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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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“…We’re a Household Name”

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 @ 04:03 PM
Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0ObZNylkMM&feature=related

I’m pretty sure if you have been living on this planet for the last decade or more you know that scene fairly well.  I mean, when the topic of shrimp comes up, those phrases are typically uttered by someone or another…, well at least I know they have been if you hang around me.  All kinds of shrimp have been longtime staples at any seafood restaurant around the country, however, with the release of "Forrest Gump" in 1994, it brought about a whole new wave in the world of restaurants that focus on this tiny sea crustacean…quite literally!

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opened in 1996 in Monterey, CA, and with the popularity of the movie the restaurant is strictly modeled after, it has quickly grown to more than 45 locations both here and abroad; and although seafood restaurants of all types abound around the country, where this one stands apart is not only do they serve great food, but they have a theme that is fun for all ages that they’ve run freely with…just like Forrest. Winking smile

Now I will admit, themed restaurants of any type can often be a bit too over the top and even too cheesy for me. Also, it is typically not great on the food front.  However, where Bubba Gump’s differs is that although it is definitely theme heavy, it is so fun and interactive that the entire time it is hard not to enjoy the experience; and on top of the fun factor, the food is actually REALLY good…, so much better than one would ever expect from a themed joint.  We have even been to quite a number of Bubba Gump’s locations and the food has been great each and every time.

So although we have eaten at Bubba Gump’s many a time, we know we like it so much that we planned another visit for our trip to Orlando last October, and also because we knew we needed to really document it for PCC.  So on our first night in O-Town, we ventured over to Universal Studio’s City Walk where Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. – Orlando is located.

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We settled in quickly and having been to a Bubba Gump’s before, we kind of knew the lay of the land.  If you’ve been here like us, you know there are signs (see pics above) on each table with the phrases “Run Forrest Run” and "Stop Forrest Stop" on them…, which is how you signal your server that you need something and they will happily stop right away for you.  I find this feature especially helpful, because I don’t really like to be bugged a million and one times if we don’t need anything, which helps me to enjoy my meal all the more.  So moving on, we enjoyed a pre-drink cocktail and decided what each of us was in the mood for.  Well…I should say Adam did, because I knew before we even sat down that I wanted their hush puppies appetizer and a big ol’ bucket of peel n’ eat shrimp.  Adam, on the other hand, had a bit of a harder time because since the last time we’d been, Bubba had gotten rid of his favorite dish…a penne pasta dish with grilled shrimp, garlic and feta. Needless to say…he was pretty bummed. So instead he went with one of their stuffed shrimp dishes and a side of rice (menu).

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Hush puppies are one of those things I find to be hit or miss for me, but Bubba’s hush puppies are unlike anything you have ever had in your life!  You will be thanking me you decided to order these, trust me.  These puppies are chalked full of bits of veggies and seafood and have a creamy dipping sauce to boot. They are just divine and Adam and I had no problem polishing off the whole bucket ourselves.

Moving on to our shrimp dishes…, I knew I would love mine, having ordered it before. You just have to know you are going to get a little messy, so dig in and enjoy.  They were every bit as buttery, spicy, and tasty as they always are…and when I say spicy I don’t mean unbearable, just seasoned well with tons of flavor.  Adam also enjoyed his stuffed shrimp, but we agreed, it was nowhere near as good as the pasta dish he typically would order.

All around, another great meal, complete with tons of fun “Forrest Gump” trivia and laughs…which I might add we received a perfect score on. Hey…you may have to visit to find out just exactly what I’m talkin’ about.

SIGNATURE DISH: Bubba Gump’s is not known for a certain dish per se, but with Shrimp Co. in their name you can be sure shrimp is what they truly focus on.  Still, they have seafood dishes of all kinds, but shrimp dishes far outweigh the other dishes.

TASTE: Having been to visit one of these restaurants more than a few times now, it is safe to say they know how to prepare food for a crowd, and can do so fast and well.  Everything we have ever ordered has been wonderful; and while maybe it’s not 5 stars, it beats some other truly over the top fancy food we have had by a mile.  One dish that certainly always stands out are their hush puppies…, perfectly cooked, not dry, packed full of flavor, and totally unique. Also, it is refreshing to have a place you can count on for good seafood any time of the year, regardless of where you are.

AMBIANCE: If theme restaurants aren’t for you, I would still beg you to give Bubba Gump’s a chance, because really you can make it as interactive or as simple as you would like.  It is also just really cool to be able to see all of the memorabilia they have around from the movie; and with T.V.’s playing the movie on a constant rotation, it is hard not to remember all the great scenes.  So although it is touristy, I find it to be one of those touristy places I can tolerate.

SERVICE: This is another area I always find them to be very good. The sign system they have implemented really helps their wait staff know which tables they need to visit and which they can overlook for that moment.  As a patron this is always nice because it allows you to feel as if you really have control over your experience and don’t have to be bugged in the middle of a conversation or your meal unless you want to.

PRICE:This is where I feel Bubba Gump’s is a bit off. They are a tad pricier than many other restaurants in the area, but I attribute that to a couple of things.  One, they are smack dab in the middle of a giant tourist play land, full of touristy restaurant stops and other fun attractions.  Places like this know they can up their prices because people just expect to pay a little more at a theme park or area attached to one.  Two, they are still a seafood restaurant and that always jumps the bill up just a bit.  That being said, Bubba Gump’s is far from outrageous, and if you are looking for good food and a fun time, I still think it is worth it.

So if you are in the mood for a good meal, looking to entertain yourself or some guests for the evening, or just needing to brush up on your “Forrest Gump” trivia, I urge to visit any of the Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. locations. I promise you’ll be in for a good time….so good we have given them 4 ‘Little Piggies’

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