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Feb 7, 2012
Richmond, VA
The KD vs. BGW thread has inspired me to rank my top 5 favorite places to eat at Kings Dominion. I have not been to Bistro 75 yet so I cannot include that.

1. Border Café - Best Dish: Nachos
Easy pick for me. Crowds are always light here towards the middle of the day because nobody wants to walk back to the front of the park to eat lunch. The food here is always made fresh which is very nice. There are plenty of options and you can pick exactly what you want.

2. Pizza Parlor - Best Dish: Pepperoni Pizza
DISCLAIMER: I have not been to this restaurant since it was rebranded as Pizza Parlor. Working at the park earlier this year has kept me from experiencing all of the changes in dining. I'll be reviewing this from when it was Tower Pizza.
The hand tossed pizza here is fantastic. The crust bubbles up nicely. They have some different stuff here, but you can't go wrong with simply getting two slices of pepperoni pizza. Probably the best pizza I've had at a theme park. The pizza at Victoria Pizza is not the same! It is inferior!

3. Country Kitchen - Best Dish: Barbecue Sandwich Dinner
Being that all of the food prices have been bolstered this year, Country Kitchen offers a the most food for your money whether you have a meal deal or not.

4. Juke Box Diner - Best Dish: Bacon Cheeseburger
If you want a burger, you have to go here. The rest of the restaurants at the park serve up the same frozen garbage that they have been for years. In 2012, this restaurant switched over to fresh, never-frozen hamburgers. It's been a while since I've had one, but I recall it being pretty good. You get crinkle cut fries with these so it's all good.

5. Outer Hanks - Best Dish: N/A
So this is totally embarrassing. I've been to Outer Hanks many times over the years, but I can honestly only recall ever getting the chicken tender platter. I don't think it's fair for me to make a call on the best dish if I've literally only had one. I love the atmosphere here and the booths are super comfortable. I'll probably get the fish & chips next time I'm here.
I have never eaten at Wayside Grill but I hear it is the best place for burgers in the park. Also, Hungry Hippo has a mean chicken sandwich and a great fixin's bar.
I've been to wayside and from what I can tell they have the same burgers as hungry hippo. I will agree with you about the chicken sandwich though, it is very good
This is my first year with the season dining plan and as someone who had previously not regularly eaten at the park I have struggled to find the ultimate dining spot. Previously, my favorite restaurant in the park was Country Kitchen, however, due to the reduction in menu items and a flat out disappointing experience on opening weekend I haven’t returned since. I’ve only dabbled around a little bit in the non chain restaurants as they appear to be closed or lacking in food quality. So far this season I’ve tried:
  • Panda Express
  • Country Kitchen
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Boardwalk Fries
  • Wayside Grill
  • Victoria’s Pizza
What are some of the best places to eat and what are some of the best hidden gem dishes scattered around the park? I wasn’t sure if this was the best place to post this, but knowing the combined knowledge of food at Kings Dominion with everyone here on the forums this looked like a good starting point.

Edit: Probably should’ve emphasized this, but I’m more so referring to places that are on the dining plan. Nonetheless, I appreciate the thoughts regarding other establishments.
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The new chef is making some great changes, I think.

The new mac and cheese place (where Dinner Bell used to be) has been been good, when I've gone there. I'm not sure it is a great option in the heat through.

The pizza on International Street is much better than Victoria's.

The shakes at Jukebox are new and very good, in my opinion.

Borders (or whatever it is called now) is always a good option, as well. I think they (unfortunately) got rid of their breakfast menu, however.

Dole Whip, of course, is always good.

We enjoyed the food at Outer Hanks, as well when we tried it this year.

Finally, I think they have the best funnel cake in the region.
Country Kitchen has reclaimed its spot as my favorite restaurant with the addition of the pot roast - the serving size is massive, and the meat is savory and tender. I like the choice of two homecooked sides (beans, mashed potatoes, macaroni, etc.) instead of generic fries like at every other restaurant, and each meal also comes with a biscuit.

The Mac Bowl also deserves all the praise it gets, in my opinion. If you don't have the dining plan, the portion size might be too small for the $14 investment, but with the plan, it's a unique, rich, and tasty dish you can't get anywhere else. You can load up your bowl with all the fixin's you want (although they now limit you to one protein), and it's a filling, ooey gooey meal that seems more at home at a trendy downtown specialty diner than a theme park.

