Friday, February 04, 2011

Mommy, I Want Plain Spaghetti

"Mommy, I want plain spaghetti!" That is something often heard from children at buffets and at most "American" food buffets that is certainly something that can be easily complied with - unless you go to Old Country Buffet.

Several months ago, OCB changed much of its menu offerings. One of the items eliminated was the plain spaghetti that could always be found on the buffet along with a serving tray of tomato sauce - often along with meat sauce. What they put in its place are changing pasta dishes - all mixed with some type of sauce and other ingredients. No longer can you just get plain spaghetti.

This was a big mistake for OCB along with several other changes that took place at the same time. This is not only a disappointment now for children - many of which like things "plain" but also many adult diners. In the past, the plain spaghetti could be taken with tomato or meat sauce, it could be taken just as it was - plain, it could be have brown gravy or chicken gravy poured on top like noodles, or it could be mixed with butter and cheese. There were a lot of possibilities with plain spaghetti. I also found that the server of tomato sauce was good to have on the buffet as well. I have added it to the OCB pizza when it has come out of the kitchen dry. It could be placed on top of any of the meat dishes to create other dishes - all at your choice. But not any more.

One of the difficulties in serving plain spaghetti on a buffet is keeping it from drying out and not clumping. OCB was actually one of the best of the buffets in being able to do this. It would be kept moist in a small amount of liquid and just a small quantity of oil - which did not overwhelm the pasta, add a taste, or be too oily. They did a better jog of this that many buffets.

I am not sure why they decided to make this change. It certainly could not be a financial decision. There are still pasta dishes put out with each buffet, but the pasta that is placed out now is always mixed with cheese - lactose-intolerant people beware.

Other changes took place at the same time - and none of them good. And these changes were universal to the chain - not just at some locations. Gone are the beef ribs that were a OCB staple on Thursday and Saturday nights. Many plain vegetable dishes have been replaced with seasoned vegetables. The green beans now are often mixed with ham - forget about those if you are a vegetarian or observe religious practices. Also, new metal serving dishes that are placed into the buffet steam tables have changed. Many of the deeper dishes that kept the food hot as it sat lower down into the steam table have been replaced with shallower dishes. The meatloaf that is now placed into those shallow trays is now always cold on the top and just warm on the bottom. Not good!

I have been spending some time observing the Old Country Buffet Facebook page. I am not the only one who finds these changes to be a problem. There are a number of posts daily from upset customers about the lack of the spaghetti, beef ribs, etc. There are pleads to bring them back. I know that OCB monitors their own Facebook page but they never seem to comment back to those customers just asking to have what they enjoyed about the restaurants brought back.

So - OCB - or perhaps I should address this to the parent company, Buffets, Inc. - please bring back the plain spaghetti and get rid of those shallow serving dishes. There are lots of kids out there - and their parents who will thank you for it.

1 comment:

Robert A said...

I am now certain that someone at OCB is reading this site. Last night at an OCB there was both the spaghetti mixed with sauce out and a tray of plain spaghetti and a tray of sauce! It was not there last week!