When it's a matter of
Florida's legend of tourism growth and
foodservice growth, the Universal Studios
Escape resort and its main restaurant
partners began opening the doors last
week to a host of dining concepts at
its new Universal Studios City Walk
shopping-entertainment path here.
The debut of the 30-acre
harbor side complex, approximately 45
days before the presentation of Universal's
new Islands of Adventure fantasy-theme
park, brings to life in the Orlando
market 15 new eatery concepts, several
of them by well-known chefs and operator.
City Walk also creates a new retail-oriented
gateway through which some 20,000 daily guests
now enter the 9year-old Universal Studios Florida
theme park and another 25,000 visitors will
reach Island of Fantasy.
One of City Walk's most
significant attractions will be Emeril's,
part of the restaurant group run by
small screen pop idol Emeril Lagasse,
whose cooking career began at Commander's
Palace in New Orleans and sustained
with the chefs original Emeril's and
Nola restaurants there and, more of
late, a second Emeril's in Las Vegas.
Patterned in part after
the hugely successful CityWalk mall
at Universal City in Los Angeles, Orlando's
new CityWalk boasts a total of 4,000
dining seats in such places as a 650-seat
Hard Rock Cafe, the largest ever built,
as well as Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville,
NASCAR Cafe, NBA Restaurant, Pat O'Brien's,
A Tribute to America, Motown Cafe and 7 other
concepts keyed to the theme of "originators"
in music, amusement and dining.
"We're the new kid on the block with City
Walk, and we're going to tear things up here
in Orlando," said Universal Studios Escape's
executive chef and foodservice vice president,
Steven Jayson, the 10year veteran of Universal
who started the Universal Studios Florida Park