Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant: 75 Years and Still Cooking

It was in 1934 that Walter Knott encouraged his wife Cordelia to expand her little tea room on their farm and add chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes and rhubarb to her modest menu. It was the Depression, and families across the country were trying to find a way to pay the bills, and the Knott family was no exception.

Little did anyone know that this endeavor to add to the family income would be the catalyst for what is now, some 75 years later, a 185-acre vacation destination that includes a theme park, water park and hotel.

For that first meal on June 13, 1934, Cordelia served eight 65-cent dinners on her own wedding china. By 1940, visitors were standing in line for hours to enjoy Walter’s boysenberries (developed at the Farm with the help of friend Rudolph Boysen) and Cordelia’s chicken. The challenge of entertaining the crowds led Walter to create an authentic Ghost Town on the property and America’s first “themed” amusement park was born.

To mark this diamond anniversary Knott’s will be re-dedicating their designation as an Orange County Historic landmark at 1:00 pm at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant on June 13 with their special guest Marion Knott, daughter of Walter and Cordelia Knott. Knott’s Berry Farm will also host a variety of activities in the month of June including an instant winner scratcher game at the Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant where guests can win such prizes as a Knott’s Marketplace shopping spree, Snoopy plush and park tickets. Knott’s will also be holding a daily boysenberry pie-eating competition in the park and a local celebrity server night at the restaurant on June 22 with a portion of the evenings proceeds going to the Cordelia Knott Wellness Center.

Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant serves an average of 1,000 chickens daily, making it the world’s largest, full service, single location chicken restaurant in the world with seating for 1,000 in eight separate dining rooms.

Mrs. Knott’s Traditional Chicken Dinner hasn’t changed much since 1934 either and includes country-fried chicken; choice of cherry rhubarb appetizer or chicken noodle soup; tossed green salad; mashed potatoes and gravy; choice of kernel corn or cabbage with ham; all-you-can-eat buttermilk biscuits with butter and Knott’s preserves; and choice of Mrs. Knott’s famous boysenberry pie, apple pie or boysenberry sherbet.

For more information on all the exciting activities at Knott’s Berry Farm, visit

Views: 453

Comment by Brent Courier on June 16, 2009 at 12:42am
Mrs. Knott's created a great institution. I always look forward to my bucket of chicken and magnificent biscuits any time I visit. I have a strong stomach, so I don't have to worry about heaving hoe while riding the Excellerator in the front car.


You need to be a member of OC foodies to add comments!

Join OC foodies

© 2019   Created by OCfoodies.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service