Friday, October 30, 2009

New Managers at Old Country Buffet, Levittown, NY

For those of you who have been reading this site for a while or who have gone through past articles, you know that I have labeled the Levittown, New York Old Country Buffet as the worst OCB in the chain. It is not that I have been to every OCB to determine this, but any other OCB would have had to go far to get worse. Comments to those past articles from others who have experienced this OCB location have pretty much agreed.

There has been a recent change at the Levittown OCB. There are new managers - at least two. And they have made a great attempt at changing things at this restaurant. The most important and significant thing that they are doing is that they are continually visible throughout the dining room and making sure that things are running the way they are supposed to.

Yes, things are better. Not all is great, but things are better. One difference is that when trays are empty, there is someone - the manager - to make sure that the service staff are making sure it is refilled or replaced. Now, things sometimes get replaced with unlike - and non-equivalent things (rolls for side dishes or entrees). But, someone is on top of things.

One night that we were there an announcement was made throughout the dining room by the manager over the public address system. "There is no running in this restaurant!" Hooray! because there were kids running across the dining room at the time. No one has ever made an effort to stop this before.

This is still an OCB without a grill at the buffet servers. Steak is brought out and placed in a heated section of the steam table to remain hot until served, but also to continue cooking to wellest of well done. I love steak. I don't eat the steak at this OCB unless I see it come out from the kitchen grill, still at least pink and moist in the middle and served right then - and this is not often (I was going to say "rare" instead of "not often" but it certainly is rarely rare.)

Other things are still hit and miss. Pizza often comes out of the kitchen so over cooked an dried out that even the serving staff have trouble cutting it to serve it. At other times it is moist and nicely dripping with sauce and cheese. In a buffet like this there should be consistency in the cooking.

If they would just get on top of the floors being kept clean, things would get even better. Tables are cleaned nicely, but the carpeted floor in this OCB collects a lot of trash under the tables and it mostly remains until closing. As I have commented before, carpeted floors in other buffets (and other OCB's) seem to be kept clean despite the crowd. I have stopped bringing guests to this OCB because more than one has commented on the cleanliness - based only on the floors under and around the tables.

Another change has taken place at this OCB that should be noted and that is the price. There has been a price increase. I am not certain that there has been an increase in all locations, but this increase is bringing this OCB a bit beyond the chain buffet "going" rate. The new prices are $12.69 per adult at dinner on Monday to Thursday and $13.19 on Friday through Sunday. This is high.

I must say that this may be higher than OCB's elsewhere. A recent Zagat's restaurant survey revealed that restaurant prices on Long Island in New York are higher than restaurant prices anywhere else in the United States including higher than restaurants in Manhattan. This is evident from diners through the "better places". There are diners on Long Island where it will easily cost $50 for dinner for two - no alcohol - and not necessarily complete dinners. Compared to that this OCB price is still good, but this new price increase is a bit much. It closes the gap between some of the fancier buffets in the area - which are higher, but now not that much higher.

So, if you are on Long Island and you are in Nassau County and want to go to OCB, the new managers are making it better - and I can say now, that you could give it a try. Something that I would not have said before.


dave1973 said...

It might take time for the Levittown, NY OCB to be up to a standard that's acceptable. I'm still waiting for the Hobart, IN OCB to improve. Even with a manager of a couple of years to replace the one from the time it opened in 1994, service and cleanliness has gotten worse.

Highland Indiana OCB has been the best for me. I've been to Lansing, IL; Rolling Meadows, IL; Tinley Park, IL; Kenosha, WI; & Brookfield, WI OCB locations, and so far, Highland Indiana & Kenosha Wisconsin locations have had excellent service & very clean. Not to mention, hot food that's supposed to be hot, & cold food that's supposed to be cold.

I have yet to check the updated prices at my local OCB locations, but I do remember lunch being $8.29, & $7.79 for seniors. Monday - Friday from 11am - 3pm it's $6.99 & $5.99 for seniors. Breakfast has changed with a lower price, and a limited selection. Breakfast is now $5.99, but the salad bar & most fruit eliminated, no desserts, no eggs benedict, and the made to order omelettes have been scaled back too. Cereal is now in dispensers (similar to a gumball machine), and toasters have been added for toast & bagels. Dinner at my local OCB has gone up too. I don't remember what it is now, but I last remember dinner being $11.79 ($11.29 for seniors) monday - Thursday. Friday, Saturday, & Sunday dinner being $12.59 ($12.09 for seniors). I will need to check to see the updated prices. Dinner is getting to be expensive. Anymore, I prefer to go at lunch time, since prices tend to be lower, and in most cases, the menu selection doesn't change too much.

Is your local OCB locations having someone go to tables with various foods (some foods that might not be on the buffet)? My local OCB locations have been experimenting with this, taking after Ryans concept. I have occasionally seen grilled cheese being offered at dinner when the servers come around with a tray of food. I've even seen them bring out a fruit salad once.

Anonymous said...

We've seen an improvement in the Watchung, NJ one after complaining about it. I think there was a management change.

Another OCB/Hometown Buffet that needs improvement is the one in Binghamton NY - not horrid but not as good as others we've been in (and we've been in a few).

But the best one in our opinon, is the one in Edison, NJ. Even when talking to corporate a while back (and I think it was about Watchung) - they admitted it was very good. If you are ever out in Central Jersey, see for yourself.

If only Buffets inc would come to Bergen County, NJ. But it would be so bad for our diets :(