One of the three major restaurants to open with the park, Gingerbread Fancy was designed to be the most opulent. The graceful arches of the porch were to be adorned with an array of lighted scrolls in all the colors of the rainbow, and an interior of fanciful decorative touches.
was part of Warner LeRoy's original proposal and was to be built on the
tip of the peninsula which is now home to the Log Flume. The restaurant
was described as follows: "The Gingerbread Garden Restaurant
overlooking the Animal Touching Area, Small World, on the water’s edge,
a beautiful café with food served by Hansel, Gretel and their fairy tale
Great Adventure was designed at the same time that Warner LeRoy was redesigning Tavern on the Green in New York's Central Park, and the fanciful vision of Gingerbread Fancy in many ways echoes the design of the extravagant landmark restaurant, though in a scaled down and less opulent version more suited to a theme park.
The building itself was a basic rectangular box with a covered porch on three sides. The basic steel frame of the building was covered with elaborate columns both inside and out, giving the pillars a more substantial look.
The porch was constructed of a series of steel arch frames, hiding the building's flat roof. Originally the roof of the porch was a colorful canvas with the images of leafs in autumn colors on the underside which faced diners.
Gingerbread Fancy was suppose to be a sit-down table service facility but a decision to change it to counter service was made just prior to the park's opening in the hopes of increasing the restaurant's capacity. During the restaurant's first seasons, access to the dining area was limited to just the side entrances- the front stairs did not exist, nor did an opening in the patio's railing. This was to better regulate the flow of guests had it been a sit down restaurant.
The building's beautiful arched porch roof was accentuated with elaborate scrolls covered with thousands of small lights in an array of colors, making the building look even more spectacular after dark.
The inside of the building featured columns of scroll in graduated sizes which originally served a hangers for large ferns, bringing added ambience to the indoor dining area.
The restaurant windows were designed with peacock style panes which echoed the original design of the center of the neighboring Super Round Up and later the Fortune Festival games area. The arched roof design was originally supposed to have also been echoed in the roof structure of the nearby Dream Street Skyride station, but the building was never completed.
With Time Warner's acquisition of Six Flags, throughout the park great efforts were made to improve the theme aspects of all the park's structures. Gingerbread Fancy was given a makeover as part of the improvements throughout the park, taking on the new name Granny's Chicken.
The makeover of the restaurant included bringing in a turn of the century style look, featuring a warmer and more homey feeling with new curtains, stained glass and antique items throughout. Original plans called for the addition of elaborate booths with stained glass backs, but plans were changed and when the old metal furniture which used to make horrible scraping sounds on the terrazzo floors was replaced with new wooden tables and chairs adding additional warmth to the interior.
As part of the Granny's makeover, a "Granny" character was added who was often found in her rocking chair knitting and talking to her guests and handing out Tootsie Roll candies. Later, Granny was replaced with Granny from the Looney Toons cartoons, as the park added a Granny body puppet to go with Tweety and Sylvester.
Granny's porch was used for a couple of seasons as a loading area for the park's hayride, and featured hot beverages and treats.
Several modifications to the building have occurred over the years including a major modification to the exterior walls which had originally continued to the floor. A table height knee wall was added in the earliest modifications, along with replacement of the tall doors with more standard height doors all around.
The original canvas roof on the porch was replaced with a permanent roof, eliminating the need to replace the canvas periodically.
The furnishings inside and outside have been replaced three times, with the original scroll design wooden soda fountain chairs being replaced with heavy steel "park bench" style seating. These chairs were replaced with new wooden chairs in 1995, and again in 2005 with the furniture still in use today.
The removal of the ornate interior columns occurred as part of the conversion of the restaurant to Granny's.
The building's restroom facilities were modified as part of the transition to Granny's, with the entrance doors being moved from outside on the porch to inside the building.
The restaurant's chandeliers and sconces echoed the scrolls of the original interior columns and porch roof.
Originally all the lighting fixtures between the windows of the building were positioned with their glass domes hanging downwards to complement the facilities larger chandeliers. Around 1980 these were inverted so that the glass globes instead pointed skyward.
The original wooded railing for the porch was replaced with a white metal railing.
New signage was added to the restaurant in 1995, complete with lighted scrolls to complement the original gingerbread design.
Over the years Gingerbread Fancy/Granny's has become one of the park's most unique and distinguishing landmarks.
For a part of the 2008 season, Granny's became home to an all you can eat buffet, featuring all the favorite foods the restaurant served, but returned to the standard menu for the 2009 season.