Friday, December 28, 2007


This site has chosen THE BEST BUFFET for the year 2007. This buffet surpasses all others. It has been chosen on the basis of consistency over repeated visits, the quality of food, the quantity of food, the quality of service, the quality of cleanliness, the friendliness of staff, and the value received for the money paid for a meal. To be sure that the buffet to be chosen continues to this day to meet the criteria applied I have dined at the restaurant again as recently as this month of December 2007.

The BEST buffet for 2007 is SHADY MAPLE SMORGASBORD located in East Earl, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

I have written about Shady Maple many times on this site. We have had a number of comments written that have agreed with my praise for this restaurant. This is a well known restaurant in an area with a strong tourist trade. It is as much a favorite with local patrons as it is with tourists.

For the benefit of our readers who may not have read the other articles about this buffet and in keeping with this fine distinction as THE BEST, I will describe and review the restaurant and point out what makes this buffet stand out so far beyond the rest.

Shady Maple Smörgåsbord has been in business for many, many years. The current location is just feet away from its origins as a farm stand and then a restaurant. The smaller (yet quite large) original building was closed several years back and a newly built much, much larger building was opened on the same property. The facility that you dine at now is very elegant. It is far beyond what one would expect to find in the middle of a farming and Amish/Old Order Mennonite community. The restaurant is huge with a very large building, a circular drive and more than ample parking for the large crowds that dine here regularly. Enter through the several front entrance doors and you are greeted with a lobby with crystal chandeliers, a large brick fire place, and elegant furnishings that include sofas and side chairs that you would expect to find in the finest furnished home or fanciest hotel. In front of the dining room, separated from the lobby by a half wall partition, there are several cashiers who easily handle the lines of people coming in. At Shady Maple you pay as you enter and your meal and beverage is all inclusive for the price. Shady Maple removes the question of what should I tip by adding a small gratuity to the price when you pay. You leave the cashier and go to a second line to be seated. You are always seated by a hostess - your choice, table or booth (if available).

The dining rooms are spacious. There is a large dining room with two large sections of booths and a large section between with tables. There are private dining rooms along the rear wall for private parties or they are opened when there is a large crowd. There is a second very large dining room beyond the first that is opened whenever needed and not only can this dining room accommodate many more diners, it is also the area that bus groups are seated in. Yes, people come here by the bus load and the restaurant can accommodate a number of buses along with the other diners and you would never know it. The decor of the dining rooms rivals the fanciest of ballrooms. More huge crystal chandeliers light the rooms. In addition to the buffet dining rooms, there are also banquet facilities completely separate from the buffet. Weddings and special occasions are catered here.

Shady Maple serves buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and buffet dinner. This is only a buffet (though there is menu breakfast Monday to Friday during certain times of the year). If you would like a cafeteria-style dining experience go down to the lower level where you will find a complete and large cafeteria restaurant at the back of the gift shop. Shady Maple opens at 5:00 AM. It closes at 8:00 pm - though the dining room and buffet servers remain open until 9:00 pm. The restaurant is always closed on Sundays and it is also closed on Christmas, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. These last two days are unusual for a restaurant in the middle of a tourist area which attracts many visitors on those two Monday holidays.

I am going to concentrate on dinner. I have also been here for lunch - see my article earlier this month. It is equally as good as dinner. Lunch ends at 3:15 pm and is cheaper than dinner by several dollars. Dinner is the main attraction here and each day has a different feature. These features have remained consistent over time and you can be pretty certain to know what to expect on each night of the week and Saturday. Monday night is Steak Night and on the fry grills are Delmonico steaks and New York strip steaks. All of the prices that I will quote include tax and the charged gratuity. All children's prices for ages 4 to 10 years are half of the adult price. Seniors over 60 get a ten percent discount. If it is your birthday, just prove it, and you will eat for FREE. Monday night's price is $14.29. Tuesday night the feature is assorted seafood. This is the most expensive night of the week at $21.65 but the seafood is plentiful! Wednesday night is prime rib and it is cut to your order - rare, medium, or well. The price on Wednesday night is $17.43. Thursday once was called Family Value Night. Now they have dropped that name but it remains the most inexpensive night of the week at $15.99. The feature Thursdays includes grilled, boneless, chicken breasts and breaded shrimp. The feature on Friday includes fried shrimp, salmon, Cajun catfish, and a selection of grilled meats on the grills. The Friday night price is $16.75. Saturday night brings crab cakes, salmon, Cajun catfish, and a selection of grilled meats. From many visits, I know that you will also find other fish being grilled and smoked sausage. The price on Saturday night is $19.03. Now, remember, I said that all of these prices include the sales tax and tip. Take about $2.00 off each price for the actual price of the dinners.

