Friday, November 19, 2010

Had to Check Back on Shady Maple

Several weeks ago I wrote an article about some changes at Shady Maple and in that article I commented on two problems that we observed while we were there. As I said, then problems at Shady Maple are highly unusual.

It was my wife's birthday recently and we headed down to Lancaster County for the day as we do for both of our birthdays. Dinner was to be Shady Maple and my wife would get her free birthday dinner there.

This was a Monday night at the beginning of November. We were surprised when arrived at how crowded the parking lot was. We have been to Shady Maple many times and they have been very crowded at many times so this should not be a surprise - but on a weeknight in November? This was odd. We went in and the restaurant was just as crowded as the parking lot - should that be any surprise at all? We never did find out why but needless to say, Shady Maple is very popular no matter what night or time of the year.

Dinner was wonderful as usual. This time there were no surprises. Nothing whatsoever was wrong. I feel that this is important for my readers to see because one of my regular readers commented that based upon my concern over the last visit, perhaps he was not going to go there for the first time. Please do go. Every restaurant can have an off night and every business has a few employees that should no better. Generally they are dealt with by a concerned manager. And Shady Maple sure had its act all together again!

That afternoon we were in a shop some distance away from Shady Maple but still in Lancaster County. We overheard a couple asking the sales clerk for directions to Shady Maple. The clerk told them how to go and then took them aside and said - "Let me tell you all about Shady Maple...". She then went on to tell them how wonderful it is and that when they walk in they will think from the appearance that this must be some big chain establishment BUT don't be fooled by the elegant decor because this is a business run by a husband and wife who established the farm stand that grew into the snack bar that grew into this restaurant. She told them the whole history of Shady Maple (which I have told here once or twice in the past).

So the meal was as expected - excellent. They had wonderful smoked sausages out on the buffet. These were much nicer than any I have had at other restaurants - buffet or not. Monday is always steak night and they had three grills going with Delmonico, NY Strip, and chopped steaks. On the side there were sauteed onions and sauteed mushrooms to top the steaks. They were also grilling smoked pork chops. At Shady Maple your steak is cooked to your order so if you want rare and they don't have one ready, one goes on for you and you get rare. The same for every degree of cooking that you like. You can either wait right there at the grill as it cooks or go off to the buffet servers and get the rest of your plate and then come right back and pick up your steak - as you like it. Steaks are sliced thin but, of course, you get as many as you want - so they don't need to be any thicker.

I am not going to go into another full and detailed description of Shady Maple. If you want to see that just go back to any one of the articles that I have written about it on this site - or read the Best Buffet article that began 2010.

Go there. Do not hesitate. It is an experience that is worth the trip. I am not sure there is any larger restaurant anywhere - buffet or not buffet - that is in full time operation.

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.

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