During a busy day at Universal Studios Florida, you might find yourself in need of a midday meal. While you could always grab a quick snack at a nearby food stand (Central Park Crêpes, perhaps?) or try a full table-service experience at someplace like Finnegan’s Bar & Grill, Universal’s counter-service dining options offer the perfect combination of a fully portioned, delicious meal at fast-food level speed! If this balance seems like the right fit for your family, check out Mel’s Drive-In near Hollywood Boulevard!
Located across from the Pantages Theater (home of the Horror Make-Up Show), Mel’s Drive-In is a 50’s themed diner complete with American Graffiti-inspired jukeboxes and vintage cars. There’s plenty of air-conditioned, indoor seating as well as available outdoor tables.
Mel’s Drive -In Menu
Mel’s Drive-In offers pretty standard theme park fare – a selection of burgers, fries, chicken fingers, and grilled chicken salads. Burgers and sandwich options include a BBQ Brisket Burger with onion rings and smoked gouda cheese as well as a Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Bacon Cheeseburger. To see Mel’s Drive-In’s full menu, check out Universal Orlando’s website.
Vegan Options at Mel’s Drive-In
Those looking for vegan meals will find two main options at Mel’s Drive-In: a classic Beyond Burger or Plant-Based Chick’n and Avocado Sandwich topped with lettuce and vegan cheese.
Since Beyond Burgers are relatively easy to find throughout the Orlando dining scene, I decided to try to Plant-Based Chick’n And Avocado Sandwich. Using a Gardein patty and Follow Your Heart cheese, this platter certainly offers a unique option to vegan diners.
The Gardein patty is topped with smashed avocado, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Surprisingly, the Follow Your Heart cheese is a pretty convincing dairy substitute – melting slightly when placed on the warm patty. This partial melting was a super pleasant surprise since this ability is so abnormal for plant-based cheese.
However, while I enjoyed the toppings and the wonderfully melt-y vegan cheese, I was not impressed with the Gardein Chick’n patty. The taste was okay in small quantities. In fact, if the chicken had been chopped up and used in some sort of vegan wrap, I probably would have found the taste and texture rather satisfying. But when it is served as one large fillet, the flavor gets both overwhelming and the texture quickly seems boring. I ended up throwing most of my sandwich away and focusing on my French fries instead.
Freaky Thoughts: Mel’s Drive-In at Universal Studios
Mel’s Drive-In is a fast, filling choice for a midday or early evening meal at Universal Studios. It’s got tons of available, air-conditioned seating and a variety of options including burgers, chicken, and plant-based meals.
However, I recommend that vegans and vegetarians order the Beyond Burger option instead of the Chick’n and Avocado Sandwich. I did not enjoy the texture or overall taste of the Gardein patty and didn’t actually end up finishing it! If you don’t like Beyond Burgers or would prefer a different option, I recommend checking out the plant-based crepe at the next door Central Park Crêpes stand!