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It’s the most underrated meal of all meals! Lunch always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to ranking the best mealtimes, for most it usually falls somewhere after second dinner, and before nothing else. However, is there something good about sitting down for lunch at Disney World? We’re going to investigate that in our Hollywood Brown Derby review. Let’s slip into our best garb (ie Disney T-shirt) and head out for a glamorous lunch date at Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby!

Dining room at the Hollywood Brown Derby

Location

At the end of Hollywood Boulevard, in the shadows of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, is Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby. For years we’ve raved about their outdoor lounge, and on our last trip, we stepped inside for the first time. We know, right? How has it taken us this long to sit down for a meal? To be honest, we’re lounge people by nature. It’s hard to beat that shaded patio. But, curiosity captured us, so we made an ADR to sit down for lunch. Plus, what kind of bloggers would we be if we didn’t? Exactly!

Stepping foot into the Hollywood Brown Derby for the first time was like stepping back in history. From the decor to the ambiance, it was like we were immersed in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Vintage 1940. Immediately we felt like we should have been wearing a fedora in the best way possible. Keeping our head on a swivel, to take it all in, of course, we noticed the nuances. The celebrity signature book in the front, the caricatures on the walls, and most importantly the large half-circle booths, where all big wigs would dine.

Grapefruit Martini at the Hollywood Brown Derby

A Classic Start

Two martini lunch anyone? Don’t mind if we do. It’s vacation after all! The Hollywood Brown Derby cocktail list is a who’s who of both classic cocktails and different twist on them. For the first round of our two martini lunch we went with the Derby Cocktail (hold the glow cube, we’re not flashy people LOL) and the grapefruit cake martini. Classic to say the least, created at the Vendôme Bar in Hollywood, California in 1930 the Derby Cocktail combines three of our all-time favorite, whiskey, grapefruit juice, and honey. This no so sweet, perfectly tangy cocktail is classy yet refreshing. The honey helps tone down the traditionally tart tang of the grapefruit juice. Not to be out down is the dessert in a cup or better known as the grapefruit cake martini. Rich and creamy, it’s as if they took their infamous dessert, put it in a blender, and served it in a glass. With a graham cracker rim of course. Yes, it’s as good as you’re imagining.

It wouldn’t be a two martini lunch without a second round, right? Our next round of drinks included another Derby Cocktail, we did say it was a favorite combination of ours and a Sidecar. Served over ice, the Sidecar combines cognac, orange liquor, and fresh lemon juice for a simple, yet delightful cocktail. To offset the tartness of the cocktail, the drink is served with a sugar rim.

Shrimp Cocktail at the Hollywood Brown Derby

Alongside our cocktails, we split a classic app, the shrimp cocktail. Growing up in the Northeast, we tend to be a little picky when it comes to seafood. Which makes us even more excited to give the shrimp cocktail two tails up. Four plump, juicy, shrimp are served with a slightly spicy cocktail sauce and lightly dressed slaw. This is by far the best shrimp dish we’ve had at Walt Disney World.

Cobb Salad at the Hollywood Brown Derby

The Salad

Can we say we went to the Hollywood Brown Derby if we didn’t have the salad? Arguably, the most famous dish of the restaurant is the cobb salad. It was invented by the restaurant’s original proprietor, Bob Cobb, after all. Served tableside, when the cobb salad arrived our server both split the salad and tossed it for us. A very nice touch, and something you don’t when you order the salad at the lounge.

This is a salad for anyone that teeters on the edge of enjoying a salad. Freshly shredded lettuce is mixed with blue cheese, bacon, hard-boiled egg, avocado, tomato, and roasted turkey, then finished with the famous dressing and topped with chives. The dressing makes the dish. We’ve had many cobb salads in our time, but none could stand up to the original. When discussing what was different with this version, it was clearly the dressing, followed closely by the roasted turkey. The turkey is spit-roasted, which turns the flavor up a notch or two.

Definitely a salad to split as an app or enjoy as a meal.

Wagu Burger at Hollywood Brown Derby

Main Course

We chose lunch for a reason. Besides being a great way to take an in-park break from the heat. There is a dish on the lunch menu that’s not on the dinner menu. The burger. Now, this is no ordinary burger. With this being a fine dining establishment, it’s nothing but the best. For us, all great burgers start with the patty. It looks like the Hollywood Brown Derby agrees. The patty is made from Wagu Beef, or otherwise known as American Kobe beef. It has a richer, stronger beef flavor than traditional ground beef. It made for a fantastic burger base. Topping our burger was Gruyere cheese, pastrami, a fried egg, and a slice of heirloom tomato. All this is served in a buttery Brioche bun.

Most of the time, we’re not fans of an egg on a burger. It’s usually “too much” for us. However, in this delicate take on a burger, it worked. Oh, did it work! Upon the first bite, our mouths were bursting with rich flavors from the beef, saltiness from the pastrami, and tang from cheese. It was a burger that needed no ketchup or mustard, as the egg yolk acted as the condiment. If you’re looking to treat yourself to an upscale burger, this is the one!

No burger is complete with fries. This burger was served with thick hand-cut fries. Extra crispy in texture, they stood up well to the richness of the burger.

It should be noted that the burger is only on the lunch menu at the Hollywood Brown Derby. However, in speaking with our server, you can order it for dinner.

Our Thoughts

It’s being added to the rotation! We all have a rotation of our favorite, must-do every time restaurants. After sitting down for lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby, it’s definitely going on the list. Now, this may be the two martini lunch talking, but top to bottom, from cocktail to the main course, the restaurant is delivering a high-quality dining experience. For us, it’s the best food we’ve found in Hollywood Studios, and with the burger not being an option at the lounge, even more of a reason to enjoy lunch. A tip of the fedora to the Hollywood Brown Derby for making lunch no longer underrated! 

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