First Day Experience of the Reopened Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant and California Marketplace at Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm has reopened much more of the California Marketplace (as explained here) and it is wonderful to have much of this theme park resort back!  I ventured to the area to see what it was like.  Especially partaking of a meal at the famous Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant has been a large part of the success of Knott’s Berry Farm.  Its exclusive recipes have tantalized taste buds for several years and drew guests to the property.  It’s what caused the expansion into a theme park.  So, it is wonderful to see it open again after a long period of closure due to precautions with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before explaining the dining experience, I’ll talk about first impressions of how the Marketplace is now organized.  Parking is off of Crescent Avenue and funnels into the main Marketplace parking lot.  From there it’s a walk across the street to all the shops and restaurants (except for two on the same side).  With the closure of some of Grand Avenue, there are now tables and benches set up and spread out for groups to enjoy eating on property.  These also keep appearing throughout the Marketplace to allow for dining there, but the following distance required between groups.

Throughout the walkways and shops are dots with instructions that indicate social distance requirements.  A recorded announcement plays mixed in with music saying that face masks are required.  Inside the shops are also taped x’s to indicate where to stand in case there are crowds and lines.

Besides the regulations, much looks the same for the shops.  Music plays.  Merchandise can easily be grabbed off of shelves.  And there are even some new items to purchase.  Those look to have been made for the Boysenberry Festival that unfortunately was not done this year.  It is nice to have these items available to feel like the festival is still happening.

Chicken-To-Go and the Bakery have previously been opened for a few weeks with pick up orders.  Starbucks is one of the locations just opening today and also featured tables and chairs spread out for dining on property.  Mrs. Knott’s is just reopening for dine-in guests today as well.

The entrance is not in the usual location for the restaurant, which is normally facing Grand Ave.  Instead, it is around the corner deeper into the Marketplace.  It is a patio that is usually used for holiday specialty dining.  It is most likely going to be the mode of operation for the flow of traffic for a while.  And nothing wrong with it as it allowed more views of and experience of the Marketplace!

Once seated, guests can take off their face masks while servers keep theirs on.  The lunch menu has some wonderful features, including a bit of a lighter classic fried chicken meal.  Other items, such as Chicken Parmigiana and fish brings a nice assortment to the always delicious recipes.  If you’re used to the dinner menu, the biggest difference is that a slice of pie is not included with the entrées.  Otherwise, there are great choices of sides that have also brought fame to the Farm.

It was so refreshing to come back to the Farm.  Perusing Virginia’s Gift Shop and Peanuts Headquarters made it feel like the park was starting to open again, even though there hasn’t been any indication of when that will be.  It was a good change of pace to come back to a place I’ve enjoyed over and over again.  I’ve previously gotten the chicken meal to go, but it started to feel normal to finally sit down at a Knott’s eatery and have a delicious meal.  If you are going through some withdrawals for a theme park visit, this might be a close experience right now.  It is always fun to walk around the Marketplace, and there will be more that will open there in the weeks to come!


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