Border Burrito lacks the variety that its predecessor, Border Cafe, had, serving only burritos, burrito bowls, and salads, but it has made up for the smaller menu with better quality food. The new pulled barbacoa beef is INCREDIBLE and the pulled pork is a cut above what you would expect at Chipotle or any other Mexican restaurant. The new Spanish rice is also delicious. I like to make a taco salad in a fried tortilla bowl and load it up; it's filling, tasty, and fresher than most of the park's fried-food-saturated restaurants.

Pizza Parlor used to be one of my favorite restaurants, but it's been hit-and-miss this year. Some days, the pizza slices are fresh, large, and clearly handmade with a delicate, seasoned dough. Other days, it tastes like something you'd order from Domino's. No idea why the quality is so spotty this year.

Hungry Hippo and Juke Box Diner both got some specialty burgers this year. Hungry Hippo has a Mushroom Swiss burger and a turkey burger, Juke Box has a bacon-filled Twisted Timbers burger, and both have veggie burgers. My friend told me he liked the Twisted Timbers burger, but I thought Hungry Hippo's Mushroom Swiss burger was garbage - just a regular below-average hamburger with a square of processed white cheese and half a dozen tiny mushroom slices. The veggie burger is refreshing though; it has a nice spice to it.

You said you've tried Wayside Grill, and I still love the taste of the brisket sandwich there, but you'd need a magnifying glass to see their tiny portions.

I remember really liking the loaded nachos at Surfer Joe's in Soak City last year, as they were huge and full of filling toppings, but I have no idea if they're as good or on the dining plan this year.

I have heard the crab cake sliders at Outer Hank's are really good, but I haven't tried them personally.

Also a word of warning, stay away from Sharky's in Soak City. Not only is the menu the most generic in the entire park, but the food quality is consistently atrocious. The only time I have ever gotten sick on food at KD is from the rancid hamburger I got at Sharky's.

Overall, the food quality at KD seems to have improved at most (not all) of the park's restaurants this year, but in the future I would like to see more variety.
Hungry Hippo and Juke Box Diner both got some specialty burgers this year. Hungry Hippo has a Mushroom Swiss burger and a turkey burger, Juke Box has a bacon-filled Twisted Timbers burger, and both have veggie burgers. My friend told me he liked the Twisted Timbers burger, but I thought Hungry Hippo's Mushroom Swiss burger was garbage - just a regular below-average hamburger with a square of processed white cheese and half a dozen tiny mushroom slices.

My experience with the Twisted Timbers burger was the same as you had with your Mushroom Swiss burger—absolute garbage.

The paddy on the one I tried was dry and completely flavorless. The onion rings left a lot to be desired flavor and texture-wise as well. I doubt I'll be giving it another shot.
When I went to Outer Hanks I thought the fries were terrible, very chewy. The shrimp was far better than before though, excellent, though stingy in quantity. The hush puppy was good, but there was only one. Hippo's fries were good, but I'm only considering trying the Juke Box burger due to those saying it's different.

I haven't tried the Pizza Parlor this year, and I'm not sure it sounds good from your descriptions. In the past, good slices of pizza from there have not been "large", when they do that it's undercooked. mushy and gross. The few times it was thin (at least partially) it was amazing with a very thin crispy layer on the bottom of the crust.

I've eaten at Panda's more than anywhere else this year because I can't rely on Country Kitchen being open by the time I got down there. Last year they stayed open until close almost every day, before that they had an hours sign, now there's neither. Twice I've circled back past a closed Mac Bowl and ended up at Chic Fil A.
The pot roast at CK was OK, but looked bad so having twice as much as I could eat was not a favor.

I had a bad reaction to Mac Bowl and then getting stapled on I305. I don't think anything was wrong with it except greasy and huge, but I haven't been back.

Overall I find the changes a mixed bag, except for one thing: I haven't seen any of the amazing cole slaw. The little bit you get at Wayside is generic and CK hasn't had any with the loss of BBQ. This was the single most overachieving item (yes it's just cole slaw, but wow) in the entire park (although I'd estimate only one out of fifty actually got it). This, along with the closed restaurants and trying to eat better, is making me reconsider the dining plan for next year, despite the bargain it is for me. Even as it is, sometimes I choose to ride instead of use my limited time there for eating.
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