Chicken Breast Nuggets @ Stage Door Cafe

Price: $9.49

When: October 27, 2015, 2:50 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Recommended

The Stage Door Cafe is a quick-service restaurant located in Frontierland. It’s fairly small, and easy to miss – it’s located between the Golden Horseshoe and the River Belle Terrace, and has no dedicated seating. (If you want a table, you’ll need to steal one from the River Belle’s outdoor arrangements.)

The Stage Door serves a very limited menu: fish and chips, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, funnel cake … and that’s about it.

I went for the nuggets.

First up: these are officially called “chicken breast nuggets.” Presumably, this means they’re made with a specific, singular part of the chicken, rather than aggregated, in-the-plural chicken parts. The dish comes with apples or fries, as well as a dipping sauce (ranch, honey mustard, barbecue, marinara, or Buffalo hot sauce).

When ordering, you have the choice of going nuggets-only, which means skipping the fries or apple slices. I don’t know how much this saves, dollar-wise, but it’s nice to have the option.

I was between meal services, so things were slow. I stole a River Belle table, sat down, and enjoyed some first-class people-watching along the Rivers of America.

In terms of presentation, this dish is the epitome of theme park food. It’s eight or so nuggets under a thin layer of French fries, served in a paper basket and topped with two plastic containers of barbecue sauce. Stylistically, there are clones of this dish being served at every theme park in the country. If you have a Six Flags or a Great America or a Silverwood near you … you know this dish.

The nuggets themselves? Not bad. The meat is good quality and flavorful (score one for the “chicken breast” decision), they’re not over-breaded, and they’re not over-cooked or over-fried. They work.

The BBQ sauce is standard-issue, Kraft BBQ sauce. This is somewhat comforting (every park in the known universe serves this exact. same. sauce.), but also a missed opportunity for Disney to differentiate. So a push, on balance.

The fries, of course, continue to be meh. Disney doesn’t really put much effort into their fries, and I’m genuinely stumped as to why. (Sidebar: I may have to start a project to find the Best Fries At Disneyland.)

But you know what? I recommend this. It’s a dish that knows exactly what it is, is totally unpretentious, and is executed at the exact right level for its prospective customer. If you’ve got the itch for nuggets, this will scratch it for you. It’s not fancy and it’s not over-designed – it’s just straightforward, generic, deep-fried theme park food for under ten bucks. Not everything needs to be Lobster Pad Thai Imperial Rolls or Ahi Poke, right?

If you’re in the mood for this, it’ll do ya. And if you’re not … well, that’s why we’re doing this blog!