Friday, December 31, 2010

Closing out 2010

Reflecting back on 2010 in the world of buffet restaurants, I can say that there have been some great meals and some not so great meals. For awhile this year I was finding more not so great buffets than really good ones. I was beginning to think that all of you would start looking at me as the "buffet killer" with not such good things to say about the restaurants I was reporting on. I would go into a restaurant with high hopes and come out with a list of things that were wrong. It got to the point that I was desperate to find good things about a restaurant to write - even if the experience at the restaurant was not totally good. We would come out after dinner and I would say - "Oh boy, now I am writing another critical article." Well, I tell it as I experience it and it would not be fair to all of you who are plunking down your hard earned - and hard to come by - cash for a meal or an experience that is not good. Happily, as the year progressed the restaurants got better and the articles became positive again - as I would like them to be (if the restaurant measures up).

This past year saw the closing of a very promising buffet - Buffet Europa in New Jersey. This was a small, couple owned and operated buffet that was exceptionally excellent. All of my readers who went to try it agreed. The food was excellent. The value was very good. So what went wrong? Why did this little gem go out of business? There was never anyone there. The dining room was very small and at that was never filled. At best, when I would be there, there would be maybe five tables filled. It was not because of the food. The most likely explanation is the location. This restaurant was just off a main highway but back enough in a tiny shopping center that it blended in with the several take out restaurants that were next door. There was no way to know that this restaurant was there from the main road. I know that the owners tried. They had a good website and made an effort to advertise, but this was not enough - at least in this economy - and they did not get the people that they needed to stay in business. What a shame! I understand that the owners moved to another part of New Jersey and maybe someday in a much better location they will open another restaurant like Buffet Europa.

Thinking back on my best new find this year - at least new to me - I have to say that the Festival Buffet at Foxwoods Casino/Resort in Connecticut is the meal I am most looking to go back for. This was a fine meal and I am eager to try it on a non-weekend night to see how the meal compares to the one that I had there on a Friday night (when the emphasis was on seafood). If only a bridge would be built across Long Island Sound, I would become a regular at this buffet. In a straight line the buffet is maybe forty or less miles from me - but because of a large body of water between us, it is necessary to drive west and around New York City and then north to Connecticut and then parallel back east to where this buffet is located. A trip of several hours each way and with a ridiculous cost in tolls. I will be going back - and it cannot be too soon! (And as I have mentioned before - I don't gamble. I go to casinos to eat at buffets.)

I would like to wish all of my readers a very Happy New Year! I look forward to some new buffet adventures in 2011. And I hope that you will keep coming back to this site to come along with me!

Our Best Buffet of 2010 will appear next week.

Happy New Year!

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