries, volcano fries, and my favorite, carne asada fries. Savory and well marinated carne asada on top of cheese fries then topped with guacamole, sour cream, (and we added jalapeños). They're right up there with any taco shop serving these tasty Mexican style meat and potatoes. 

Funnel Cake With Boysenberry and Vanilla Ice Cream

Reminds me of the fair but better. You can find a couple places in Ghost Town serving this beautifully fried sweet dessert. It's standard with powdered sugar, but go big with vanilla soft serve and a fruit topping - I suggest boysenberry, the Knott's Berry Farm staple. 

Boysenberry adds the perfect amount of dark berry flavor to this funnel cake.

Pick up a jar of boysenberry jam at the Knott's Marketplace.