The Dancing Crane Cafe: Goodbye Zoo-by Tuesday


The Bronx Zoo boasts impressive animals, but not eats.

By Caitlyn Letterii and Patrick Hood

The Bronx Zoo boasts impressive animals, but not eats (Courtesy of Caitlyn Letterii and Patrick Hood).
The Bronx Zoo boasts impressive animals, but not eats (Courtesy of Caitlyn Letterii and Patrick Hood).

Join Caitlyn Letterii (Both of the Kratt Brothers) and Patrick Hood (Zoboomafoo) as they explore and critique the cheap eats available around the Bronx and Rose Hill campus.

With the weather getting better every day, Fordham students are likely to be getting more mileage out of their free entry to the Bronx Zoo. While visiting this amazing hotspot right in our own backyard, one may find themselves contemplating grabbing a sweet treat or good eat at the Dancing Crane Cafe, located in the heart of the zoo. To help aid your decision, Sweet ‘n’ Sour decided to check it out.

PH: Boy howdy, do I love the Bronx Zoo! The sea lions lounging listlessly on the rocks, the peacocks strutting around like they own the place, the sordid history of putting humans on display (give the name Ota Benga a Google and be prepared to lose a lot of faith in humanity): this place truly has it all when it comes to exhibits. But we all know this; what our readers truly want to know is whether the concession stand at the Dancing Crane Cafe is up to snuff.
CL: It’s all happening at the zoo! I have fond memories of coming here as a kid with my elementary school and even fonder memories coming here as a cool, hip college kid. Fun Fact: The Dancing Crane Cafe is not unique to the Bronx Zoo. If you’re hanging in the Central Park Zoo, you’ll find one there too! Wow!
PH: Two great chances to be some sort of avian Kevin Costner and become Dances with the Cranes. Usually we start our reviews by talking about the service. That’s kind of hard to do here, since it’s really just a glorified concession stand with a queue longer than a giraffe’s neck (six feet on average! You sure learn a lot at the zoo). So instead of boring you with a description of the 15 minute wait in line let’s cut right to the heart of it and give you the lowdown on the Crane’s cooking.
CL: Okay, not to slow things down, but I want to point out that I actually had a great time on the line. I was able to really think about which overpriced item I wanted and admire the souvenir glasses that featured a photo of the world’s saddest looking gorillas. Once you arrive to a server things actually move quite quickly. I ordered nachos, which were ready in approximately two seconds, and was able to get a cup of tap water, on the house!
PH: I was similarly impressed with the speed in which my order (a cheeseburger) was given to me. It took all of 20 seconds for the server to retrieve my made-to-order burger from a heating tray filled with fifteen other burgers. I can only assume that the Dancing Crane Cafe employs some sort of Minority Report-esque precog police psychics to know what I was going to order and have it prepared ahead of time for my convenience. To round out my meal, I got a 16 oz. ice-cold can of Corona since my burger was almost certainly sure to be subpar.
CL: The highlight of the meal was the atmosphere. Sitting outside on a beautiful, sunny day, surrounded by mischievous peacocks and fun facts about American bison, we were truly in paradise! A paradise quickly lost by highly mediocre nachos. They didn’t even put them onto the plate for me… I just got an unopened bag of tortilla chips with lukewarm cheese on the side.
PH: On the other hand, I was floored by my meal. Somehow, the Dancing Crane chefs managed to perfectly recreate the cheeseburger served at all the football games I hated going to in high school! From the melted but no-longer-warm American cheese to the lettuce that had been wilted from an eternity under a heat lamp, the resemblance was uncanny. However, none of that means it was good and, in fact, the burger was very mediocre. There was one bright spot in my meal though, and that was that cool 16 oz can of Corona. As soon as that sweet nectar passed through my lips I was transported to a Southern Californian beach. I could feel the sand between my toes and heard the gentle cawing of seagulls lifted up on ocean breezes as I found my personal, private island of calm in a sea of zoological anxiety.
CL: Alright calm down, Pat. Let’s just do the ratings and hold off on the reminiscing for a minute. I give the Dancing Crane Cafe a Sour Rating 1.5 out of 5 stars. The line was super long, and the food was really expensive and not very good. I wish they were able to recreate the feeling of love and curiosity I get at a zoo into the taste of the food, but they just couldn’t! Call me when they serve warm nachos made with love and fun facts about muskrats, or something. Don’t worry, I still love the zoo and it definitely gets a Sweet Rating of 5/5. The Dancing Crane Cafe just sucks.
PH: I was similarly disappointed with the lack of edutainment value in my meal, especially since the prices were so exorbitant. If I had to say one good thing about the Dancing Crane Cafe, it would be that it is in a zoo, and zoos rule. If I had to say a second good thing, it would be that they stock ice-cold, refreshing Corona products. If I had to say a third good thing, I guess it would be that as far as I know, the Dancing Crane Cafe has no history of putting real humans on display in a zoo exhibit (Re: Ota Benga). For all this the Dancing Crane Cafe gets a Sour rating of 1 out of 5 stars. Seriously, just eat before you go to the zoo. Or after. Just not during.

Overall Recommendations:
You should try the delicious taste of Corona with lime. You should pass on eating here if you can avoid it.

Restaurant Info:
The Dancing Crane Cafe
Address: Inside the Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460
Phone number: (718) 367-1010
Hours: Everyday 10 a.m. -4:30 p.m.
Price: Too expensive