Helllllo from Hollywood! Today we are bringing you a super fun review from the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is the patio off of the signature restaurant, The Hollywood Brown Derby. There aren’t any reservations — seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. While you can order anything off of the Brown Derby menu, the Lounge has its own unique menu of tapas and cocktails. We love the Drink Trios, which allow you to try three mini martinis or margaritas at once!
But today, we are taking a bite into three signature dishes. Each item we are reviewing was originally created at the Brown Derby in California — the one that the Hollywood Brown Derby in Walt Disney World was modeled after. We thought this would be a fun way to enjoy an afternoon on the leisurely patio!
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge doesn’t have the black and white caricatures that the full restaurant is known for, but it does have an awesome view for people watching and enjoying the park atmosphere!
The seating is a collection of high-tops and circular tables and chairs, complete with welcomed umbrellas. Seating can be a bit crammed during peak-meal times, so we suggest going in between lunch and dinner for a seat and a nosh.
Upon entering the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, you’ll see a full bar. This is great if you can’t score a seat or you’d like to simply walk-up for a drink to go!
But for food, you’ll need a table. Which we grabbed and got to ordering our three signature dishes!
As stated before, you can order off the entire Hollywood Brown Derby Menu on the patio, or you can nosh on the tapas sized dishes specifically available at the lounge.
Not too long ago, we dug into some of these unique offerings and fell in LOVE in a few items. You can read our review here.
But for today we had that specific mission in mind: enjoying the three iconic Brown Derby originals which include the Cobb Salad, the Shirley Temple, and the Grapefruit Cake.
First up, was a refreshing mocktail: The Shirley Temple.
Now, according to several articles, the Shirley Temple — ginger ale and grenadine topped with maraschino cherries — may have been invented at Chasen’s, a West Hollywood bar, for then-child-actor Shirley Temple. But Brown Derby also claims the credit for the drink, and Temple herself does quote that the Brown Derby probably popularized the “saccharine sweet, icky drink” that she hates in the mid-1930s.
There isn’t anything particularly special about a Shirley Temple at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, as compared to anywhere else, but it is fun to have one where it originated (kinda). Plus, the bartender did put a glow cube in my drink, which is always fun! A Shirley Temple is pretty sweet, but also refreshing, and still a winner with kids (and adults) of all ages. And grown ups — if you want to take it to the next level, ask for a “Dirty Shirley.” Your bartender will splash some vodka or rum into the mix, which will cut the sweetness and make it even more fun. 😉
Next up, the famous Cobb Salad. This was created as a late night snack for Sid Grauman (of Grauman’s Chinese Theater), where Chef Robert Cobb finely chopped and tossed together a bunch of remaining ingredients. And VOILA! It was a hit with Grauman who continued to request it, and eventually it made its way onto the menu.
This is an appetizer size of the salad (though the full-size is on the full menu), but it still has all the components. The Brown Derby Cobb Salad is made up of Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives and Cobb Dressing.
All of the produce is nice and fresh, and there’s a perfect balance between the blue cheese, avocado, bacon and other toppings. The dressing is light and adds good flavor, without being too acidic or overwhelming.
This salad is so delicious — you can certainly tell why it’s famous! It’s even earned its own custom presentation board. Too cute!!
Last but not least, Grapefruit Cake! This was invented for a famous gossip columnist who was on the trendy “grapefruit diet” and requested a dessert that would fit on her diet.
I’m pretty sure there is nothing healthy about this dessert, considering it’s a Chantilly cake with cream cheese frosting, but it is light and delicious. The Chantilly cake is moist and not overly sweet thanks to the grapefruit, and the frosting has the perfect zest of citrus.
It’s certainly a more unusual dessert than your typical cakes, and we recommend trying it if for no other reason than it’s legendary!
The Grapefruit Cake comes as a choice on the dessert trio menu, so naturally we just HAD to sample two other desserts on our stop. Sometimes life is tough, right? 😉 We selected the Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberries and the Banana Toffee Cake.
The Lemon Cheesecake was quite tasty, with the cake itself being moist and not overwhelmingly rich. The blueberry sauce added a nice sweetness that balanced the tartness of the lemon.
The Banana Toffee Cake was recommended to us by our server, and it was also a hit, flavor wise. Just be warned — it is VERY banana-y so if you don’t care for bananas, this one is not for you. Our only criticism is we wished the toffee cake had a bigger crunch, as the entire dish is basically the same consistency.
As with previous visits, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge remains a great place to grab an upscale nosh and cocktail, and spend a few minutes relaxing during a hectic theme park day. We had fun ordering the “Brown Derby Originals,” which proved once again why they’ve been popular choices for the last 80+ years. And we’ve been wow-ed by newer options such as those to-die-for shrimp and cocktail trios.
The food on the patio may be more expensive than your average bar food, but it’s certainly upscale in flavor and atmosphere. This is one of the rare places in a Disney park where you can truly indulge in signature level bites and relax outside, and for that reason, we love the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge. We will be back! I’m already dreaming of eating that salad again.
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