Friday, November 18, 2005

A Buffet for the Holidays

What better a restaurant than a buffet for a holiday feast? There you, your family, and your friends will have all they could ever want to eat and you, your mom, or your spouse will not have to cook. Some singles with families to go to will have a wonderful time at a buffet. You get all of the holiday dinner that you want, festive surroundings, and you will be with many people celebrating the holiday with you.

Many buffet restaurants are open for the Holidays and some add special entrees to match the spirit of the holiday. Thanksgiving is upon us and a number of buffets will be serving the turkey and all of the trimmings. Usually, if there is a special weekend price at the buffet restaurant, that is what they charge for the holiday. Most of the chain buffets will serve the holiday dinner at the usual cost. The menu is holiday oriented and most of them remain open for holidays such as Christmas. Some of the non-chain restaurants are not open on Christmas but are open Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

I know of two buffets in Pennsylvania in Lancaster County that are planning special Thanksgiving dinners. One is the Bird in Hand Family Restaurant and they will be serving on Thanksgiving with a special Turkey buffet menu. This restaurant has been reviewed (positively) in a separate post. Another restaurant in that area - The Leola restaurant - is also serving a special Thanksgiving all you can eat dinner in two different ways. Now I am hesitant to mention this restaurant again as my review of my recent buffet experience there was not good. However, I have been dining here for a long time and despite the change in ownership, the menu dining had not changed at all. For Thanksgiving they are serving a buffet Turkey dinner and a family style Thanksgiving dinner. We have not talk much about family style on this site. It is another way of a restaurant presenting an all you can eat meal. Instead of you going up to the buffet bar for your meal, servers bring platters of food to your table. The platters are passed around and they are refilled as they are emptied. This is the answer to those who want to remain seated throughout the meal and be served. You get all that you care to eat and it is served to you - just like home. The family style dinner on Thanksgiving at the Leola Restaurant will be served in the catering room on the lower floor, while the buffet dinner will be served in the main dining room of the restaurant from the regular buffet table. There is a special price for the Thanksgiving dinner - and the buffet and family style prices are different. Advanced reservations are necessary at both of these restaurants for the Thanksgiving Dinner.

Some restaurants that are not buffet or all you can eat restaurants create special smorgasbord dinners for the holidays. One such restaurant is on Long Island in New York and it is the Milleridge Inn located in Hicksville, NY. (Yes, there is a Hicksville) This restaurant does this not only for Thanksgiving, but also for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Easter. They use their catering building, while the main reataurant serves from the menu. The prices here are not cheap. There is supposed to be a minimum of 6-8 guests for each table, but we have seen less. Reservations are a must. The price includes the smorgasbord tables and a single desert selection. Drinks are separate and are charged at bar prices. There is a cocktail bar. The offering is "festive" with a raw seafood bar that includes small, chilled lobster tails, clams and oysters on the half shell, and cocktail shrimp. There is a salad bar of greens and "fancy" prepared salads. There is a pasta station. There is a long smorgasbord table of entrees, side dishes, and meat carvings. The room is decorated for the holiday. The server must bring your drinks - no refills, and your desert. I have dined here on Christmas Eve and on Easter. Frankly, I do not like it - it is too expensive, the service is poor, and if something runs out it may not be replaced. There is no complaint about the quality of the food - it is well prepared. It is just that the people working really do not want to be working on a holiday and they make it obvious. (As this restaurant has become a family holiday tradition beyond my control, I may be back there again this year and I will give a detailed report after Christmas Eve 2005.)

A number of the Chinese buffets have holiday dinners. Most do not vary their usual menus so do not expect carved turkey and stuffing. One of the best holidays to go to a Chinese buffet is New Year's Eve where for a special price you get a buffet dinner and a New Year's Eve party with entertainment and music.

So if you do not feel like staying home for a holiday dinner - GO TO A BUFFET!

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