Apparently Dave and Buster are real guys. Dave ran a Texas-based video game/pool hall called Slick Willies. Buster was a General Manager at the TGIFriday’s next door. Thirty-ish years ago, they realized their respective customers kept running back and forth between the two and came up with the genius idea to help shorten the commute.
Personability. Quality. Fun. That’s the story told by the blown-up photograph that sits out front at the newly redesigned Dave and Buster’s in Orange, California. Black and white and slightly out of focus, the candidness of the shot of the two formerly faceless cofounders helps welcome guests to a fresher, sleeker and, believe-it-or-not, hipper D&Bs. A giant TV wall loops through a montage of the chain’s cocktails while silver light fixtures hover over the new glowing white concierge desk and swanky white leather bar. Truth be told, for those who frequent the chain, the changes can be a little jarring, like parking in suburban Orange and ending up on the Las Vegas Strip – but this is largely because the redesign is still in progress. Gone are the rows of dimly lit pool tables, the million laggy television screens, the dark wood on dark wood, but for those who’re still clinging to the past, the old belt-driven ceiling fans and Tiffany lamps in the dining room should be enough to tide you over.
Of course Ralph, the General Manager at D&Bs Orange, told us those lamps are the next to go. Cool, casual, he also joked about the possible HR dangers of meeting with bloggers who write about penis-shaped egg molds for a living, before walking us through all the new digs and eats and games at the now 15-year old, 60,000 square foot location. Other changes include the new beer pong game near the dining area; a Facebook check in-enabled wi-fi system; a giant television screen by the bar just like the one in the situation room at the White House; eight new games in the Midway including Temple Run and the immersion horror action shooter Dead Escape 4D; on top of all the new seasonal and regional dishes and drinks that collectively reflect the company’s newfound business boner for change.
Check out the photos from Foodbeast’s latest visit and take it from us: just because something isn’t broke, doesn’t mean you can’t fix it.
Spinach Dip, served with Warm Tortilla Chips and Salsa: A menu staple at most sit-down chains, D&B’s rendition is hearty and inoffensive — not too cheesy, not too watery.
Poppin’ Potatoes: Crispy, bite-size potato balls tossed with garlic butter and Parmesan cheese. Think bougie tater tots. Each purchase donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
The CoronaRita: a 7 ounce Coronarita bottle dumped belly-up into a margarita made with Sauza, triple sec and lime. Just make sure to ask for it shaken instead of in a slush, otherwise the tequila will be too watered down.
The Original Snow-Cone: DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, Malibu, Three Olives cherry vodka, blue curacao, Sprite and pomegranate syrup. Literally like an alcoholic snow cone, which is to say awesome.
Strawberry Watermelon Summerita: Margaritaville Tequila Gold, DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, Finest Call Watermelon pureee and Minute Maid, poured over strawberry flavored ice cubes. Sweet and tart.
Miami Ice: Skyy Coconut Vodka, Malibu mixed with Minute Maid and Bacardi Strawberry Premium Mixer. Good for fans of coconut, which the crushed ice helps temper down so it’s not too overbearing.
The 5:15: A regional offering with a built-in food challenge. 5 buffalo wings, 5 quesadilla wedges, 5 pretzel dogs and 5 crispy fried shrimp with a stack of fresh barbecue chips. The goal is to finish it in 5 minutes with the help of only one other person. “Because work sucks.”
Goldfingers: I know of only two restaurant chains that do a good chicken tender. Chili’s is the first and D&Bs comes in at a very close second. Not too dry with just the right amount and crispness of breading and a perfectly seasoned honey mustard sauce.
Tomodachi Potstickers: A regional offering and part of the chain’s new “Asian Tastes” menu, these are crispy fried pork potstickers on a bed of Asian slaw served with TYKU Citrus Ponzo sauce. Meant to be shared because tomodachi means “friendship.” Also a little dry.
Firecracker Edamame: Served with kosher salt, edamame is hard to mess up, and luckily Dave & Buster’s version does a pretty bang-up job (ba-dum-tss).
Dragon Wings: Crispy wings tossed in a fried sweet chili glaze and served with a side of Honey Hot mustard dipping sauce. These tasted kind of like Orange Chicken, which was definitely nothing to sneeze at.
Grilled Balsamic Chicken: A splattering of balsamic reduction sauce over dry chicken. Not terrible, but nothing spectacular either.
Bistro Steak & Shrimp with Lobster Alfredo: The first of its kind we’ve seen, a Surf and Turf pasta. The steak was a good temperature and the shrimp had an awesome texture — not all rubbery. All topped off with shrimp, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and a lobster Alfredo sauce.
Potato Chip Crusted Chicken: Let me say that again: Potato Chip Crusted Chicken. Tender chicken breasts crusted with Lay’s potato chips and served with warm French onion dipping sauce. Like eating a bag of chips for dinner.
Bacon Wrapped Beef Medallions and Grilled Shrimp: The texture of the steak here was good, but wrapping it in bacon made it a little too salty. The shrimp was still on point though.
Perfect Patrón Margarita and D&B TNTea: The former, Patrón Silver tequila and Patrón Citrónge on the rocks or frozen. The latter, Long Island Iced Tea made with Absolut vodka, Tanqueray gin, Bacardi rum, Grand Marnier, sweet ‘n’ sour and Coke. Fun story: my boss bet me that he could finish the TNTea before I could finish the Margarita and that if he lost he would buy me lunch for a week, but if I lost, I had to play Dead Escape 4D by myself. Later that night was the most terrifying 3 minutes of my life.
Dave’s Double Burger: Double meat, double cheese. Didn’t get to try this one (too full), but it photographed beautifully.
Belgian Chocolate Fondue: A warm, not-too-sweet chocolate sauce kicked off the closers of the night.
Banana Foster Pie: Hands down, one of the best banana foster dishes we’ve tried.
James and the Giant Peach: Rum and peach schnapps make for a cool cocktail that was pretty on the eyes and on the tongue.
Mexican Candy: Also didn’t get to try this one, but supposedly it tasted just like those chile/tamarind candies you could find at the local liquor store, without the lead.
Hot Sugared Donut Holes: Melty and sweet, these little cuties are great with or without the chocolate or raspberry sauces.
Dave & Buster’s Orange
20 City Blvd W #1 Orange, CA 92868