On Tuesday Zachary and I had the opportunity to speak with representatives from the Culinary and Entertainment Departments at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Although there has been a lot of attention focused recently on InvadR, the park’s new wooden roller coaster, BGW has also been working on new restaurants and shows in the off-season.
Our first interview was with Franz Kitenko, Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Vice President of Culinary. We discussed the new restaurant, as well as changes elsewhere.
The park’s latest culinary addition, Les Frites, elevates French fries from their status as a popular side item to a full and flavorful entrée. According to the restaurant’s backstory, Pierre LesFrites, a retired Belgian race car driver, has decided to open a shop that serves “fresh cut fries.” A refurbished Le Mans Raceway car, which has been modified with a flatbed to haul potatoes will sit out front. The queue will run past Pierre’s workbench, mechanic’s peg boards, and steel beams. Guests will notice small theming touches like oil stains on the concrete floors, as well.
Les Frites will be housed in the old La Grande Glace storefront in Aquitaine. Although the space is still small, the single queue has been rerouted to run past the new, open kitchen. Potatoes will be cut, blanched, and fried to order. Guests will then be able to pick their toppings from a variety of internationally-inspired options. According to Franz, guests will choose between an entree bowl of fries with toppings, or a Belgian-style, newspaper-wrapped cone of pommes frites.
Opening on Pass Holder Preview Day (March 18th), Les Frites will also serve apple fritters for dessert, draft beers, and soft drinks. Below we’ve included the full animated menu that will be displayed inside the restaurant.
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Next, Franz shared the new La Cucina menu with us. He said that BGW updated this restaurant both to increase quality and to allow guests to personalize their pizzas as much as possible. La Cucina will be opening with its new menu this Saturday.
The park has replaced the old ovens with new equipment that bakes pizzas to order in less than two minutes. Guests will start with a personal seven-inch pie. They will be able to choose among the standard options in the menu below, or customize with their own set of toppings. The pizzas with then be baked, while patrons visit the salad and pasta bars.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg may add an Asian Sampler to the Marco Polo menu. Franz said the restaurant has been very successful, and the new dish is based on a suggestion they received from one of their employees.
We also asked if there would be any specialty foods to accompany the opening of InvadR. Franz told us to look for a new snack cart near the coaster’s exit. He also said that the park will now sell beer and turkey legs at the newly renovated booth in front of Trading Post. The park is also hoping to introduce a “Thor’s Hammer-inspired” pork chop to match InvadR’s viking theme.
I am personally very interested in both Les Frites and the updated La Cucina menu. Franz emphasized to us repeatedly BGW’s goal of making in-park dining as customizable as possible. This trend, which started with Josephine’s and Marco Polo’s “make your own cannoli station” is even more obvious in his descriptions of the new fry shop in Aquitaine and the re-imagined pizza place in Festa Italia. While patrons can order directly off the menu, they are also encouraged to design their own meals from a wide variety of internationally-inspired options.