Review: California’s Great America Maggie’s Smokehouse & Fried Chicken

There are some amazing things happening at Cedar Fair amusement parks in California! We all know and love Knott’s Berry Farm, but their sister park, California’s Great America, is also doing some tremendous things with a very bright future in front of them.

Since Wilf Seymour, the Director of Food and Beverage, together with Eric Ponce, the Executive Chef, have taken the helm, there have been some amazing dining enhancements over the past couple years! So we asked Mike from Inside CGA (Facebook/Instagram) to let us know what they thought of the parks signature restaurant, now rebranded as Maggie’s Smokehouse & Fried Chicken.

This season California’s Great America rolled out some significant improvements to food options at the park, including fresh dough pizza, lobster rolls and fresh clam chowder. The highlight however is Maggie’s Smokehouse and Fried Chicken, the refurbishment of the park’s signature dining location. Maggie’s menu has also expanded significantly, with the fried chicken that has been a long-time staple of the restaurant joined by a selection of mouthwatering fresh BBQ.

Originally named Maggie Brown’s, the restaurant occupies a unique place in Great America history, opening with the park in 1976. David Brown, then vice president of the theme parks division of Marriott and a key player in the founding of Great America named the restaurant Maggie Brown’s after his wife Maggie.

In refurbishing Maggie’s, the park has clearly taken a cue from Knott’s Berry Farm’s recent refurbishment of Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, updating the previously drab dining room with a clean and bright modern farmhouse style like that at the Southern California park.

The food service area has also been modernized with the heat lamps and serving line from the old restaurant replaced with an airy serving area where you can see your meal prepared in front of you.

Pulled Pork ($8.99-$11.99) and Smoked Tri-Tip ($9.79-$12.99) head up the new BBQ offerings with both available in sandwiches or on their own. I tried the pulled pork sandwich which includes a huge serving of pulled pork and a choice of three house BBQ sauces. The sandwich was delicious and the pulled pork melt-in-the-mouth tender.

One of my highlights of the new menu is the Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich ($9.79-$11.79). This spicy chicken sandwich is topped with a generous helping of coleslaw, surprisingly spicy aioli and garnished with slices of fresh jalapeno pepper to really set your taste-buds on fire! As a lover of spicy food, I really enjoyed this bold offering.

Another new addition to the menu is fresh Rotisserie Chicken ($8.79-$11.99), which is coated with herbs and cooked onsite in a huge rotisserie oven just behind the food service counter. The chicken was piping hot and juicily delicious. The rotisserie chicken is also one of the best value items on the menu with each meal including half a chicken, two sides of your choice and a cornbread muffin. If you have a smaller appetite you could easily share this with a friend or split between two kids.

To round out your meal you can choose from eight side dishes, including mashed potatoes, spicy fries, corn, beans, mac and cheese. Sides cost $4.99 each for a generous serving.

Maggie’s is one of the venues participating in Great America’s dining plans. There are options available for both all-day and all-season dining and most of Maggie’s menu items are available for both plans.

The newly refurbished Maggie’s is a huge improvement, with good quality fresh food and generous servings. Great America’s chefs have promised that more mouthwatering options will be joining the menu at Maggie’s over the summer with brisket and ribs available on certain days, I can not wait to try those too!

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