Unless you have a screaming seven-year-old on summer break in your house, you may not be aware that Disneyland’s California Adventure Park opened a whole new theme park called Cars Land this morning named, rather unimaginatively, for the rather unimaginatively titled movie Cars. With new real estate comes new food options, of course, which are mostly all themed after side-of-the-road vintage juke joints, service stations, ice cream parlors, and diners here. But today also sees the debut of a fancy new restaurant named Carthay Circle designed, as you can see above, as a recreation of L.A.’s long-gone, legendary movie palace, Carthay Circle Theater, that once stood as a centerpiece of Mid-City San Vicente where Snow White saw its premiere.
Sadly, while Hollywood’s golden era is being rekindled at Disneyland, only a small percentage of modern-day Angelenos know the name, still suggested by street signs as you approach Little Ethiopia.
The seasonal SoCal cuisine here was created by Napa Rose chef Andrew Sutton and his chef de cuisine, Gloria Tae, in a menu broken down into sections like “bites,” “snacks,” “small plates,” and “finger desserts.” There are duck confit sliders with apricot preserves, grilled yellowtail with jerk spice, udon with a Thai red curry broth, and Angus burgers, as well as kiddie menus, naturally.
The restaurant features three distinct sections geared towards three tastes, with a lounge and wine bar downstairs for casual guests looking to get their swerve on, a dining room upstairs for more formal affairs, and a clandestine dining room for elite members of Club 33, that fancy cabal of Disney fanatics we heard about last month.
As for wine, the restaurant is boasting that it is the first on earth with 92 sommeliers, as a large number of staff here passed the level one test to become certified wine pros. The program, as to be expected from a Napa Rose-related team, will have 250 bottles and 30 wines by the glass.
But we’re really interested in the history being revived here and to that end, Carthay Circle’s Spanish-style edifice is certainly a captivating memento on the outside, while inside the second-floor, 200-seat white linen restaurant, there is custom woodwork and tiles and a massive atrium skylight; downstairs, a wine bar and lobby lounge detailing the history of Carthay Circle and Disney Studios through photos and artifacts. The whole design is meant to evoke pride in Hollywood history and the restaurant revels in the promise of artifacts that are yet to be seen.
The restaurant opened for a sneak preview held exclusively for such distinguished Cars thespians as Edie McClurg and Larry the Cable Guy, and today makes it grand-debut to the public in Anaheim. Believe it or not, Carthay Circle Restaurant is already booked more or less through June, but may be taking walk-ins. See the full lunch and dinner menus online.