When you go up to the buffet serving area which runs the length of this huge building at the front of the dining rooms you will find four grill areas, two very long double sided salad bars, and then more very long double sided buffet servers that stretch in two directions with the salad bars at the middle. There are five long, double sided buffet servers times two plus two dessert sections at the ends and around the side walls. Each wall in front of the servers holds beverages. You can look at this as two complete buffet service areas next to each other. Many think at first glance that the two sides each have the same items, but that is not correct. While many items are duplicated and the same, there are just as many different items on each side which multiplies the offerings.

When you look for the featured items you are going to find most of them on the four grills - and those grills are cooking several different items each. When you move on to the hot and cold buffet servers you are going to find much, much more. There are a number of more meats, entrees, many vegetables, real mashed potatoes, four soups, chili, a large assortment of salads, both prepared and greens with every imaginable topping. There are carvings - even at lunch including ham and beef briscuit. As this restaurant is located in the heart of the "Pennsylvania Dutch Country" there are a number of local specialties that will change each night. There is always something for everyone to like. If you do not care for the local dishes move on to the many selections of country and American fare. We have never been disappointed at Shady Maple. Even buffet pizza - always on one at of the grill areas - is great here. (Take a half slice - the slices are huge and thick with cheese.) We have never had any difficulty finding several things to fill up on. This is the one buffet that you have to keep remembering that you must not eat so much that you will not be able to walk out comfortably. It is very easy to over indulge here.

Dessert here is no exception to the bounty of everything else. There is always an assortment of cakes, pies, sugar-free fruit pies (that actually taste really good), puddings, cream dessert concoctions, fruit, jello, apple dumplings, other sugar-free desserts, soft serve ice cream, whipped cream topping for what ever you like, and more.

Beverages are self-serve and there is no soft drink that I can think of that is not here. Both Coke and Pepsi products, Icees, iced tea, hot tea, iced mint tea, iced tea drink with lemonade (real good), orange juice, apple juice, fruit drinks, coffee, flavored coffees, cappuccino, milk and chocolate milk. If I have left something out, it is there - just look for it.

Shady Maple Smörgåsbord was the first buffet that I went to that had a system to reserve your table effectively -this was years ago but a variation still exists. They used to put a plastic plaque on your table that said "reserved". When you were finished you turn that plaque over to the opposite side that said "open". The service staff then knew to clear away the table and prepare it for the next guests. The hostess then knew the table was available to seat at. The plastic plaques were replaced by paper slips that work the same way when they opened this "new" building. You turn the slip over to the back when you leave.

Service is excellent. Dishes are cleared away very quickly by the abundant service staff in the dining rooms. The dining rooms and the serving areas are spotless. Even the restrooms are ultra-fancy and kept very clean. There are little anterooms in both the ladies room and the mens room that are carpeted and furnished with plush chairs and sofas.

In the Spring and Fall there are special nights with some specialty served. I have been there for a buffalo night with buffalo served in many different ways. I have been there for an Angus beef night and I have been there for a Philly Cheese steak night. The Friday before Christmas there is always a special event going on with late night dining and discounts in the gift shop for "last minute" shoppers. A grand staircase in the middle of the lobby takes you down to a gift shop that is the size of the restaurant.

This is a destination buffet. I have traveled here, out of my way, when I am in other areas of Pennsylvania just so that I could dine here. I have routed trips home past this restaurant from other states just to include a meal here. I know that others have as well. This is the one. This is truly the best. You must go to this buffet.

Shady Maple Smorgasbord is located at 129 Toddy Drive in East Earl, PA. Take Route 23 East or Route 322 South to get to the restaurant. The phone numbers are 1-800-238-7363 and 717-354-8222. There is a website and it is listed at the side of this page.

The Art of the Buffet names Shady Maple Smorgasbord as THE BEST BUFFET for 2007. Shady Maple Smorgasbord will be receiving a certificate naming them as the BEST which we hope they will proudly display in their lobby. When you go there look for it and let them know that you read about them here!

