Friday, July 31, 2009

Back to Dienners - Lancaster, PA

A little less than a year ago I wrote about a nice. little buffet and menu restaurant located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania called Dienners Coutry Restaurant. At the time I raved about this wonderful little restaurant. I had the opportunity to be in this area again on a Friday evening and I knew where I had to go - a trip back to Dienners.

What buffet is well worth a forty-five minute wait? This was is. I went back on the night before the Fourth of July. This areas is hopping with tourists and this restaurant is located on one of the busiest routes through the heart of the tourist area. Yes, there was a crowd to get in - but the crows was not only comprised of tourists but also locals and Old Order Amish and Mennonites as well. Why? As I have said in the past this restaurant is authentic in its cooking of Pennsylvania Ductch food and the older gentlemen and older woman who were cooking in the kitchin and bringing food out to refill the serving trays were both Amish. I need note also that while Dienners is open from Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday as many local restaurants are in this area) the restaurant is only open until 6:00 pm, except on Friday nights when it closes at 8:00 pm.

Six o'clock is a bit early for my dinner. I had not been to Dienners though I have known about it for years because of its early closing hour. With the eight o'clock Friday a new opportunity opened. While the restaurant posts these hours, if you are inside and eatting at closing time no one rushes you out and the buffet tables continue to be refilled.

Now, for the past year I have been thinking about Dienners fried fish. I kept thinking that I had to have this. On the buffet on this Friday night it was there and I was not dissappointed. It was wonderful. I am not sure what make it so special as it is just a small, thick chunks of a white fish battered in a light (not breadcrumb) batter and fried. but to me it is great. I also feel that fried fish is made or broken by the tartar sauce that is available for it and here the tartar sauce, off on the side in a tub to scoop out, has just the right tang, is white in color and not yellow as some are, and is the perfect compliment to the fish. Also available is red cocktail sauce. Needless to say most of my meal was comprised of the fried fish - but, of course, I had to fit in some of the other good entrees and several of the sides. This is one of those buffets that I have to make a consious effort not to overeat. It was difficult.

Over all nothing has changed in the past year including the price Adult dinner is still $10.75. Refill softdrinks are $1.30. The ice tea is great - sweet or unsweet (unsweet i s my preference).

I have got to mention the dessert. In my last article I mentioned the Chocolate Applesauce Cake. This year I tried it. This is a slice your own slice of a full size cake. The cake is chocolate applesauce and you can feel the texture of the applesauce in the cake as you eat it - through the chocolate flavor. On top of the cake is a frosting of soft chocolate cream with a vanilla cream on top of that. These two cream layers are the consistency of whipped cream. It was devine.

As I did before I highly recoonmend Dienners Country Restaurant. There is buffet and menu service and they will allow both to be served at one table. Dienners is located at 2855 Lincoln Highway East in East Ronks, Pennsylvania (This is US Route 30). It is next to the big windmill so you cannot miss it. Their phone number is 717-687-9571. There is a website and that is listed at the side of this page.


Anonymous said...

Although Shady Maple is still good, this year they are not as good as previous years. For example, several times we got food that could have been fresher. I know it is nitpicking but it wasn't like that before, they always kept everything fresh.

Dienners keeps getting better for us and is our favorite this year. The selection is still very small but so is the cost! Breakfast for two, all you can eat for a little over $12.00 - can't beat that. The service is always good and the few items they have are always good.

But what I like best is they started using pagers which is ideal for us. I hate waiting in line and now we either take a walk around the shops or sit outside and wait, when the pager goes off, we know our table is ready. It is so much nicer not having to wait in line, now if only they would have a little bigger booths for "big" eaters such as myself.

Robert A said...

Shady Maple two months ago was as good as always. I will be back there in a week or so and check again.

Yes, Dienners is great. If only they stayed open for dinner until 8 other than just on Fridays.

Anonymous said...

Please note I wrote "Shady Maple is still good, just not as good a previous years".

We still like Shady Maple. We were there last Friday afternoon and even though the parking lot did not seem too full, inside it was really backed up - but not at the cashiers where it usually is but people waiting to be seated. We were told getting a booth was really going to be a long wait. We agreed to a corner table, by one of the windows in one of the side rooms. It turned out to be nicer than a booth and we did not have a lot of people walking by our table.

It was an odd day, usually when it backs up after about 15 minutes the lines empty as they get people seated, but they remained full back to the "quilt" even as we walked out after eating. Must have been a lot of buses, . I did not think last Friday would be a special day but they did have the chocolate fountains going as well as the extra hand dipped ice cream along with several flavors of soft ice cream.

Robert A said...

I was there two weeks ago - on a Friday night. Not quite so crowded,(short wait) but doing well for a Friday after the summer crowds have gone. Food was good. Still has the wow factor that most other buffets don't have. I missed the hand dipped ice cream - the chocolate fountain is nice but I am not sure what the big attraction to it is - but it is popular!

Anonymous said...

visited for the first time at lunch on 10/30/09-disappointed. While the dessert offerings are numerous and delicious, the salad bar is exceptionally small for any buffet I've visited. Besides the vegetable dishes at the hot foods, one could only choose from roasted chicken (excellent), baked ham and pot roast which they called roast beef. There were few signature PA Dutch sides.

Robert A said...

The lunch buffet is more limited than at dinner.

The cooking is done by Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonites, but, you are right, much of the offerings are not typical PA Dutch specialties.

If you are looking for a large salad bar at lunch (or dinner) try Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant.

And you are likely to find more PA Dutch foods there as well.

Parsimonious Papa said...

You got my attention with "This is one of those buffets that I have to make a consious effort not to overeat. It was difficult." My buffet antennae, therefore, immediately zeroed in on your review of Dienners.

My family and I have always passed this place, observed the long lines, and skipped it. Your excellent review, however, has helped me put Dienners on our summer vacation "must eat" list.

I love your blog, by the way. Keep up the honest buffet admiration and/or condemnation.

Writer said...

Take note of Dienners very early closing hours. When most people are looking to start having dinner, Dienners is closing. The only exception is Friday nights when they are open later. And when you go, expect to wait to get in -so get there a little early.