Friday, July 04, 2008

Dienners Country Restaurant. East Ronks, Pennsylvania

Dienner's Country Restaurant, located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the town of East Ronks was recently mentioned (positively) by one of our readers in a comment left on this site. I have had lunch at Dienner's several times, but never had the buffet there. The food is excellent - so why have I not indulged in the buffet?

Dienner's is a small, family-run restaurant. In fact, it is the same family as the family that owns and operates the Family Cupboard restaurant - their name is also Dinner. The restaurant occupies what once was a bakery. It was the bakery that baked the best Shoo Fly Pie in Pennsylvania. The bakery moved out to much smaller quarters and the space was unoccupied until Dienner's Country Restaurant opened a number of years ago.

The reason that I have not had the dinner buffet at Dienners is because the restaurant closes very early in the evening. The restaurant closes at six o'clock every night of the six nights that they are open. The restaurant, like most in this area, is closed on Sunday. To have dinner there you need to start at about 4:30 pm and with the lines that I have seen there, you probably need to arrive about 3:45 to get in at 4:30. All of this is too early for me to plan dinner around - especially when I am on "vacation". But this does not stop many, many people. As I say, there is often a line to get in - both at lunch and at dinner. They serve a breakfast buffet as well starting at 7 am, Monday to Friday, and that likely has a line as well.

With early hours, why is Dienner's so popular? The cooking and the prices.

The lunch buffet served is from 11am to 3pm is $7.89, Monday through Saturday. The dinner buffet starts at 3 pm until closing at 6:00 pm and that is only $8.99 Monday to Thursday and just $10.25 on Friday and Saturday. Buffet prices do not include beverages and soft drinks with free refills are just $1.25. Children's buffet at lunch is 60 cents per year of age from age 2 to 11 and the same for dinner on Monday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday children's buffet dinner is 75 cents per yer of age.

The cooking is done by Amish and Mennonite cooks from recipes that are very much like, if not the same as those used at Family Cupboard, and looking at the buffet selections, I have seen many of the same items. I have ordered some items that were exactly the same as the item is at Family Cupboard - and since this is all in the same family, that is perfectly fine. This is Pennsylvania Dutch cooking at its finest.

This restaurant attracts locals as well as tourists. The restaurant is small inside - about the size of two store fronts. There are tables and booths and three small buffet servers is off to the middle somewhat centered between two small dining rooms that blend together.

Dishes that may be featured on the buffet include rotisserie chicken, fried chicken, meat loaf, ham loaf, chicken pot pie (PA Dutch style), and pork and sauerkraut - among other selections that may or may not be served on the night that you come. Of course, there is going to be real mashed potatoes, corn, and other vegetables. There is dessert too.

Dienner's is a family-friendly restaurant. The servers have always been nice - and usually local Mennonite or Amish women. It is very clean and pleasantly decorated to fit the locale.

Dienner's is a great place - if only it closed the two hours later that the other buffet restaurants in Lancaster close, it would be a regular stop for me. If you like to dine early or if you are looking for a buffet for lunch do go to Dienner's Family Restaurant. Arrive early to leave time for the wait to get in.

Dienner's Family Restaurant is located at 2855 Lincoln Highway East in East Ronks, Pennsylvania. There phone number is 717-687-9571. There is a website and that is listed at the side of this page.

Happy Glorious FOURTH!

Since writing this article I went back to Dienners. The food is excellent. The value is spectacular. The service is wonderful. Even better is that they are now staying open until 8:00 pm on FRIDAY nights. The Friday dinner buffet includes fried cod and fried shrimp, along with the rest of their plentiful offerings. The Friday night hours may only be for the summer. As I have said, this is a VERY popular restaurant. We waited 30 minutes for a table at lunch time on a Saturday (it happened to be July 5 but these are the crowds that this restaurant always gets).

Go to Dienners!

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