Friday, December 21, 2007

THE BEST Asian Buffet 2007

I will choose two buffets that are THE BEST for 2007. One will be a Asian/Chinese buffet, as these tend to have their own class of buffet, and the other will be THE BEST BUFFET. In choosing these two buffets I have dined in them several times and have been to each as recently as this month of December. The choice was made on many criteria but one of the most important was that the restaurants maintained consistent from visit to visit continuing to please and delight.

This week I will name the Best Asian/Chinese Buffet for 2007 and that is PEKING RESTAURANT located in Williamsburg, Virginia. I have written about this buffet in several articles on this site and because I am awarding this deserving restaurant this significantly important distinction I will go back to the beginning and provide you with a complete description and review of this buffet.

The Peking Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia is located at 120 Waller Mill Road in the Big Kmart Shopping Center. (Kingsgate Green Shopping Center – Bypass Road (Rt.60)) This is an individually owned restaurant and not a chain. The restaurant fills four store fronts in a strip mall with a KMart. The decor is Chinese palace. It is reminiscent of fancy Chinese restaurants that existed many years ago. There are three sections of large rooms separated by room dividers that fit in with the decor and are such that you can see around them and over them across the spacious restaurant. Each room is filled with tables - no booths here. There is a modern accent of large screen televisions set up at the ceiling throughout the restaurant but there are no sports tuned in here - each set is playing a video of Chinese music, acrobats, or travel scenes. There are two videos playing at the same time alternating on the various screens. The sound is turned low so there is no disturbance from the screens and they can be completely ignored or you may delight in the flow of Chinese culture and scenery.

The buffet is served across the entire rear wall of the restaurant from one end to the other. The buffet is divided into three sections and your meal includes it all. At the far left is a long counter section with a sushi chef behind the far most corner, followed by a soup chef, followed by a grill chef. In the middle of the wall are two long double sided buffet servers. The one to the left is full of Chinese entrees, side dishes, and appetizers. The one to the right is the vegetarian bar and contains hot vegetarian selections. At the right of the rear wall is a large, round Mongolian grill with one to two chefs. Around the grill is the salad bar, cold dessert bar, pizza, and all of the meat, vegetables, and sauces for the create your own Mongolian barbecue.

So where should you start your meal? There is a small salad bar and there are your basic selections of greens and toppings. There is soup. Soup is found two ways here. There is soup that has been made and out in servers on the hot entrees buffet server. There you will find egg drop soup and hot and sour soup. The usual choices for Chinese restaurants and buffets. But look around and you will not see wonton soup. For won ton soup and a whole selection of noodle soups you need to go to the counter to the soup chef. He stands beside a large cauldron of soup broth and a selection of noodles from a variety of oriental countries. There is a sign to guide you selection describing what each type of noodle there is. You will find noodles from China, potato noodles from Korea, Vietnamese Pho noodles, Japanese noodles, and wontons. You tell the chef what you would like and he will assemble the ingredients for your soup in a wire basket. He will then take that basket and dunk it into boiling water cooking it all together. He then places the hot contents into a large bowl and adds the soup broth. The soup is served steaming hot and is overflowing with noodles. We have found that it is best to get the soup and let it sit on the table while we enjoy something else to allow the steaming soup to cool off to a temperature easier to enjoy. This is a large bowl of soup and can be a meal in itself - but there is SO much more to enjoy.

The sushi chef is making sushi rolls and placing them out for you to take. The sushi here is beyond the usual piece of salmon or tuna on a bed of sticky rice. There is a nice variety of sushi rolls of fish and rolls of vegetables. The spicy salmon rolls are wonderful. I have come a long way in my taste for sushi since I first reviewed this restaurant in 2005 and I have come to delight in sushi beyond the basic raw salmon and tuna.

Do you like dumplings? There are dumplings and dim sum in steamers next to the soup area. Further along the counter there are also fried dumplings that are actually made on the grill. The dumplings, both steamed and fried, are excellent.

Chinese appetizers are plentiful here. You will find the usual appetizers and then you will find some that are different. They make an onion pancake at the grill. On the vegetarian buffet server there is a folded, seasoned bread. Back at the grill there are fried shrimp balls.

To start your entree course it is hard to decide what to try first. At the grill there is a chef cooking steak and chicken in the Japanese hibachi style. Along the grill there are other grilled meats and fried fish. At the buffet servers there are meat dishes and, as I said, vegetarian dishes. The selection of Chinese dishes is varied and not just the usual chicken and broccoli and beef and peppers that seem to be the staple at many Chinese buffets now. There is even Chow Mein and Egg Foo Yung. There are noodle dishes and there are three types of fried rice to be found - the traditional, a house special fried rice full of strips of meat, and Japanese fried rice cooked on the hibachi grill.

