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54 Years and Still Cookin’ at Disneyland Park

Pam Brandon

by , Food Writer, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort

Have you ever ordered “Oscar’s Choice” at Carnation Café in Disneyland Park? Ever wondered just who “Oscar” is?

Oscar is Oscar Martinez, the longest tenured Disneyland Resort cast member. He joined the company Dec. 29, 1956, and has been a Disneyland mainstay for 54 years – and at Carnation Café since 1967!

Oscar’s Choice – scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, Oscar’s potatoes, a croissant and your choice of bacon or sausage with fresh fruit — is served daily for breakfast, made by the eponymous “Oscar” himself five mornings a week.

Once his world-famous potatoes are made, Oscar greets and seats guests on the restaurant’s patio, occasionally posing for photos with guests.

Oscar Martinez

We asked Oscar a few questions:

  • Favorite Disneyland attraction? “it’s a small world.”
  • Favorite Disneyland restaurant? “Blue Bayou.” (He said he misses the pot roast they used to serve).
  • Did you ever meet Walt? “Unfortunately, no. Though I saw him in the park, I never had the opportunity to speak with him.” Once, he said, he saw Walt at Carnation Plaza Gardens looking at the on-stage umbrellas, including one that was a different color than all the rest. Oscar said he heard Walt say: “Get that one outta’ here!”

Happily, we share Oscar’s yummy recipe.

Oscar’s Potatoes


Serves 4 to 6

1 large white onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 pounds red potatoes, thinly sliced
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until translucent; remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, add remaining butter and potatoes and sauté until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the onions and potatoes in an ovenproof casserole dish; cover with foil and make small slits for ventilation. Bake 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve hot.

Comments

  • We have never eaten in the Cafe even though we go to Disneyland every year. I will have to look for Mr. Martinez and taste the famous potatoes.

  • I have not eaten there, but will in 2012. I would like to say “I tip my hat to you good sir.” Congrats on 54 years!

  • I loved the meal we had at Carnation Cafe, wasn’t breakfast though. It was so good I ate there a second day! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • first time ordering “oscar’s choice” 2day…in fact first time i’ve eaten @ carnation café. wow!!! i loved it, most esp. the potatoes. i can eat a whole plate of them. thanks for including the recipe. 😀

  • This just goes to show how one man can make a difference. Still there after all these years. I need to take a trip down there and get some taters. =)

    -Tony
    Above The Firehouse Podcast

  • We love Oscar :) He is a rare commodity.

  • Oscar, thank you for starting our day at Disneyland off with a few good laughs. You came out and teased with our fun loving family. We kept that going all day long. May you continue to share your delicious food and joy with guests for years to come.

  • I love having breakfast at Oscars Place ( whoops mean Carnation Cafe) He is amazing , his food delicious, makes his guest feel right at home and that is Magic. We have a wonderful picture my husband took of him ( its him and his reflection in the window on te patio with is great warm smile) this was taken on one of our visits and its on my photo frame and we always love it when his picture comes up. Thanks Oscar for magical times.

  • Hi Oscar! You are a Disney legend! My brother SteveR has worked at the Plaza Inn just down Main Street from Oscar for 30 years and loves Oscar and his amazing magical spirit! Whenever my husband George and I are in the park we just have to stop in and give Oscar a hug and have his wonderful food. What a smile you have! Thank you, Oscar, for all the magical memories you have given us and all the cast and guests you have influenced. May God bless you and your family. Much Love, George and Nancey. <3

  • Congratulations Oscar! Love to hear stories like this about cast members who can keep on doing what they do Best!

  • We love Oscar! I try to eat breakfast at the cafe at least once each time I visit. I always order his special! mmmmmmmm

  • WOW, Oscar is an absolute treasure!! Breakfast and a visit with Oscar are always on our must do list when we visit the park. Our family is blessed to have become friends with many cast members over the 40 years we have been visiting the Park and we’re glad Oscar is on that special list!! It goes without saying that people are the heart of any business. The entire crew at Carnation Cafe is great and we enjoy them all. With Disneyland the cast members transcend business and make you feel like family. Perhaps that’s why we always say “we’re home” when we walk across the square and head down Main Street!!

    Thanks Walt, for giving us this wonderful place,

    Mike in Arizona

  • What a joy this man is to meet. Friendly and engaging…everything that makes Disneyland what it is supposed to be. He even shared his potato recipe with us while visiting ‘his’ restaurant one morning. I had no idea he has been there so long. Wow! Thanks for sharing this article!

  • Our last experience with Oscar was one of those rare, seminal moments when I knew I was right where I was supposed to be!

