Friday, December 09, 2005

Leola Restaurant Revisted

A short time ago I wrote a post about the Leola Restaurant in Leola, Pennsylvania on Route 23. I found the buffet to be very disappointing, though I have always liked the restaurant's menu offerings. I made note that the ownership of the restaurant has recently changed.

I visited the restaurant again this week in the afternoon on a Wednesday at lunchtime. I ordered off the menu but I very carefully observed those dining from the buffet and I checked out the buffet bar very closely. What I saw was what I had expected that Sunday night that I had the buffet here. There were the usual buffet items that I was expecting - moist and crisp looking fried chicken, ham balls, and other typical Pennsylvania Dutch-style buffet items. Nothing was dried out. Nothing was sitting in oil or grease. Had this been there that night I would have been delighted.

What is the reason for the difference? It may be that the chef and staff on Sunday are not the same as during the week. This is an area where most local restaurants - buffet restaurants - are closed. This is a very religious area. Also the weekly clientele of this restaurant most likely do not go out to eat on Sunday nights. During the week this restaurant is full of local business people and seniors. Many have been dining and lunching here for years on a regular basis and expect certain things. Those things were missing that Sunday night. They were not missing when I visited here this week - during the week.

The buffet menu also changes from lunch to dinner and at dinner on Wednesday there seemed to be some changes to less common dishes - baked chicken was a feature. It may be that this is a buffet to go to for lunch and not dinner.

I still believe that the new owners who are Greek are a large factor. I overheard a waitress speaking with a customer. She was asked about the cakes in the display case in the lobby. She told them about the usual layer cakes, etc. but then said that she could not even pronounce the names of some of the pastry there - "they are Greek", she said and then made a face. Not too many of these pastries are going to be sold when even the wait staff are not familiar with them or would recommend them. I do not give this owner long to seek to sell this restaurant. It will not be what I believe he would like it to be and that is a dinner-style restaurant. He has now filled the lobby - which was always a very pleasant, homey country atmosphere with gumball machines. (I saw an elderly lady and a four year old girl bring one of the little toy capsules that comes from the machine up to the register and complain about what or the lack of what was inside. She wanted her quarter back. She got it from the nice cashier (not one of the owners or a relative). These are the Pennsylvania Dutch. They do not allow themselves to be taken advantage of and they want what they want.)

By the way, the menu items that we had were just as they always have been - very good. This is another possible indication that the chef during the week is very different than the chef on Sunday.

Well, I revise my comments in my last post about the Leola Restaurant. Give the buffet a try - but only for lunch and during the week or Saturday. If you do, post a comment and let us know how it is.


Anonymous said...

My friend, you are way off on your review. The food at Leola Restaurant is always good off the menu or off the buffet. I think you are just a disgruntled person, who might be a regular at one of the competitors and is upset that Leola Restuarant is causing your favorite place to plummet into nothingness.

Robert A said...

This restaurant is not causing any place to plummet into nothingness. I am actually a regular at this restaurant having eaten here more often than most restaurants in the area. I am also a customer who expects some quality for my dollar - as should everyone.

Did you actually read this article?- 'cause you have missed the point entirely. This article re-reviews a restaurant that I had written about a few months before. No where in this article do I say that the food is not good. In fact I visit this restaurant regularly - and off the menu it is great -and I expected the buffet - which always looked good = to be the same. On the Sunday evening that I tried it, it was not good. Here in this article I made the point that I went to see if things were the same as that Sunday on the buffet table - AND THEY WERE NOT - THEY WERE FAR BETTER and just what I expected it to be when I went to enjoy it for the first review.

I have been there several times since this article. I have been eating here for 30 years. Same good food.

Maybe that particular Sunday night, something was wrong.

I LIKE THIS RESTAURANT! I did like it better before it changed owners - but so far the basic menu is the same so I keep going back.

I am glad that you enjoy it too. Try it on a Sunday night and let us know if it is the same. I would love for it to be.