Now suppose you look at all of the hot entrees and you do not see what you like. What will you do? You will make your own. Go over to the large Mongolian Grill and start on the line filling a bowl with raw vegetables of your choice, noodles, and then meats and seafood. You can put beef, pork, shrimp, sea legs, chicken, and lamb into your creation. You then come to tubs of sauces and ladles. Spoon on one of a mixture of sauces both plain or hot and spicy. If you like, put some garlic in. Put as much as you want or leave it out - it is all your creation. At the end of the line when it is your turn you hand this to the chef who places it on top of the domed griddle. He moves around the round grill pushing your food with a large paddle which he uses to mix and make sure that each piece of meat is thoroughly cooked. He may go around twice until your dish is done. When there is a crowd there are two chefs working around the grill. When your dish is done it is placed in a clean bowl and handed to you. You watch the whole process so you get a little entertainment along with a great dish of your design.

If you visit and eat from each station you will probably find it difficult to move after dinner, but there is desert to be found too. There are hot steamed desserts next to the steamed dumplings. These are steamed cakes and sweet buns. There are cold fresh fruits, jello, pudding, and one of the jellos is traditional Chinese almond jello (which I had only had before this in Chinatown in NYC). There is ice cream, of course. A soft serve ice cream machine is in the back corner.

The service a this restaurant is excellent. The dishes were cleared immediately, sodas were refilled regularly, and we did not even ask for a knife - two were brought to us as we brought food to the table that required one. The tables each have a unique dispenser on each one - a clear acrylic holder with full of extra napkins, chopsticks, straws, and sweeteners. Other restaurants should have these!

Dinner price every night at the Peking Restaurant is $10.99. Let me repeat that - $10.99! Unbelievable for the amount and quality of food that you are getting. The lunch price is $6.99 and $7.99 on the weekend. There are children's prices. Soda is $1.25 for unlimited soft drinks. There is a bar and alcohol drinks are available.

This restaurant is located in the middle of a major tourist destination in Southeastern Virginia. Here you will find Colonial Williamsburg - the nation's foremost historic attraction - and Busch Gardens theme park. This restaurant does much more than attract the tourists. This is known and patronized by all of the locals as well. It is not unusual to be dining here and sit next to Colonial Williamsburg employees dressed in colonial clothing or members of the Busch Gardens show casts. We had dinner one night next to the Irish Dance Troupe from Busch Gardens. We have dined here during tourist season and off tourist season. Even on a weeknight the restaurant is busy. It is large enough that it is ever so busy that you will not get in shortly but if you do have a short wait there is a great little gift shop inside next to the entrance with wonderful jade and oriental imports.

The restaurant has a good website and a link may be found at the side of this article.

This is a must go to buffet. There is a lot in this area to see so take a vacation and make sure that this is on your list of where to go!

The Art of the Buffet names the Peking Restaurant as the BEST ASIAN/CHINESE BUFFET for 2007. Another Chinese buffet has got to go far to be any better in 2008. I suspect that this will hold this title next year as well. The Peking Restaurant will be receiving a certificate naming them as the BEST which we hope they will proudly display with other certificates of merit that they have hanging next to their door.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Green Olive Buffet and Grill - Second Time Around

In September 2006 I wrote about a buffet in Arlington, Virginia called the Green Olive Buffet and Grill. It is a Chinese buffet but as I will elaborate here, it is much more. I had an opportunity to return there a week ago. We went in on a Friday night. The buffet price is still $12.99 every night - no extra for Fridays or the weekend. This is unusual for a Chinese buffet. For this buffet $12.99 is an excellent price!

What struck me most on this second visit to the Green Olive is the abundance of seafood - and not just seafood Chinese dishes but SEAFOOD in every which way. If you are looking for a great seafood buffet at an unbelievable price this is the place! You will find everything that you could want here - with one exception, lobster. And for this price who needs the lobster!

You can start your seafood meal here with raw shellfish. There are clams and oysters on the half shell on ice. The oysters were good and they were fresh - they had been opened and refrigerated before they came out as was evidenced by the dry tops, but the oyster meat was moist throughout. There is also cold cocktail shrimp. You can follow this cold selection up with sushi which was being made by a sushi chef behind the long counter that also becomes a flame grill.

