Friday, December 29, 2006

OCB Buys Ryans and Other Snippets

This got past us when it happened this past July but I have just learned (as printed in the St. Paul Business Journal) that Buffets, Inc., the company that operates Old Country Buffet, bought out Ryans Restaurants. The Ryans chain was seeing financial difficulties and Buffets, Inc. bought the chain through the New York-based financial group that owns Buffets, Inc. The official word is that the two chains will be operated independently. Let's hope so. Let's also hope that there are no OCB influences that make their way into Ryans. Ryans is the superior chain (despite the financial problems they were apparently having).

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Old Country Buffet is about to embark on another of their special featured menus. This time it is focused around fish. Of course, they could not resist in bringing back some of those awful "Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp" favorites. I am assuming this will be replacing the currently featured "Steakhouse Steak", which is as close to a steakhouse steak as a McDonald's hamburger is. Actually, that is not being fair to a McDonald's hamburger - which is better than an OCB steak. The little sign on the table only said starting soon and did not say when. As was done with "Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp" and "Steak, Steak, Steak", I am assuming that "Fish, Fish, Fish" will only be offered on certain nights. (Don't know what nights, yet.)

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In August 2006 I wrote about a restaurant in North Babylon, NY called China Buffet City. I was looking for something different tonight so we took the drive back there. As this is a Friday night we got to see what the Friday/weekend dinner offerings were. My review of August still stands with a few exceptions. We got there at about 7:00 pm and the place was crowded. (A good sign, as the restaurant was near empty on that Tuesday night in August.) We did not have to wait. The restaurant is large. The price is still the same - $13.99 for weekends - which is now equal with most of the other Chinese buffets in this area. The weekday price is still higher at $12.99.

There were weekend additions to the menu. They had crab leg clusters and there were two types of steak. One of the steaks was on the grill bar and was cut pieces of steak. The other steak was on the buffet table and this was called Mongolian Steak. It was broiled, thick slices of beef round with a lot of seasoning on the outside of each piece, including way too much salt. There was a brownish-yellow sauce on the side that I did not try. Other than this nothing else seemed different.

Some of the minor problems still persist. There were more signs identifying dishes, but several of the signs were mis-placed. The Sushi chef was there when we first came in, but half way through the meal he packed up and left, leaving what he had made for the taking, but when that was gone the Sushi was done for the night - and the restaurant was still opened for dinner for almost three more hours. Some of the fried appetizers are a bit over greasy. They are good, but they drip oil (not so good).

While we were there two men were talking about the restaurant and comparing it to East - and that this is not as good. That is true, but it is half the price of East on the weekend. I still recommend China City Buffet. I have not been so happy with the never changing (except for the worst) Grand China Buffet in Farmingdale and this was a pleasant diversion. For the same price on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, the China Buffet City is far better.

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Did anyone get a buffet gift certificate for the holidays?

Everyone have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! See ya in 2007!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude OCB steak is real top sirlion its only on a flatgrill which makes it tough. And We at Buffets have actually converted alot of their stuff to ours

Robert A said...

Just goes to show what can done to "real top sirloin". The flatgrill may make it tough but sending that overdone steak out to sit in a steamer for a period of time only makes it more overdone. If you are taking a lesson from Ryans then start grilling to your customer's order.

AND if Corporate Buffets, Inc is reading this site then let yourselves be known and pay attention to the miriad of problems that are noted here about OCB (or perhaps the OCB locations that have been identified here.

I have nothing against OCB - it is the only buffet chain local to me, and I dine there frequently, but I have to say that my "local" OCB has real problems. Read through the articles from the beginning to the present and you will see what they are.

If you have converted "stuff" from Ryans to OCB the customers would never know it - there is nothing like Ryans at the OCB's that I have gone to. On the other hand there are a lot of OCB's faults showing up at Ryans.