"Taking down" an all-you-can-eat buffet

Entertaining read on the state of all-you-can-eat:

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Our Hometown Buffet closed last fall, so we now have zero American food buffets
I would go there occasionally because it was the only place to find Southern dishes way up here in the left corner of the country.
I think they are closing many of them all around.
We have several partial (lunch or Sunday) buffets of Mexican and Indian and Chinese origin and they seem to do better.
No Golden Corral or Cici’s here in the outback.

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Thanks for your reply, bbqboy.

Here in the great North Central, Indian buffets are plentiful. Not so much Mexican, or Chinese or any other ethnic foods. Golden Corral hasn’t over franchised in my location, nearest is almost 15 miles away, so it has a certain desirability because of savvy marketing. Honestly, if they had a bar I would definitely make the trek occasionally.

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I’m sure there are some, but I cant think of an ayce eat american buffet in nj except for golden corral.

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The only ayce buffets where we live (outer Cape Cod) are Sunday-brunch centered. When I go visit my family in Ohio, I sometimes enjoy an ayce Chinese buffet but the Golden Corral nearby is out of business (replaced by Chinese food). We’re going on a cruise soon. I’ll be curious about the buffet.

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My one experience “dining” at a Cici’s turned out (to me) like one of the crazier scenes from the film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Vowed it would never be repeated. And, it hasn’t. Still, Cici’s has a strong presence in Michigan…

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Mexican buffet? We talking unlimited carnitas? :yum:

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No. More Tex Mex…
But we do have a new place that has a Sunday buffet but I haven’t been yet.
It is much more creative.

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Going to the wayback machine . Early twenties after surfing we would head over to a all you can eat fried chicken and sides . My freind big Carl I believe put them out of business

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I’m real sad to see the buffet scene going down. When I first moved to my current area about 20 years ago, there were 3 buffets (Home Town and 2 Chinese) within a 3 mile stretch of the highway here. Now there’s only 1 Chinese buffet. The only American buffet in like a 15 mile radius is a Golden Corral, which I do enjoy for what it is. Rest are all Chinese/Japanese. I guess there are Indian buffets but they lack that sprawling buffet ambiance which I love.

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I intensely dislike buffets…rows of mediocre food stacked high and sold cheap, and all left to dry out and congeal under the heat lamps. No great loss for me.

The only exception is a local one, called Johnson’s Barbecue or Fred’s Market depending on the location. It’s small batches of housemade Southern food. Its well and truly like going to the church supper, or eating at your Meemaw’s house. The staff hustles continually keeping new dishes coming out, and the small batches means the delicious food stays at the temperature and consistency it’s supposed to be.

Their fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had…and they’re smart enough to offer options. They have AYCE, but there’s also an option to have just one trip…that’s the one I opt for.

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As a light eater I’m the perfect customer for buffets. The challenge is to get me in the door.

I walked into a Golden Corral once and didn’t stay. Too strong an aura of grade school cafeteria.

I’ve been to a number of Indian buffets and enjoy them. At home in Annapolis MD, Fairfax VA, Ft Lauderdale FL, Brooklyn NY, and Aldershot England. The best part for me is the ability to try things without making a huge commitment. The downside is no leftovers at home.

Buffets are a natural for brunch in my opinion.

I think they work pretty well for catered events, especially heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Lots of potlucks–from churches to family reunions to beach boils–are essentially buffets. In that spirit from my constituency I offer Pirhana Potluck

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Very interesting breakdown. I enjoyed reading it.

Yeah, in my area of NJ (and I would say the state as a whole), the American buffet is dead. There are various Chinese/Asian buffets (which range from dreadful to decent to so expensive that they’re not worth it) and every Indian restaurant I know of offers some kind of weekday lunch buffet or an occasional one for dinner, but the place itself is not a buffet.

I remember when I was a child, there was a standard American buffet called Country Buffet? Am I remembering correctly? I think they were a small chain. But now, aside from American restaurants offering a holiday spread or weekend brunch, there are no dedicated buffets.

Now, out in Lancaster County, PA, whole different story! There’s an Amish or Mennonite Buffet on every street it seems. Now there’s an example of how do they make money? Its hard to find one that tops $15. My favorite one in Ronks gets $7.99 for breakfast, $10.00 for lunch, and I believe $14.99 for dinner. Different world out there. Maybe their food costs are lower being so close to (or producing themselves) the meats, vegetables, etc.

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I have been to a few PA Dutch buffets in Lancaster, PA. I’ve never been to one that isn’t crowded with folks from bus tours and guests at the hotels in which they are located. So there is volume and there are people like me who just don’t eat a lot. And I think you are correct about the local sourcing. Also, most of these spots have gift shops which I assume augment their income.

I can’t say I have enjoyed these buffets (PA Dutch food tends to heavy and sweet) but the whoopie pies and ice cream leave me with sweet memories. And yes, I do manage to smuggle a whoopie pie or two out of the buffet in my pocketbook :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Agreed. I try to avoid buffet restaurants. But there are a few local restaurants/inns that do Sunday brunch buffets very well.

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Am I the only one who loves that cafeteria vibe? Something about food halls like that just get me all excited about eating. Some of my best food memories are still from my school cafeteria meals.

Only place I get to experience that now is that random occasion if I’m in a hospital. This might sound stupid but whenever I need to visit a hospital I always take a stroll through the cafeteria even if I’m not eating.

Buffets are a natural for brunch in my opinion.

Indian buffet is my idea of a good time on a Sunday for brunch!

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I’ve gone to hospitals to eat before.
They’re usually pretty good and reasonable since they’re essentially employee cafeterias that the public can visit.

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You have gone to a hospital just to eat?

You sir, are a true American hero.

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Wow, apparently you’ve never eaten in one of my local hospitals. The smell alone is enough to discourage eating for days. Fortunately mom has only been in the hospital twice in the last few years, but my sisters (and BILs) and I bring her food from outside to encourage her to eat. (No, she has not had dietary restrictions.)

And school cafs? My high school (private) was ok. But public grade school/middle school? I literally broke a tooth on a “soft” pretzel and risked detention on a daily basis to go home for lunch across the street . . . and mom was ok with that.

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CJ-
I saw this thread and would be disappointed if you weren’t in it!!! all is well now sir!

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