As part of the celebration of the first anniversary of Super Nintendo World, the brand-new grab-and-go venue, Power Up Café, officially opens on February 15 at Universal Studios Hollywood.
While the Power Up Café already soft-opened to guests on January 31, there is no set schedule or guarantee that the café will be open until the February 15 grand opening.
Located in the New York Street section of the Upper Lot where the Sweet Liberty candy and sweets store used to reside, this new café offers guests the opportunity to power up with some fun Super Mario-themed snacks and beverages before even stepping foot in Super Nintendo World.
Despite the bright, saturated colors of the exterior of the café making it stand out from the rest of the recently repainted New York Street facades, Power Up Café undeniably brings a lively energy back to the corner of New York Street that has remained empty for guests ever since Sweet Liberty closed many years ago, and we are sure that its prominent location and fun concept will make it a very popular spot for guests to grab a uniquely-themed bite.
Guests enter the café through the bright red doors at the rightmost corner of the New York Street facades and are welcomed by friendly team members the moment they step inside. Despite only having a small space to work with, the Power Up Café manages to capture the essence of Super Nintendo World while simultaneously modernizing it to fit in a café setting fitting for being located outside of the themed land, with Super Mario-themed tiled artwork lining the walls, a Question Block lamp hanging from the ceiling, six Super Star statues framing the most prominent guest view into the kitchen, and numerous neon signs of some of the most iconic Super Mario visuals.
Universal Studios Hollywood recently invited Inside Universal for a special preview of the Power Up Café and we had a fantastic time sampling the menu, which we’ll describe and review below.
The Power Up Café menu is separated into two simple categories: snacks and drinks. Snacks include the Super Mushroom Calzone, the 1-Up Mushroom Calzone, the Fire Flower Pretzel, and the Super Star Popcorn; while drinks include four unique “fizz” soda drinks called the Super Mushroom Fizz, the 1-Up Mushroom Fizz, the Fire Flower Fizz, and the Super Star Fizz.
Guests also have the option to purchase the Super Star collectible popcorn bucket, the Super Mushroom collectible drink sipper, and the 1-Up collectible drink sipper.
We began by trying out the Super Mushroom Calzone, which is described on the menu as a mushroom-shaped calzone filled with pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce. The Super Mushroom Calzone not only looks adorable but was also very tasty. We thought the calzone had an excellent balance between the breaded outside and the perfectly filled inside, which left us feeling very satisfied. As a note, the calzones are small enough for one person to eat on their own but are also certainly big enough for two people to share, especially if you order a handful of items on the menu.
Next, we tried the 1-Up Mushroom Calzone, which is a mushroom-shaped calzone filled with spinach, green pepper, mushroom, mozzarella cheese, and basil pesto. We also enjoyed this vegetarian calzone, which has a dominant basil pesto flavor for those curious. While the Super Mushroom Calzone was our personal favorite of the two, the 1-Up Mushroom Calzone is certainly another solid option on the menu.
The Fire Flower pretzel was also one of our most-anticipated offerings to try. Described as a Fire Flower-shaped pretzel served with chipotle cheese, mustard, and white queso dipping sauces, the Fire Flower pretzel is slightly larger than the calzones and includes the three aforementioned dipping sauces on the side in its $13 price on the menu. While the pretzel by itself tasted similar to the other pretzels guests can purchase around the park, the array of dipping sauces gave it a tasty twist. Our personal favorite was the white queso dipping sauce, though we enjoyed alternating between all three.
The final snack offering on the menu is the Super Star Popcorn Cup: a tall cup of butter popcorn topped with edible glitter. The popcorn tastes just like regular buttered popcorn and we could not distinguish any discernable taste from the edible glitter – the edible glitter simply serves as a fun flair to make the popcorn cup unique from the usual buttered popcorn you can find at other locations around the theme park.
Lastly, we tried two out of the four “fizz” soda drinks offered on the menu: the 1-Up Mushroom Fizz – a lemon-lime soda with green apple popping pearls and a lime 1-Up Mushroom Power Up – and the Super Star Fizz – a lemon-lime soda with lemon popping pearls and a mango pineapple Super Star Power Up. We enjoyed both drinks equally and if the two we tried are any indication, there seem to be no bad options out of the four: simply choose whichever drink’s flavor palate appeals the most to you.
The “fizz” drinks are perhaps the most unique offerings on the menu since there is an interactive element to activating each of their respective flavors. Upon purchasing one of these drinks, guests are handed a miniature cardboard Question Block box with their drink’s special Power Up inside: a Super Mushroom for the Super Mushroom Fizz, a 1-Up Mushroom for the 1-Up Mushroom Fizz, a Fire Flower for the Fire Flower Fizz, or a Super Star for the Super Star Fizz.
Once guests receive the drink – a lemon-lime soda base with popping pearls and a straw themed to the unique drink they purchased – they are instructed to drop their Power Up into the drink and let it fizz and dissolve completely, thus completing each drink’s individual flavor.
Overall, between all of its delightful menu options, Power Up Café makes an excellent addition to New York Street on the Upper Lot and the continued expansion of Nintendo-themed offerings at Universal Studios Hollywood.
In addition to the opening of Power Up Café, guests will also be able to celebrate the first anniversary of Super Nintendo World by purchasing a special-release Golden Power-Up Band (which will be available for purchase at multiple locations inside the theme park starting on February 17) and by picking up a complimentary 1-Year Anniversary Button (available starting February 17 while supplies last at Guest Relations).
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