than those for the
roller coasters, gaping at people panning for gold in the theme park, a
jovial and jesting Mr. Musich, and leisurely walks through the gift
shops after dinner. But what I remember the most are the buttermilk
biscuits: warm, pillowy, and oh-so-dreamy.
Later, as I got older,
I came to Mrs. Knott's with new friends and came away with new memories.
Mrs. Knott's Chicken
Dinner Restaurant has humble beginnings. In 1934, in the midst of the
Great Depression, Knott's Berry Farm was still just a berry farm. On
the side of State Route 39, it was a popular place to stop on the way
to and from the beach. Mrs. Cordelia Knott, being the enterprising
woman that she was, began serving fried chicken on her good china to
those passing through.
Today, Mrs. Knott's is
still going strong, serving about one million guests per year.
Architecturally, it has become a hodgepodge of unique dining rooms (my
favorite is what I call the garden room). Over the years, as the number
of diners increased, Knott's had to add room after room to accommodate
them. Yesterday, I ate in one of the front rooms. This particular
dining room is almost austere. The old-fashioned lamps and wood
furniture truly evoke the era of the restaurant's founding.
What I ate: 1) Mrs.
Knott's Famous Fried Chicken Dinner Lunch Version (12.50 USD, photo
below) - house salad with choice of dressing, buttermilk biscuits,
braised cabbage with ham, two pieces of fried chicken, and mashed
potatoes with gravy. 2) Boysenberry Punch (2.95 USD)
Starting with the
salad, it was your run-of-the-mill iceberg salad. Unfortunately, it
turned out to be worse than ordinary because it was swimming in blue
cheese dressing - ugh! Beware the cook with a heavy hand!
Moving on, the
buttermilk biscuits were great, just as good as I've always remembered
them to be. They are delicious without butter, but, hey, when you have
Challenge-brand butter at the table, you go for it. I also like eating
the biscuits with a generous spread of Knott's Boysenberry Jelly.
The fried chicken was
enjoyable. Biting into the breast, I could immediately tell that it was
brined before frying. What a difference brining makes! As a result, the
breast was moist through and through.
Boysenberry Punch was refreshing. Why aren't they selling this stuff in
The food at Mrs.
Knott's is not haute cuisine. If you're looking for something to blow
your mind, you're expecting too much. The food is very simple, using
old recipes and locked in a distinct time period, which I'm thankful
There is some free
two-hour parking in the spaces lining the street that passes through
Knott's Berry Farm (pay careful attention to the signs). If you make a
left just past the TGI Friday's, you can enter a gated parking lot
where you can park for three hours free ($4 every half-hour thereafter).
If you're not in the
mood to sit down and eat at Knott's, they sell chicken for takeout next
door to the restaurant in the space shared with the bakery.
I missed the pie. Don't
miss the pie!
The Bill: 16.80 USD
out of four stars (very good). This restaurant means a lot to me.
Last Word: I hope
that I'll be eating at Mrs. Knott's for many more years to come. This
restaurant is a rare heritage that should never see its demise so that
future generations can experience it and continue making memories.