Because, basically, the park has a lot of strictly burger selling venues.....and this is a chance to do something a bit more creative with it and offer potentially good food. First off, I advocate remodeling and enclosing the upper deck, encompassing the service area, kitchen part, and seating in one building, with windows framed with woodwork to view the Rivers of America. The lower level would remain open and basically unchanged. A few ideas for the new entrance to the restaurant, to be renamed Wilderness Lodge, seeing as the bears of the title are long gone, and the current ursine resident of the area isn't very backwoodsy....
Something along those lines, but more rustic in feel. The current carved bear "waiter" statue could still reside out front, along with a new sign for the facility. Inside, design wise, would be obviously wood and slightly warped boards, similar to the Splash Mountain first part of the queue, rather rustic and lived in, with carvings of animals done in the style of Song of the South here and there, at ceiling supports, beams, and etc. Also included could be a couple nods to the departed Country Bear Jamboree, in the form of Max, Buff and Melvin getting a new home right out in public view on one of the walls of the dining rooms. They would not speak, but would be animatronic...occasionally looking to one another and winking, for example. Something subtle. Besides the new decor style and enclosing the upper dining area, the menu would be completely overhauled as well.
Shifting away from the standard burgers, the new main item would be made-from-scratch chili produced at the restaurant, along with a few other side items, including a burger (chili optional) for those who want some kind of beefy sandwich from the place still.
Brer Fox's Green Chili: Pork shoulder, tomatillos, jalapeno. Served with fresh made flour tortillas.
Big Al's Grilled Steak Chili: Barbecue sauce, sauteed onions and bell peppers, grilled and marinated steak tips with traditional beans and tomato. Served with choice of cornbread or country biscuit.
Brer Rabbit's Vegetarian Southwest Chili: Grilled corn, beans, tomatoes and tomatillos with crispy tortilla strips for garnish. Served with choice of cornbread or country biscuit.
In addition, there would be a chili toppings bar (self-service), featuring items such as onion, green onions, sour cream, real bacon crumbles, shredded cheese, etc.
Chicken and Pepperjack Cheese Bites: Shredded chicken and melted cheese alongside sweet onions and bread crumbs, dipped in a light batter and fried.
Wilderness Lodge Burger: 1/2 lb of premium beef served with natural cut cheddar cheese and homemade barbecue sauce. Also available as a meatless patty.
Fried pickle chips: Buttermilk battered dill pickle rounds, fried golden brown and served with choice of dipping sauce.
Brer Frog's Chili: Mild spices, fresh tomatoes and beans, and available with or without ground beef. Served with apple fries and cornbread.
Owl's Grilled Cheese: Grilled cheese sandwich.
Critter Country Apple Fritters
Laughin' Place Funnel Cake
Apart from these, there would be the usual suspects these days for the counter service locations: apples, rice krispy treats, cookies, soft drinks, etc etc.
I feel the changing of the decor to be a little more distinctive and themed, along with a fresh, interesting new menu with a kind of "rustic" food item such as chili (popular in the American southwest) would be a nice change overall for the park, and offer a interesting dining alternative. Your thoughts?