Soups included clam chowder along with the selection of Chinese soups. There is a salad bar, of course, which I have already described in my first review of this restaurant (See September 29, 2006).

The hot seafood out on the buffet was overwhelming. There were the usual steamed king crab legs that you will find in many Chinese buffets, but there were also whole, steamed blue crabs - famous in this area from the nearby Chesapeake Bay. These are an art to crack and eat the lumps of meat in the sides of the shell. In this area people like to spice them up with "Old Bay Seasoning" - a commercial product that gives crabs and most seafood a pleasant kick. There were cans of Old Bay at the grill for you to shake on what you'd like. If you would like to be a little courageous you can have the grill cook you large, whole shrimp on a skewer with the heads still on. I am sure to many of our readers around the world this is no big deal, but in the United States folks don't like to see shrimp with the heads on. These shrimp cook fast on the grill and the shell gets nicely charred. The shrimp meat is deliciouses this way but a bit of a struggle to get out of the shell - especially while the little shrimp eyes watch you. There was fried shrimp and fried clams. There was fried fish. There was broiled salmon. There was a whole broiled fish that you cut away from to serve yourself that was great. I am not certain what type of fish it was but I am guessing from the look of the head it was a sea bass. There were fried scallops. There were fried frogs legs. There were steamed clams. There was steam shrimp spiced with Old Bay Seasoning.

There were also prepared seafood dishes. Some of these were Chinese dishes, but many of them were regional seafood dishes. Crab mixed with other shellfish meats in a butter sauce, a spicy dish of crab and stuffing, pasta and seafood dishes, stuffed crab shells, and baked clams were among the many to be found.

This is a seafood lovers delight, but wait, if you don't like seafood (my wife does not) what will you do? In addition to all of the seafood there were as many selections of meats and Chinese dishes. There are also steaks grilled to your order on the chargrill. Everyone is going to be happy at the Green Olive.

Dessert are typical of Chinese buffets. Ice cream here is served hard in "dixie" cups in a freezer case with an assortment of flavors.

Service is good. The entire restaurant is well maintained.

There was one drawback that was very noticeable on this visit that was not on my first visit. There was a smell of cigarette smoke near the buffet servers. I looked around the restaurant to see if there was a smoking section of tables and I did not see one, BUT there is a sit down liqueur bar with full bar stools on the side of the room with the buffet servers and, evidently, they permit smoking at the bar. I am not a smoker, and it has been a long time since I have been around people who smoke. Most places that I go to do not permit smoking so I have become sensitive to the smell when it is around. It surprised me to find this here now, because all of the buffets that I have been to do not allow smoking. To have smoking in the same area as the food tables is not good. Now, it did not flavor the food, as I could tell and it could not be detected in the dining area where our tables were - which was just adjacent to the room with the food tables (and the smoke). It was very noticeable when I was at the food tables nearest the bar. I would wonder why they would allow this - but I guess that bar brings them the business of people who want to sit at a bar and drink. I would not jeopardize my buffet business for that, but this is Virginia and Virginia is the original place that tobacco came from. Unless you are very sensitive to smoke - and it may just be by chance that a smoker is sitting at the bar - don't let this keep you from this great buffet. AS I said, this did not happen the first time we ate there in 2006.

If you want to read more in detail about the Green Olive, read my September 29, 2006 descriptions and review. The Green Olive Buffet and Grill is located on US1. The address is 7405 Richmond Highway in Alexandria, Virginia. The restaurant looks a little like a road house from the outside but do not that put you off from going inside. There is plenty of free parking in their lot surrounding the restaurant. The phone number is 703-765-5899. There is a website which is listed at the side of the page.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lunch at Shady Maple Smorgasbord, East Earl, PA

I generally save my buffet dining for dinner but, while in PA for the day on my way back home the weather turned to snow and my original plan to drive back at night after dinner was quickly changing as the light snow turned to ice on the roads. It was not going to chance the 150 plus miles in the dark on icy roads so we decided to have our buffet dinner for lunch.

I have written here many times about Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is one of the best - wait - not one of the best - THE BEST buffet. I have had dinner there many, many times. I have had lunch there only once before, and that was on a Saturday. Saturday lunch buffets are often set to be the same as Saturday dinner buffet. At Shady Maple the Saturday lunch buffet is just one dollar less than the dinner buffet price - $15.99 instead of $16.99. BUT during the week at Shady Maple, the lunch buffet is just $9.99 and that includes the beverage! This is from $4 to $9 less than the evening dinner buffet prices. So if you are paying that much less you must be getting a lot less - right? Wrong!

