Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, comes a new place where you can waste away with kids and a cold limey beverage: the new Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville at Universal Studio’s Hollywood’s CityWalk.  Now Parrot Heads (and those who love them) can nosh on yummy comfort food in a tropically-themed eatery that’ll make you feel like you’re on vacation, all-year-round. Read on for all the details:

photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

Where is Margaritaville, Anyway?
Well, the new one (the first in California) is located on the eastern end of the Citywalk just next to the iFly indoor skydiving center (which is a blast to watch if you’ve got the time). Margaritaville is a natural addition to Universal’s food and shopping mecca. Step inside and you’ll feel like you’ve checked into an island resort, with thatched enclaves, indoor and outdoor seating and a bevy of beachy Buffet songs wafting over the sound system.

Snake your way around the beach hut bar to your table (to the delight of your kids, you can dine on a surfboard or choose a table with a nautical theme) and settle in beneath a flat screen TV broadcasting either surf videos or Buffet concerts. The music makes for an easy dinner with little ones, and whether it’s the Margaritaville house band strumming island tunes or the endless Buffet playlist, it’s the perfect amount of noise for a noisy family. Your talkative tots can chatter (and scream, and whine) away and nobody will notice.

Tip: Got a big group? Try to score a seat in the center boat, a private table-for-10 by the bar that’s designed to look like a standalone fishing boat.

photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

Look Up! 
What do balloon-twisting stilt-walkers have to do with Jimmy Buffet? Well, to be honest, we never figured that out! But Margaritaville has its own dedicated duo of them at your service. Just flag them down and your mini can have a blow-up memento to take home.

Tip: If you want your kid to sport the coolest hairdo in Hollywood (and you’ve got a few tipping bucks to spare), ask for the “balloon mohawk.” Your kid will love you for it.

photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

You Drink Margaritas.  What Do You Eat?
You can’t go wrong with comfort food, especially when it’s served up with a tropical island flare. Kids menu items include the junior-sized “Cheeseburger In Paradise,” fish & chips, chicken tenders, and fried shrimp. Of course, your tots don’t have to limit themselves to the kids menu; the adult menu is basically comprised of glorified beach bar food, so kids of all ages can enjoy almost everything Margaritaville has to offer.

Best bet: Grownups should get a burger (any of which can be done with veggie or turkey patties), or try the fish sandwich, which consists of panko-breaded catch of the day golden-fried, topped with sliced tomato, cilantro lime coleslaw and a side of jalapeño tartar sauce.  Kids will pretty much devour the kids menu, according to their usual preferences.

Tip: While you’re waiting for your food, see if your kids can spot all the seafaring birds scattered throughout the space. 

photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

What Else Would You Drink Here?
Nothing says the islands like a frosty cocktail served with a straw (and, in this case, housed in a 22-ounce souvenir blender cup). Mom and Dad will want to order a margarita (the watermelon one is our fave) or one of the various pina coladas and fruit daiquiris; while kiddos will love the “Parakeet Punch,” a house-made lemonade infused with pineapple juice, strawberry and banana purées.

Tip: Be prepared to shell out an extra $5.95 for the light-up souvenir cup. It’s just a trademarked plastic cup with lights at the bottom, but your little beach bums will be begging for it. 

photo: Melissa Heckscher

The Store
Of course, no CityWalk spot would be complete without the option to buy stuff to take home. Margaritaville’s store isn’t huge, but it’s got the token T-shirts, keychains, and shot glasses that’ll satisfy most Buffet fans. As for the kiddos, there aren’t many items that’ll grab their fancy except for some funky shark hats, an old-fashioned island game, and a collection of small stuffed parrots. Which is kind of a mercy, because there’s a lot of other stores at CityWalk where you get to practice your “No”-saying skills.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Like This Dessert Shop
If you can get out of Margaritaville without ordering the key lime pie or the brownie sundae, head over to the neighboring “It’s Sugar” candy store. Why? Because, simply: this place will blow your little sugar babies’ minds. With floor-to-ceiling jelly bean bins, the world’s largest boxes of Sour Patch Kids, and a selection of sweets that spans both time and the globe, your kids will be in candy heaven.

photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

Margaritaville
Universal CityWalk
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City
Online: margaritavillehollywoodca.com

Have you been to Margaritaville? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

—Melissa Heckscher