Lucky Nugget Saloon is a counter service restaurant at Disneyland Paris in Thunder Mesa serving burgers, fish, and ribs in an environment reminiscent of the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland and Diamond Horseshoe at Walt Disney World, with the Paris version being the most elaborate and lavish of the bunch.
I’m a huge fan of Thunder Mesa, and its elaborate backstory. This backstory ties together the entire land (technically, it’s known as Frontierland) in a way that gives it some serious depth, but without feeling contrived. You can ascertain parts of the story simply by experiencing the land, but there are (ahem) nuggets tucked away in details that reward those who slow down and really pay attention.
Unlike something like Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama, the backstory here doesn’t feel like a forced layer of “detail” to explain away cheapness, nor is it unnecessary fluff. It is strikingly organic, and I think that’s largely because Thunder Mesa has significant depth in terms of physical details and grandeur (between Phantom Manor and the most elaborate Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, plus the gorgeous restaurants and shops, I cannot fathom the budget for this land). You can get the basic gist of Thunder Mesa’s story here, but additional details are informed by the actual attractions, shops, and restaurants themselves.
Lucky Nugget continues this tradition of well-executed backstories, and has one solid menu item, too…
As for the story of Lucky Nugget Saloon, it’s ‘lucky’ because its founder, Miss Diamond Lil charmed a miner into giving her a guided tour of Big Thunder Mountain and during the tour had the good fortune of finding a golden nugget the size of a loaf of bread.
She thus decided to create Thunder Mesa’s grandest Western saloon, founded in 1858, where patrons could kick back and enjoy the most ‘foot-stomping, hand-clapping show west of the rockies’ with Miss Diamond Lil as the main show-girl. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the basic premise. (Details of this backstory are pulled from Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality – you can see photos and concept art of Lucky Nugget Saloon on pages 110-113.)
Lucky Nugget Saloon is somewhat similar to the table service Silver Spur Steakhouse next door, with both defined by their masculine woods and ornate detail-work. Unlike the whites and light tones used in the Diamond Horseshoe at Disneyland, the darker colors of Lucky Nugget Saloon are meant to evoke warmth, beer, and bourbon, especially in winter.
Lucky Nugget is gorgeous, from the ornamentation on the lamps to the woods to the stained glass to even the trim and the ceiling throughout the restaurant. The highlight for me is definitely the stunning mural behind the stage, beautifully depicting scenes from the history of Thunder Mesa. As is the case with most restaurants at Disneyland Paris, Lucky Nugget Saloon has transformed over the years, going from a dinner show to a buffet to modified counter service restaurant, with the stage no longer being used.
Speaking of it being a modified counter service restaurant, it’s sort of like Be Our Guest Restaurant at lunch, in this regard. In my experience at Disneyland Paris, this is one of the few restaurants that is consistently open (on any given day, 50% or more of the restaurants in the park are closed), with a line forming outside of the restaurant waiting to go inside and order, with two ordering stations immediately inside. Once you order and pay, you’re directed to a seat where you sit and wait for your food to be brought out to you.
The menu is ridiculously simple, with only three choices: Pork Spare Ribs, Angus Cheeseburger, or Fish & Chips in a set that includes a soft drink (or beer for added charge), fries or salad, and ice cream. When I last visited, each of these options cost 18 Euro. That’s presently around $20, which is above average for Disneyland Paris counter service (a set meal is in the ~16 Euro range at most other places I saw–I assume you’re paying a bit extra here for the table service). Suffice to say, dining at Disneyland Paris is across the board more expensive than in Walt Disney World or Disneyland for comparable options. Budget accordingly if you’re planning a trip.
I’ve had two separate meals at Lucky Nugget Saloon: the burger and the pork spare ribs. I didn’t photograph the burger the first time, but as best I could tell, the meat was virtually identical to the burger I had at Cafe Hyperion. Likewise, the fish & chips looked virtually identical to those I had at the Mr. Toad themed restaurant, Toad Hall. Above is a photo of the standard Disneyland Paris Angus Cheeseburger. This burger is slightly below the quality of a Walt Disney World or Disneyland burger, but the real downside is that there are no toppings that you can use to mask the taste of the dry burger. I’d recommend avoiding it.
Ordering the Angus Cheeseburger would be especially crazy with those Pork Spare Ribs on the menu. I find most counter service foods (and there are probably fewer than 10 different distinct foods available across the park) at Disneyland Paris to be nearly inedible, but the Pork Spare Ribs are a beacon of light in an otherwise bleak culinary landscape.
The Pork Spare Ribs are not only good, with tender meat and a light, smokey flavor, but the portion size is actually quite large. They also have a good texture, with a thin, crispy layer of meat on the exterior. The potential downside for some is that there is some fat to them. The curly fries and onion rings here are also pretty good, making this one of the best meal options inside Disneyland Paris.
The ice cream sundae is also pretty good, but it’s nothing to write home about. Pretty much standard ice cream with some syrup on top. I liked it, but it’s basic.
Overall, Lucky Nugget Saloon is a good option as far as counter service in Disneyland Paris goes thanks to the Pork Spare Ribs. If you’re wanting a burger or fish and chips, there are cheaper options around the park for pretty much the same thing. Note that the outdoor queue here means you could be standing outside in the cold (depending upon the time of year), and although I really like the ambiance here, it’s (probably) a shadow of its former self without the stage show. Also worth noting, if you have yet to visit Disneyland Paris, is that pretty much every counter service restaurant is extravagant one way or another in terms of design. I do consider this one of the Top Themed Restaurants at Disneyland Paris, but they are pretty much all well-themed. If you’re visiting during a less-busy time of year, your options may be extremely limited, though (50% of restaurants closed is during a normal time–during my recent visit more like 75% were closed).
For the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Want to see more photos or read about Disneyland Paris in agonizing detail? Check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Report! Now it’s time to hear from you! Have you dined at Lucky Nugget Saloon? Are you a fan? What about other Disneyland Paris restaurants? If you haven’t been to Disneyland Paris, does this restaurant look interesting to you? Your comments are half the fun, so please share any questions or feedback about dining in Disneyland Paris that you have in the comments!