Amusement Parks
National Parks
Route 66 Cities Beaches




Getting There
Water Rides

There are people who come to Kennywood just for the food. They ride a few roller coasters and play a few games, but mostly they spend the day sitting at a shady table eating. It is definitely what could be called "recreational food," not what your mother would serve you back home in her kitchen. But it's good, the portions are huge, it's not expensive, and with a few exceptions it 's not even unhealthy.

Because so many people use credit cards, Kennywood can track purchasing, and they have found the average visitor buys a food item 4-6 times per day. With the single price admission, the park does not have to make its profit off its food the way theatres or sports franchises do. So they can keep their prices low. They teach the servers to make small batches of food in front of the customer. Kennywood squeezes out its profits from the high volume of sales, then goes to great effort to eliminate waste. By not making amounts of an item ahead of time, they do not have to throw anything out at the end of a day.

The major stop on a Kennywood day has to be the Parkside Cafe. It is a good cafeteria with reasonable prices. The fruit cups and platters, sandwiches, turkey, pasta and fish dinners and desserts are great. Those glasses of melon, peach and strawberry slices in juice and whipped cream are delicious. The lemonade and other fresh, tasty, heart healthy and well priced items are worth the stop. You can sit indoors or out on the broad roofed veranda with the cool breezes blowing up from the valley. The Parkside doesn't match Indiana Beach's Sky Room or Dollywood's various specialty restaurants, and it's not as unique as Busch Gardens' Festhaus. But it beats the Festhaus in selections and price, and Cedar Point, Kings Island, Holiday World and Hershey Park have nothing comparable. You might want to stop either just before or just after the dinner hour, though, because the line can get long. 4:00 - 5:00 is usually a good time.
The Potato Patch has its own cult following. The fries are so popular in Pittsburgh that they are now available year round in Giant Eagles, a local grocery chain. Located next to the Thunderbolt and Turtle, the Potato Patch processes 500 pounds of Idaho potatoes a day. A serving is a pound of fries. You can get gravy, cheese, garlic, onion, salt, barbecue, jalapeno peppers, vinegar, ketchup or mustard on the fries, in any combination. In a typical four month season, customers consume a half million servings of Potato Patch Fries. They are not only the best selling food item at Kennywood, they are the best selling food item at any amusement park in America. A panel of judges has named them the best tasting food item at any park, just ahead of the veggie wraps at Holiday World and down home country dinners at Dollywood. It is, however, a good idea to avoid them just before one of the more stomach churning rides.

Elsewhere in the park, you have a wide range of bizarre but delicious items. Fried Oreos are children's cookies dipped in pancake batter, then in oil, fried, and dusted with confectionary. Funnel Cakes, Belgian Waffles, Doughnuts and Candy Caramel Apples are a lot tastier here than they are at your local county fair. Several outlets in the park serve deep dish pizza, but that seems rather stodgy when you can get a Corn Dog, Double Crunch Cone, Taco Grande, Buffalo Chicken Tenders (watch these -- they're spicy), Fresh Pretzels, Cheese On AStick, and the park's very first food item from 1900, Cotton Candy.

As you graze your way through the day, a good lunch item might be a Philadelphia Beef & Cheese Sandwich. They grill a steak patty, add chopped onions, green peppers, and provolone cheese, then stuff it all into a fresh hoagie bun. Or you could lunch on a Hot Sausage Sandwich at The Pagoda (above the Auto Race). They grill a sausage and add onions and red peppers.

Kennywood also serves the big craze from the 1990s, DipnDots. This is supposed to be the ice cream of the future. The ice cream comes in little pearl sized pills frozen at -40 temperatures. You get it in a cup with a spoon. Around midafternoon, when you're hot and sweaty, you ought to try some. It doesn't taste like traditional ice cream. The extreme cold temperatures bewilder your taste buds and create whole new sensations in your mouth. They serve this from little carts and tiny stands. The first one you're likely to see is the cart parked by water's edge below the Paratrooper.

One tradition which sets Kennywood a level above many rival parks is the freshness of their food. All these items are made right in front of you. None of it (except the ice cream) is frozen, or even made ahead of time and held until you ask for it. You get to watch them scoop it, grill it, or ladle it, place it on the bun if it's a sandwich, or wrap it if it's a taco. So a lot of it may be high in sugar or cholesterol, but at least it's fresh.

Out by the entrance, veteran Kennywood fans always stop on the way home at the circular building, the old Rotor structure, and buy some fudge. Yes, it's rich and fattening and should probably be illegal, but on the drive back through the darkness, it sure is a fine way to end the day. There are a lot of people who buy enough to put in the refrigerator and nibble on for the rest of the Summer.

Slushies are hugely popular at Kennywood, and you can make your own at this stand under the Phantom lift hill, behind Noah's Ark. You can control the flavor, ratio of ice to syrup, and other variables. We had to wait for 15 minutes to snap this photo because there's usually such a crowd here. After a couple of hours of waiting in lines or riding in the heat, it's unbelievably refreshing to sit on the grass in the shade munching flavored ice. You can take the ice on the Train, Garfield's Nightmare, or the Peddle Boats. But the best strategy is to buy one just before you get in a long line for the Raging Rapids, Phantom's Revenge or Thunderbolt.
Like Us On Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/OutpostUSA/) To Receive Daily Outdoor Adventure News and Notes And To Comment
This Year's Unique Visitor Tally : 1,003,492 Contact us at Omlordw@aol.com Meet our writers at Staff