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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

HARD ROCK CAFE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
ORLANDO, FLORIDA

We have visited Hard Rock Cafes all over the world including Europe, Asia, Australia, Hawaii and of course, in the continental U.S.  We've only reviewed the one in London, because it is the original and another one in Tokyo to point out that they are all similar but different.  This is only our third Hard Rock review and here's why.  This is the biggest Hard Rock we've ever seen anywhere in the world.  And we got to talking to our waiter, who was excellent, about the future of Hard Rock Cafes under their new ownership and found his comments interesting.  More on that later.  But first, the food and drink.


Sign at night -- huge but it's hard to tell from this shot.  Oh well...

Ironically this is only the second time we've ever eaten dinner at a Hard Rock.  They've all been lunches other than the one in Kuala Lumpur, where we did enjoy a nice dinner.  We were surprised by the large menu featured for dinner in Orlando.

This Hard Rock is on "restaurant row" at the entrance to Universal Studios and the area is choked with tourists.  One can hardly move.  The outside of this HRC looks like the old Coliseum in Rome.  And there's a Hard Rock Live venue for concerts next to the restaurant.

We were thirsty after spending an entire hot, summer afternoon at SeaWorld and the boys immediately ordered 24 ounce beers (Heineken on tap) and the girls ordered unsweetened ice teas.

We started out with nachos and spring rolls for appetizers.  We've had each at numerous HRCs around the world and these measured up nicely.

For our mains, our vegetarian son-in-law chose his favorite here---the veggie burger.  I got a ten ounce S.O.B. Burger (that stands for South of the Border).  My wife got beef brisket and our daughter had a burger.  Our three delightful grandkids got mac & cheese and most of wound up in their mouths and not on the floor.  My, they are growing up so quickly!


Of course, they had to have a pink Cadillac inside!

Those of us who ordered burgers got a big surprise.  They were char grilled, something we have not seen at any other HRCs and they were---by far---the best burger we've ever had at a Hard Rock.  Mine was cooked medium just as I ordered it and it came with a spicy seasoning and guacamole.  Delicious!

Now more about the waiter and the interesting conversation we had with him.  He commented on the In-Bev purchase of Anheuser Busch and how In-Bev, based in Belgium, would probably screw it up and drive the American giant brewer right into the ground.  We've heard from some "insiders" at Budweiser that they are just sick over the sell-out and what Bud's future will hold.  In view of that situation, I asked him if he thought the new owners of the Hard Rock Cafe empire---the Seminole Tribe---would screw it up.  He paused for a moment and then gave us the following thoughts:  "Well they want to make it less rocky.  They've told servers to get rid of the piercings, spiked hair, tattoos and so forth.  At first we were worried because when you think about it, that's exactly what customers expect to see when they come to a Hard Rock.  But managers from the old regime at corporate headquarters have told the Seminoles that they should keep it rocking.  Personally, I'm not worried.  We're gonna keep wearing our piercing, hair and tats.  Screw 'em if they want to fire us."

Note to the new Hard Rock owners.  Hard Rock is hard rock.  Please don't try to take the rock out of Hard Rock!  Would Shula's Steak House, for instance, take steak off the menu?  Duh!!!!!!!!  Please don't screw it up!

The Orlando Universal Hard Rock Cafe web site is located here.  Go and enjoy it!