Downtown Disney is in the midst of a makeover at Disneyland Resort and now the company has released more details on what’s to come! With the entertainment district focused largely on shopping and dining, the area is set to add four new quick options for guests to eat at. In this post, we’ll share the details of this addition and add in a little bit of commentary! Let’s start with the news.
Plans are underway for Parkside Market, a new, curated collection of diverse culinary concepts brought to life by Levy, with all four offerings under one roof as part of the expansion on the west end. Here’s what’s in store!
- Seoul Sister is a fast-casual modern eatery that will serve a Korean-forward menu based on bibimbap (Korean rice bowls) with a California twist. Executive Chef Kelly Kim will showcase bold Korean flavors through marinated meats, colorful vegetables and savory sauces over rice, noodles or salad, plus appetizers, an Asian-inspired breakfast menu, and hand-crafted drinks.
- Sip & Sonder, from founders Amanda-Jane Thomas and Shanita Nicholas, is a Black women-owned brand that has been recognized as one of the best cafés in L.A. by the Los Angeles Times. Guests in the district can expect to enjoy Sip & Sonder’s signature lattes, as well as fresh treats, frozen drinks and Caribbean-inspired bites.
- GG’s Chicken Shop, from Boka Restaurant Group, was founded by James Beard Award-winning restaurateurs Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm, alongside Michelin Star Chef Partner Lee Wolen. Affectionately named after Wolen’s mother Geri, the shop will serve a family-friendly menu of chicken sandwiches, salads, and classic dinner table sides. The first brick-and-mortar GG’s Chicken Shop opened earlier this year in Chicago and this new location in Downtown Disney District will be its first on the West Coast.
- A second story bar will be an al fresco spot offering great views to sip signature craft cocktails and mocktails from mixologists who infuse, muddle, stir, shake and swizzle the freshest mixes using local ingredients and artful garnishes. Refreshing selections will include frozen lemonades, frozés, espresso martinis, shareable cocktails and spirit-free elixirs.
Later this year, Downtown Disney will open a new stage and lawn for special events, activities, musical entertainment and more on the west end of the district. In this brand-new area, you’ll also be able to see a soaring new sculptural tower designed by Nikkolas Smith. This new tower will pay tribute to the sublime work of pioneering architects of color in Southern California during the mid-20th century with unique geometric patterns in the sculpture, evoking the famed mid-century buildings they created. We look forward to this beautiful new outdoor space!
Future plans for the district will also bring Din Tai Fung, a world-renowned Chinese restaurant known for its soup dumplings and noodles, plus masterful Mexican cuisine by Michelin-starred Chef Carlos Gaytán at Paseo and Céntrico, and the popular California-Cuban cheese rolls and pastries to come from Porto’s Bakery and Cafe.
A stage and live entertainment is a great addition, especially considering that the current stage in this area is in the way of the walking path and this should open things up more. A sculpture to go along with it should bring some character to an area that’s been fairly dumbed down recently. We’ll withhold final judgment on that when it opens in the next few months. Those aren’t the headliners of the news though.
Downtown Disney has a pretty abysmal food lineup currently, especially when it comes to quick spots. Seeing them jump aboard the food hall craze that’s sweeping big cities, even if this is a smaller space, just makes sense. And that’s without considering the quality of the food that’s being offered.
Levy, the group that is adding this space, has worked in the fast casual space in a number of places including many stadiums throughout the world. That should help with the production of this and then hopefully the restaurants will speak for themselves, as the little blurbs sound promising.
It’s hard to see this as anything but good news. This is filling a gigantic void in Downtown Disney, as the only quick options that offer actual meals are Black Tap, Napolini or Tortilla Joe’s Cantina. There’s nothing wrong with any of those places, in fact I’ve had good meals there. But I don’t find them all that enticing and the options are so limited.
I have questions about the design and aesthetic of all of these places and will have to wait and see on that aspect. But Downtown Disney is busy, even when the parks are not. Adding more space is a no brainer and counter-service spots will immediately make the dining scene more diverse. Here’s hoping that they’re good!
Are you excited for these additions? Let us know, along with any thoughts you have, in the comments below! Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide here. Need tickets to Disneyland? We’ve got discounted options here! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!