Wednesday, September 07, 2005

General Pickett's Buffets - Gettysburg, PA

In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania you will find General Pickett’s Buffets. It is located at 571 Steinwehr Avenue just diagonally across from the main entrance to the Gettysburg National Park entrance. Now, the buffet is not owned by General Pickett. It is named for the Confederate General who led Pickett’s Charge across the field that is just opposite the restaurant. This is a privately owned restaurant and it is in the lower level of a theatre that features Civil War performances and a gift shop. There is parking in the rear of the building and the entrance to the restaurant is also at the rear. The restaurant is called Buffets but this is the only location. I presume that the plural refers to the three buffet tables or the different lunch and dinner buffets.

As you enter the restaurant the front lobby walls are covered in photographs of the filming of the feature motion picture, Gettysburg. These and other photographs that decorate the restaurant have been taken by one of the servers who works here. A few years ago the restaurant played the movie soundtrack as their background music and the two cd’s seemed to repeat over and over. I liked it but I am sure someone not familiar with the movie or who is not as much of a Civil War buff must have thought it excessive. I would guess that eventually it must have driven the employees crazy. They no longer play the soundtrack but there is quiet music playing as you dine. The restaurant is small as is the buffet. It is a favorite of locals, tourists who wander in as they finish touring the battlefield, and by reenactors who come following the Civil War living history events that happen often in the area.

You are seated at your table by a host and a server comes to take your drink orders. Soft drinks are extra but are unlimited. There is also beer and wine. The dinner buffet costs $9.95 per adult. Drinks are $0.80. There is a lunch buffet for $5.95 with different selections.

The first buffet table has three different soups, chili, nachos, mixed green salad and toppings, prepared salads, fresh melon, canned fruit, puddings, and jello. There is also a basket of hot corn bread. To the side of that table are two breads and a serving bowl of peanut butter.

The hot entrée and sides table features two specialties of the restaurant – barbecue pork ribs in a good sauce and fried catfish chunks. There are two carved meats – roast beef and ham. There is baked pollock, baked chicken, spicy seafood creole, rice, potatoes, pasta, corn, baked beans, string beans, summer squash mix, carrots, sauerkraut, and other items.

The desert bar offers pies and a large assortment of layer cakes including German chocolate cake, apple walnut crumb cake, and others. There is no ice cream.

The buffet includes all you care to eat of all that is offered. The food is very good. The ribs are some of the best that I have had at a buffet restaurant. Everything is “homemade”. Trays are regularly refilled. Service is very good and the server was very pleasant with conversation. Our server was the photographer and in addition to that talent he knows a lot about the battlefield, answering questions from the diners. Used dishes were removed quickly and fresh drinks kept coming. If you want to switch to coffee at dessert, you may. The restaurant is well maintained and clean.

While dining a couple at a table near us seemed to only have the salad bar and we heard the server offer them the dessert table for only a dollar more. There is no indication that the salad bar alone is offered as an option, but if you are just interested in salad, ask.

There are a number of restaurants in this small town, but other than the usual fast food places, this is by far the most reasonable. There is also a free frequent diner’s card that gives a 10% discount when you come again and gives you a free eleventh meal. Not bad! You get it from the cashier as you pay your check and leave. Whenever I am in Gettysburg, I have dinner here. My wife who is a picky eater is happy too. When reenactors are in town you will see Union and Confederate soldiers sitting side by side enjoying a good meal. If you are in Gettysburg – or nearby – you must try General Pickett’s Buffets.

The lunch buffet is served from 11:30 am to 3:15 pm Mondays through Saturdays – not on Sundays. Dinner is served from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Monday to Saturday, and 11:30 am to 7:00 pm on Sundays. There is no website. Their phone number is 717-334-7580.


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Anonymous said...

My experience at General Pickett's for dinner was of a limited selection and stale, overcooked food. It was not very good at all. There was a wedding going on in the other half of the room at the same time, which may have affected the attention to the buffet that night.

Robert A said...

True - the selection is limited. As to stale and overcooked, that has not been my experience in the number of times that I have been there. The restaurant is very small to handle a wedding and regular service.

Shannon, hostess said...

I would like to thank you, Robert, for your concise and complimentary review of our restaurant. Your information is very complete, and in its information, mostly correct. I am glad that you are continuing to enjoy your experiences with us and making good use of your Regulars' Club card. As to the comments posted by "Anonymous", I am sorry to hear that this person did not so much enjoy their experience. While the wedding may have affected their enjoyment to some extent, it is doubtful that any of our food was "stale". We are very vigilant about such matters. Our establishment has a seating capacity of 200, and we regularly host banquets and large tour groups. This is not an unusual occurence. Once again, thank you, Robert. I will very soon be uploading the premier of our web site.