Following the runaway success of Toadstool Cafe inside Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood, the amusement park is opening another restaurant on Thursday, February 15, inspired by Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and the gang. Located on the upper lot by the park’s entrance, Power Up Cafe will sell snacky bites and bubbly drinks for park-goers seeking out a quick pick-me-up. “We wanted the guests to be able to come in through the park and power up their day,” says Julia Thrash, vice president of culinary and executive chef of Universal Studios Hollywood.
Though the footprint of Power Up Cafe is smaller than Toadstool Cafe’s, spanning about 300 square feet with a maximum occupancy of 71 people, every nostalgia-inducing inch is decorated with the iconic symbols from the Super Nintendo video gaming universe. “The inspiration is truly the Power Ups,” says Thrash. “We have four of them that are represented throughout the [decor and] menu: Super Star, Super Mushroom, 1-Up Mushroom, and Fire Flower.” Neon-lit Power Ups line the cafe’s exterior, while the inside glows with Question Mark Blocks, Super Stars, and a mural featuring Warp Pipes and a neon-lit piranha plant.
While recipe development for the quick-service, grab-and-go menu only began in July 2023, plans for extending the Super Nintendo imprint inside the theme park have long been in the works. “We always knew that we had such a unique opportunity with the Super Nintendo brand,” Thrash says. “And it was really trying to be able to create more experiences throughout the park that allow guests to get that initial experience before they get down to the land.”
On the menu are Fire Flower-shaped salted pretzels served with a trio of dipping sauces (yellow mustard, chipotle cheese, white queso); two kinds of mushroom-shaped calzones filled with pepperoni and sausage, as well as a vegetarian version with spinach, mushrooms, and pesto; and butter popcorn topped with edible glitter. The pretzel and calzones are priced at $13 each and packaged in custom Question Mark Block pockets.
To drink are four carbonated beverages, each one accompanied by a different 3D-printed sugar cube that adds glitter and flavor as it dissolves in liquid. The Fire Flower Fizz contains lemon-lime soda, orange popping boba, and a mango-habanero Power Up, while the Super Star Fizz boasts lemon popping boba and a mango-pineapple Power Up. Drinks are priced at $13 each.
With the addition of the new Power Up Cafe, along with the perpetually-packed Toadstool Cafe and a dedicated kiosk inside the Super Nintendo World selling drinks and popcorn, park-goers now have three different venues to power up Super Nintendo-style.
Power Up Cafe will be open daily starting February 15. Admission to Universal Studios Hollywood is required for entry.