It’s summer, which means between the barbecues and theme parks and county fairs, there’s plenty of gorgeous, over-the-top eats to go around. But only a few of these warm weather meccas go above and beyond in blending old-fashioned fun with binge-worthy grub.
Since it was just a roadside fruit stand in the 1920s, then just a homestyle chicken restaurant in the ’30s, the food at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif. has pretty much been made from scratch — providing a surprisingly deft, handcrafted touch to fare most other places might take for granted.
Whether it’s gargantuan cinnamon rolls, Animal-Style fries, or hearty plate of Knott’s famous fried chicken, it turns out that Snoop’s got all your thrill-fueling needs covered.
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites. Just, try not to eat them all right before riding Ghostrider, mkay?
Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken Dinner
Hello, deep fried poultry crack. Cooked in the same factory Mrs. Knott’s used way back when, this chicken plate is an excellent way to work yourself right into a food coma. Pro-tip: slather everything, from the buttery biscuits to the chicken itself, in Knott’s speciality boysenberry butter. So worth.
Mrs. Knott’s Full Chicken Dinner: $17.99 @ Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant
Also notable: Chicken Pot Pies ($8.15), Snoopy Cookies ($2.99), and Boysenberry Croissant Donuts ($3.99) @ the Farm Bakery
Volcano and Carne Asada Fries
Taking cues from its Southern California locale, Knott’s whipped up its own version of Animal Fries. Like In-N-Out, Knott’s smothers its taters in Thousand Island, grilled onions, and shredded cheese, but if San Diego is more your style, you can also grab Carne Asada fries, which come topped with shredded steak, sour cream, and guac.
Volcano Fries: $7.99
Carne Asada Fries: $8.99 @ Papa Loca
Chicken and Steak Tortas
A nice bit of unfussy Mexican-style food for when you’re craving something a bit more substantial. Choose from either ground chicken or ground steak — both taste great stuffed between garlic mayonnaise, pico de gallo, cheese, lettuce, and fresh teleras bread.
Chicken or Steak Tortas: $9.29 Pancho’s Tacos
Also notable: Horchata, Orange Bang, and Pina Colada: $3.59 @ Pancho’s Tacos
A regular chargrilled burger topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, cheese, barbecue sauce, and garlic aioli — no biggie. The real clinchers here are the fried jalapeño chips, which are just tangy enough to offer a little kick, but not nearly spicy enough to impose on unsuspecting tastebuds.
Southwest Burger: $7.99 at Coaster’s
Pop Rocks Dippin’ Dots
Everyone’s favorite astronaut ice cream, but in cherry flavor and mixed with Pop Rocks. We’re not sure why we didn’t think of it first, either.
Pop Rocks Dippin’ Dots: $5.99 @ Dippin’ Dots
Giant Cinnamon Roll
Holy hell = what you will say when you see this thing, what your tastebuds will say when you eat it, and what your thighs will say once it’s digested and they feel about one Knott’s cinnamon roll wider. Topped with your choice of maple, cream cheese, sugar icing, and nuts, they’re so fluffy you might actually die.
Cinnamon Rolls: $5.59 @ Ghost Town Bakery
A simple treat, upgraded with the help of Knott’s bakery-made chocolate chip cookies.
Cookiewich: $5.99 @ Ghost Town Grub
Funnel Cake Sundae
We’ll say this, don’t get this if you don’t want other funnel cakes ruined for you forever. Compared to Knott’s version which comes topped with real boysenberry and soft serve ice cream, regular syrup and whipped cream will just seem depressing.
Funnel Cake w/Soft Serve: $9.99 @ Ghost Town Grub
Boysenberry, Strawberry, and Cream-Stuffed Churros
Boysenberry, strawberry, and Bavarian cream make up your filling options for these fresh made cinnamon sugar batons. Grab all three to make your own beautiful churro bouquet.
Stuffed Churros: $5.99 @ Churro Factory
Also notable: Churro Sundaes: $5.99 @ Churro Factory
Boysenberry Soft Serve Cone
Bedecked in chunks of real boysenberry (kind of a big deal around these parts, if you couldn’t tell), consider this purple soft serve Knott’s version of pineapple Dole Whip — perfectly creamy and just the thing for 2 in the afternoon.
Boysenberry Soft Serve: $4.99 @ Churro Factory
Old-style root beer. Super-refreshing. Tastes better when you talk like a cowboy.
Sarsaparilla: $3.79 @ Calico Saloon
Ribs, Flank Steak, Turkey Legs, Roasted Corn, etc.
For saucy, open-air barbecue, head to the Fireman’s Brigade in Ghost Town. Ribs and steaks here are slow cooked for a minimum of 24 hours, and everything is served with a variety of barbecue-y sides like baked potatoes, coleslaw, and Knott’s special baked jalapeño buns.
Pork Ribs or Flank Steak Combo: $14.79
Turkey Leg: $9.99
Roasted Corn: $3.99 @ Fireman’s Brigade Barbecue
Deep Fried Cheese on a Stick
Available in cheddar or pepperjack, this hand-battered, deep-fried milk stick absolutely melts in your mouth, leaving you drowning in a sumptuously unhealthy blend of butter and oil and breading. We’re pretty sure this is what a cheese-gasm tastes like.
Cheese on a Stick: $8.29 @ Strictly on a Stick
Also notable: Hand-Dipped Corn Dogs: $8.59 @ Strictly on a Stick
Gold Trail Kettle Chips, Cajun Lime Salt Riblets, Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger, Ribeye Steak Sandwich, and Asian Prawn Salad
Gold Trail Kettle Chips: $10.99
Cajun Lime Salt Riblets: $10.99
Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger: $15.79
Ribeye Steak Sandwich: $21.99
Asian Prawn Salad: $13.99 @ Spurs