    Yesterday was the first day of this years’ park trip, and my eight year-old son insisted on Carnation Cafe for lunch. After we were seated, a lovely man in full chef’s regalia started playing with my four year-old daughter, pretending that a little bird was landing in her hair. She was enchanted, and kept turning around, giggling, “That’s not a birdie, Chef, you’re teasing me!” She’s not usually that friendly (trust me), and just found something to love about him.

    As we were getting ready to leave, my phone chirped. I picked it up and noticed that it was a tweet from Disneyland. It was about a Chef named Oscar who had worked at Disneyland for 54 years. I turned around a peeked at the name embroidered on our Chef’s jacket – lo and behold, it’s Oscar! I stood up and whispered to him that he’s famous and showed him the tweet. I have no idea if he could figure out what I was talking about, but he smiled even bigger. Another unexpected magical Disney moment.

  • WOW! I used to work with Oscar at Carnation from 78-81. He’s a great guy. very patient with the teenagers. Great cook!! My family always stop and see him for the photos and food. Nice to see the blog about Oscar.

  • Breakfast at the Carnation cafe has become a first-day tradition for my family. The food is great and so is the service. We usually stop in for lunch, too. Chef Oscar’s tableside visits are an extra special treat! Looking foward to our next visit in April!

  • Chef Oscar is AMAZING!!! It’s not a trip to Disneyland without eating breakfast and having the “Oscar’s Choice”. He is the kindest, sweetest man. And LOVE hearing his stories. He certainly makes us feel special when he says he remembers us.

  • OMG, in November (it was my b-day, that’s how I remember) my friends and I had lunch there and Oscar visited our table, I didn’t realize he’s *famous*! He was very nice and wanted to know how we enjoyed our meal. It was great, of course–I always get the Loaded Baked Potato Soup with the sandwich on pretzel bread. I LOVE that soup! I will have to look out for him next time I go. And wow! he gives the recipe for the soup out? I want!

  • This is so awesome for the past two years Chef Oscar has sat down at my breakfast table when I’ve been there for my birthday and talked. He gave me the potatoe recipe as a birthday present because I loved them so much!

  • I forgot to add that I hope when Oscar decides to retire, there is a window on main street with his name on it. He is truly a Disney Legend.

  • We absolutely love Oscar! It’s so great to see this article about him! Everytime we visit (at least 5 times a year) we always eat at Carnation Cafe so we can visit with our friend, Oscar! Best Cast Member by far! If you haven’t had the joy of meeting him, please do! Such an amazing man! Can’t wait to see him next week! :)

  • We love Oscar! We see him every time we’re there–once for breakfast, once for lunch. Can’t leave without the baked potato soup! He’s always so great about giving us recipes and posing for pictures.

    Oscar, you’re the best!

  • Yes! When my husband and I visited, he had just started culinary school. Husband ordered Eggs Benedict. My husband asked for the recipe for the hollandaise, as he had not perfected it yet, and Oscar came out and talked him through it! My husband has been the master of sauces ever since.

  • I will come and eat there in 2 weeks!

  • Carnation Cafe is my favorite place for breakfast during my once a week visit. I love when Oscar comes over to greet me and teases me about how many books or crossword puzzles I brought to do while I enjoy my wonderful breakfasts there.

  • Past Cast member that worked at Canation Main Strett, this man taught me how to cook. What a great teacher and I owe him a debt of gratitude. Thanks for everything you taught be, live long and prosper. Jerry C. Cast Member 1980-1984

  • Oscar is awesome!!! See him ofter at Carnation at breakfast time! Thank you, Oscar!!

  • Mr. Martinez has had a remarkable career at the Disneyland. He’s part of what makes Disneyland so special. Kudos to Oscar and thanks for so many years of great service.

  • OMG! yes!<3 love this man! My dad and I have a picture with him. Hes so sweet!

  • My family loves Oscar. It is such a treat when he visits our table and poses for pictures. On one visit my daughter mentioned that his bacon was the best ever, he smiled then told her his “secret” way to make it perfect. He also gives out the recipie for Loaded Baked Potato Soup and autographs it. Little things like this make Disneyland so special to me.

  • This is so great to have Oscar featured on the Parks blog. I was at Disneyland in November with 14 other ladies and on the last day in the park 3 of my friends, my oldet daughter and I saw Oscar waving hello to people as they entered Main Street. I had recently seen him featured on a television show about Disney and so we stopped to talk to him. He was so kind and even took the time to take his picture with all of us! It was so wonderful to meet the cast member who has nearly been there since the beginning of the park. He just confirms to me that there is something truly magical about Disneyland!

  • YES, Of course, Love Him!! I have pics with him, and I ALWAYS try to eat lunch when I am there…

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