The Walt Disney Co. is masterful at creating virtual realities, so its version of a fast-casual burger restaurant is much as you’d imagine. D-Luxe Burger opened last week in Disney Springs, the retail complex outside Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., that has gone through successive reincarnations from Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village in 1975 through Walt Disney World Village, Disney Village Marketplace and Downtown Disney. This latest version reimagines the area as a turn-of-the-20th-century town that just happens to include Anthropologie, Johnston & Murphy, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Lilly Pulitzer and other upscale brands as the Main Street shops. It’s a movie set; a placid thrill ride.
D-Luxe itself looks like a small-town ranch house that is larger inside than it appears. Disney has described the counter-service restaurant’s interior as “eclectically comfortable Florida ranch-inspired.” That translates to a lot of distressed wood, vintage lighting fixtures and a pressed-tin ceiling. There are booths and tables inside and a covered outdoor patio where diners can watch the springs bubble. A row of stool seats covers one wall, with a ledge for plates and recharging outlets with USB ports. Rolls of paper towels on tables function as napkins. And the walls have memorabilia from “Glowing Oak Ranch” because, being a Disney creation, D-Luxe has its own backstory (“Glowing Oak Ranch was made into a burger restaurant after introducing a very popular hamburger at the fictional World’s Fair that was held on the West Side in 1950).
Guests give their orders at a counter and receive a pager to alert them when their meal is ready. The menu is all burgers–four beef, a ground chicken and a veggie burger–and the “signature blend” beef patties are a brisket, chuck and short rib mix. Burger prices range from $9.99 for the Veggie Burger and the Classic (Cheddar, lettuce, tomato and pickle) to $12.99 for the Southern Classic Burger (signature patty with fried green tomato, pimento cheese, lettuce and bacon). The $10.99 El Diablo Burger adds chorizo to the signature beef blend and tops it with fried banana peppers, pepper-Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo.
The children’s meal choices are a cheeseburger or ground-chicken burger with a yogurt smoothie, carrot sticks and milk or water for $7.49.
Side choices are limited to small or large fresh-cut fries, served one of six dipping sauces (garlic ranch, horseradish, chipotle mayo, 3 mustard and honey. Buffalo blue cheese and curry ketchup).
In addition to soft drinks, beverage options are three beers and a hard cider; alcoholic root beer, orange soda or ginger ale; and a chardonnay or a cab.
The most extensive menu is D-Luxe’s list of Gelato Shakes and Floats—some straight; some alcoholic—priced from $7 for a Salted Caramel Gelato Shake to $14 for the Smoked Bourbon Gelato Shake. For dessert there are Red Velvet Burger Macarons for $4.99.
The net result is a restaurant that Walt Disney Co. boasts as serving “one of, if not the best counter service hamburger at any theme park eatery on earth.” Dream big.