Friday, July 18, 2008


I first wrote about The Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant and Buffet in November 2007 (See November 9, 2007). I had recently dined at their buffet and found some things good and some things lacking. October/November in this tourist oriented area are "off=season" and while this restaurant's primary audience are locals - especially those that come to the supermarket that is attached to this restaurant.

I have now returned in the summer - on-season. I again came mid-week at dinner time. I will not repeat the physical structure of the restaurant - that has not changed. But some things have changed - for the better and that will be the focus of this re-review.

One thing, first to note, is that the prices have increased. Dinner now costs one dollar more per adult. This is a fact of many buffet restaurants now and a one dollar increase is low compared to some of the price increases that I have seen recently.

One of the things that I commented negatively on in my first article was a poor first impression of the wait staff. I am happy to say that I had the complete and good opposite experience on this second visit. The staff were friendly and there immediately when you needed them. The young lady who took our drink order and was assigned to our table was always there to take away our dirty plates and bring soft drink refills - even before we asked for them. When she first came to our tables it was just moments after we were seated and approached us with enthusiasm. Excellent!

Our first experience found much of the food bland - and that was not fully the case this time. There were two good soups on this night - one a vegetable beef and the other tomato bisque. My wife tried the vegetable and I tried the tomato. The vegetable was good. The tomato was very good and different. It was nicely seasoned, the tomato had a proper tomato "twang" and it was thick and rich.

On the hot buffet server there was baked country smoked sausage, chicken pot pie (PA Dutch style - read last week's article for an explanation), baked barbecue seasoned chicken, fried shrimp, ham balls (meat balls made from chopped ham and served with a pineapple sauce on top), turkey, pork with sauerkraut, meat loaf, fried fish fillets, pot roast with vegetables, mashed red skin potatoes, small potatoes, stewed tomatoes, mixed vegetables, macaroni and cheese, corn, beef gravy, and chicken gravy. Food was properly hot and the trays were better stirred and tended than at our first meal here in November.

Taste was far better than at our first meal here. Everything was good (with one exception - the meat loaf - it was meatloaf covered in a thick tomato sauce and the taste was not to my liking - not to say that there was anything wrong with it but I did not care for it)). The pork and sauerkraut is still missing the vinegar taste, but it was nicer than some that have too strong a vinegar taste. The smoked sausages were cooked well done and were very tasty. The chicken pot pie was very good. The hams balls were good. The turkey is served chopped up to small pieces, as is common at some restaurants in this area, and was good. The mashed potatoes were tasty. The little potatoes were good. The mixed vegetables were standard - but fine. The macaroni and cheese was very good (I should not be eating that but I love it and a small spoon scoop to taste should not kill me - I hope). We did not try everything as we had a large lunch, but everything that we did try was good - with the one noted exception.

The dessert server had a really extensive selection of puddings and local mixed desserts. There was also a nice selection of pies. There were no cakes. There was also a hot blueberry cobbler.

Every buffet dinner includes a "dip" of one of the 32 flavors of ice cream made right here at the Oregon Dairy which is located on the property behind the restaurant and supermarket. This is something that you need to leave room for. Outside the restaurant there is an ice cream stand and many people come there for this great ice cream fresh from the dairy. The selections of ice cream include some unusual flavors along with the standards. There was cotton candy ice cream, milky way ice cream, blueberry swirl, and many others. The one "dip" was more like three scoops and more ice cream than I could eat after this meal. After dinner we walked around the outside to see the ice cream stand and it sits at the edge of a large playground for kids with a petting zoo, and across the drive way there is a deer pen with a man=made lake, and a small covered bridge
that crossed over to a field of cows from the dairy.
This is something that we could not see on the dark late Fall/winer night when we had been here the first time.

So - second time around summary is
Service - Excellent
Food - Very good
Value - Very good

For a small buffet it is fine. Are there better buffets in this area to choose to go to? Yes. As good a value as this? Some yes and some no.

I do recommend that you give this buffet a try. It is out of the main tourist area, but is actually just on the edge without going to far away. (Some like Shady Maple and Yoders are way out of the main tourist area.)

There is a breakfast buffet and a lunch buffet. There are children's prices. There is a discount card that you can get at their website (which is the same as the supermarket card).

The address for Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant and Buffet is 2900 Oregon Pike (Route 272) in Lititz, PA 17543. The phone number is (717) 661-6804. There is a website and that is listed on this page at the side of the articles.

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