Lights, Camera, action. TODAY Cafe debuted Wednesday at Universal Orlando Resort. It's designed to feel like stepping onto the iconic TODAY broadcast set.
"When you first come in, you will feel as if you are on the set of Studio 1A. You'll see the stage lights, you'll see the on-air signs," says Mandy Bond. Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations at Universal Orlando Resort.
The cafe will officially open to the public on May 16. with TODAY host Al Roker on hand for the festivities. Al has his Avocado Toast on the menu with a secret ingredient.
“And just to top it off with a little sweetness, we’ve got bread and butter pickles. A little sweet/sour umami kind of thing going on,” says Roker.
The menu is based on what's popular, or TODAY, in the culinary world of where the TV show is based. "In New York, whether it's a great pastrami sandwich that you might get a deli there, or its the avocado toast that's now so mainstream and popular and something Al wanted us to do and create with his signature recipe," Toast Steven Jayson, Corporate Executive Chef at Universal Orlando Resort.
During Wednesday's tour, TODAY host Al Roker made a surprise video appearance which I wasn't ready for as I was holding my microphone and camera high above somebody's head and then got passed another microphone so Al could hear me. Now... my hands were completely full. I love watching Al and tried not to be too excited as I juggled all of my equipment.
"Hi Al, T.A. from WPTV in West Palm. Just wondering, like, what's it going to be like to have a TODAY show set here in Florida? Will that be a cooler, warmer spot for y'all?" I failed to articulate what I meant. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that one more time," Al ask politely.
"What's it going to be like to have a TODAY show set here in Florida? Will that be like a Winter Whitehouse kind of a situation for you guys?" Better... But still failing at my interview.
"Are you asking about the weather?" Roker questions. "Yeah, um, I don't know what it is..." My fellow media chuckle at my horrible performance. As I still try to keep people out of my shot Al says, "A Southern version of the TODAY show stage." Someone in my ear spoke in New York, in New York [manner]," Al clarifies. More laughter from colleges, I decided my story, like Al, should move on.
The Cafe will have a selection of caffeinated beverages that are made exclusively in Orlando for the venue, approved by the TODAY show cast, in authentic TODAY coffee mugs. And a variety of wines which is a nod to the fourth hour of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna... Well... after that messing up that interview... when in Rome... (holds up a wine glass).