by Kristin Casagrand
Continuing on my family heritage theme from last week, I felt like I couldn’t leave out the other large part of my family line….Italian! I wanted to share a hidden gem in Hollywood Studios that is tucked in a cozy spot near the exit to the Muppet 3D show– Mama Melrose’s Italian Ristorante. Many Disney goers I have encountered have not heard of this restaurant and do not know it exists in Hollywood Studios. My family first stumbled upon it several years back when we were looking for a restaurant for our Fantasmic dinner package. Prime Time and The Brown Derby were full, so we figured we would try out Mama Melrose’s so we could still get our reserved Fantasmic seating. I am so glad we decided to give it a shot because it has become my go-to spot at Hollywood Studios. I love Italian food and cannot get enough of it. Since there are not many Italian eateries at Disney, Mama Melrose’s is a rare find, unless you head over to the Italian pavilion at EPCOT.
When you first walk into the restaurant, it is dimly lit with string lights and vines strung throughout the room. It is decorated to look like a small family restaurant straight out of little Italy and gives off an inviting feel. You can see memorabilia and celebrity photos adorning the walls as well. A woodburning oven first catches your eye as you see chefs preparing flatbread pizzas to go inside. Every time I have been to Mama Melrose’s, I have had very friendly, helpful waiters that definitely know the menu in and out. From the several times I have visited, I have never been disappointed and have left happily with a full belly of pasta.
Quick Disney Trivia question: What animated Disney movie was Mama Melrose’s decor inspired by?
Dinner is started off with a basket of warm dinner rolls, served with oil and herbs for dipping. Don’t fill up on the bread though (as tempting as it is) because there are great starters and entrees to indulge in! For our most recent trip, with the Fantasmic package, we each had to choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert. I definitely wasn’t complaining. My dad and I shared Mama’s antipasto for two, which includes a selection of Italian meats, cheeses, and vegetables. You can’t ever go wrong with a tasting of Italian meats and cheeses. For my entree, I got the Oven-baked Chicken alla Parmigiana, with penne pasta and Alfredo sauce instead of the angel hair with marinara. Delicious. The menu also includes entrees such as a variety of flatbreads, charred strip steak, seafood arrabbiata, penne alla vodka, and a bunch of other pasta and chicken dishes. For dessert, I stuck with a classic Italian treat, chocolate gelato!
You can check out the menu here https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/mama-melrose-ristorante-italiano/menus/dinner/
This week’s recipe is something you can use for lots of different occasions! Pair it with the pasta of your choice! Recipe is courtesy of http://allears.net/din/rec_4cs.htm.
Four Cheese Sauce
Mama Melrose–Disney’s Hollywood Studios
1 quart half and half
1/4 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Reggianto cheese Argentine brand Zerto, shredded
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ounce Asiago cheese, shredded
1 ounce garlic, minced
2 ounces Fontina cheese
For roux: 1/2 stick butter (2 ounces), 1/4 cup flour
1. Make a roux by melting the butter and stirring in the flour. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
2. In a 4-quart saucepot, add olive oil and heat, add garlic, then add cream and bring to a simmer.
3. Stir in the roux (no lumps).
4. Add heavy cream and cheese, cook slow, simmer and season.
Happy cooking everyone!
Kristin Casagrand is a student currently studying physical therapy at Bellarmine University. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kristin has taken many a family vacations as a child driving 24 hrs, cramped in the back of the car and fighting with her sister to get to Disney (definitely worth it though). She looks forward to sharing “A taste of Disney” with everyone each week.