Our lunch at Shady Maple was on a Wednesday afternoon. Lunch buffet is served until 3:15 pm. We were seated immediately. The restaurant was far from empty. Many of the diners were seniors. There were also a few tour bus groups seated in a separate dining room. Shady Maple is a very large buffet restaurant - and that is all that it is - buffet. There are two very long buffet servers that spread out to each side of the center of the serving area with four separate grills to the front. At dinner there are two to four grills running with several different items on each. On this Wednesday afternoon there were two grills running.

We went up to the buffet servers to find that both sides were completely full of food - and all of the serving trays had items that would usually be found at dinner. Nothing was missing. This $9.99 lunch buffet was offering us everything that we would find had we been there on Wednesday night for $15.99 with the only exception being found at the grill area. Wednesday night is Prime Rib Night with full Prime Ribs of Beef cut to your order. The Prime Rib is featured on two of the grill areas. On Wednesday afternoon at lunch you are not going to get Prime Rib, however, there was a lot to be found on the two grills. There was beef brisket being carved, there were hot dogs, Angus beef burgers and cheeseburgers, and marinated chicken breasts all being grilled, along with pizza at the grill station.

Now you might say that those grill items sound like lunch menu items, but when you get to the hot servers you will find all of the same hot meats and dishes that are found at dinner. There are four different soups. There is the extensive salad bar and prepared salads on the cold servers. Also found at the salad bar were small, cold shrimp. Meats included fried , really "broasted", chicken - if you can tell the difference from "fried", sliced beef in gravy, turkey, roast pork, bbq ribs, chicken croquettes, and fried shrimp along with a number of others. Then there are the area specialty dishes - pigs stomach (ok, I always had an aversion toward this too until I tried it recently - it is made into a sausage and served in bread stuffing (here called "filling") - it is really good), pork with sauerkraut, and chicken bot pie (pot pie with dumplings and no crust - Wonderful!). Of course, you can't have meat with out great side dishes and there are many, many side dishes of vegetables, potatoes, and noodles to choose from. There were very crispy french fries, au gratin potatoes, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, plus dishes with potatoes in them. There are buttered noodles and macaroni and cheese. There were so many different types of vegetables and side dishes that I can't remember them all. There are local specialty side dishes as well including something locally called "Snitz and Knepp" which means in German - Dried Apples and Dumplings - which is simply what this is, a hot dish of dried apples cooked to a preserve-like consistency with large flour dumplings. Sweet and hearty! And remember this is the weekday lunch buffet!

Soft drinks are included in the price of the meal and there are both Coke and Pepsi sodas, three types of ice tea, flavored coffees, icys, coffee, tea, milk, chocolate milk, fruit juices, and fruit drinks. After all of this to eat and drink, would you like dessert?

The dessert areas have both hot and cold desserts, ice cream, cakes, puddings, pies, sugar free pies, and sugar free desserts. There were also several donuts left from the breakfast buffet earlier that morning - and I took a jelly donut at the same time that I took my salad - just to make sure that I had one. (There are lots of things that I don't usually eat - and should not eat. Well, jelly donuts are on that list - but I could not resist!). I have to tell you that this jelly donut was not just filled with a bit of jelly but the entire donut was overflowing with cherry jelly filling that you could eat from the center with a spoon. Oh my!

There is nothing negative to say in any way. Everything is clean. The food is excellent. The service staff are friendly and do their jobs well.

One thing to remember at Shady Maple is to look down both directions of the buffet servers - while there are many items repeated on both sides there are also many items that are only found on one side or the other - increasing your selections!

So, if you can't get to Shady Maple for dinner, try lunch! And if it is your birthday - lunch or dinner - your meal is FREE! (If you go there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on your birthday - all three would be free!) If you can manage to move about after this meal, go downstairs to the huge gift shop for some interesting and fun finds.

Shady Maple Smorgasbord is located at 129 Toddy Drive in East Earl, PA. Take Route 23 East or Route 322 South to get to the restaurant. The phone numbers are 1-800-238-7363 and 717-354-8222. There is a website and it is listed at the side of this page. Shady Maple is always closed on Sundays and it closes for a few holidays including Memorial Day and Labor Day. Closing is 8:00 pm - and the restaurant opens at 5:00 am (this is farm country!).