Friday, May 25, 2012

Return to Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, Waynesboro, PA

I have not been back to the Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania since 2009. I have always liked this buffet but I have not been in that part of Pennsylvania since then. A trip back there meant a visit back to Mountain Gate was a must.

The Mountain Gate Restaurant is a combination menu restaurant and buffet. The buffet is a combination of American Country and Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, though you are quite some distance hear from the area generally considered the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. We come to Mountain Gate when we are traveling in Maryland, as it is just across the border. As I have said before in my reviews the restaurant is really off the beaten path. It is at the foot of a mountain area and to get to it, I always feel like I am driving more than I should be from east I-81 before I get to it. It is a large restaurant with several dining rooms. The buffet is set right in the center.

I have mentioned in the past that the decor at this restaurant has a religious theme. On this most recent trip it was not as obvious as it has been in the past. The owner is a very religious man and this is a very Christian area. This has never had anything to do with the food. Just what is hanging on the walls, but as I say, if this had been my first time here on this last trip I would not have noticed.

We went on a Friday night. The buffet was primarily various seafood mixed in with meat entrees. Fried shrimp seemed to be the most popular item on the buffet, as people were filling plates with fried shrimp and not much else. The fried shrimp was very good. But there were so many other things to try. What is served on the buffet varies by the night of the week with certain mainstay items on most nights.

There were three carvings being served and there was a gentleman who would come over right away when you stepped up to the carving station to carve for you. The carvings were ham, roast pork, and a very well done, but fall apart roast beef that was delicious. I like rare beef but this was slow cooked until it fell apart and was moist and almost melted in the mouth.

As I say, this was Friday and there were several seafood entrees on the buffet. There was broiled haddock that was very good. There were fried clams that were excellent. There was a seafood casserole that was very good. Those of you that read this site regularly know that my wife does not eat any seafood other than shrimp. She had no problem finding plenty of things to eat including the fried shrimp, the roast pork, and ham. There are plenty of side dishes. Freshly mashed potatoes, a Pennsylvania Dutch side dish of green beans and ham, another Pennsylvania Dutch dish of pork and sauerkraut. And of course, there is always fried chicken and the fried chicken here was especially good. There were plain vegetables like kernel corn, hot beets, stewed tomatoes, sweet peas, and carrots. They have the most wonderful macaroni and cheese. This mac and cheese is covered in and has mixed through a thick layer of cheddar cheese and is crusted on the top. I should not eat this - I could not resist this and I had to go back for more. I want to also make note of the Green Beans and Ham. This is a simple dish of chunks of ham cooked by boiling together with fresh green beans. In some places it can be a very bland dish. Here there was a rich smokey flavor that came from the ham and permeated the green beans. This was one of the best green beans and ham that I have had.

There are two soups and a long salad bar with the makings for salad, as well as prepared salad. There were the fixings for Caesar salad but the dressing that was out for it was the oil type of Caesar dressing as opposed to creamy Caesar which I prefer. I skipped the Caesar dressing and used a very good Ranch dressing instead. There are also a number of prepared salads. I was tempted by the macaroni salad and I took a little. It was very good! The soup I took was Maryland Crab and it was excellent. My wife had the vegetable soup and enjoyed that.

All of the food here is very good. It has been on every one of my visits. This is home cooking and farm cooking. The buffet might not be considered large when compared with some, but there is plenty to eat and to choose from. You will easily eat all that you care to eat and enjoy it - but do not eat too much because what sets this buffet apart is the dessert area.

This is one of the more bountiful dessert sections (if not the most bountiful) of any buffet that I have been too - and it is all home baking. There is a section with a variety of layer cakes. There is another section with a variety of cream pies, meringue pies, pudding pies, nut pies. And there is yet another section of fruit pies. Name a pie - you will likely find it here. Then there are puddings, fruits, jello, prepared desserts, and if you want ice cream - your server will ask you which of the seemingly countless flavors of ice cream that they make would you like to have. It would be easy, if you are so inclined, to make a meal just of desserts here and you would feel that you got your money's worth.

Our service was good. The waitress cleared our plates promptly and refilled our soft drinks.

This is one of those buffets that most people don't know about. This is a local restaurant and the people that come are primarily local families. This is a buffet not to be missed if you are even remotely in this area. If you are a dessert fanatic, this is absolutely a must.

The restaurant is located on Route 16 east of Rt. I81 at 10530 Buchanan Trail Road in Waynesboro, PA. There is now a website and that site is linked at the side of this page. The phone number is 717-765-6772.

Mountain Gate Family Restaurant has two locations. This one and there is one in Thurmont, Maryland. In our next article, I will tell you all about my first visit ever to the Thurmont Mountain Gate Family Restaurant. On this trip I was determined to try them both!

1 comment:

Dennis said...

You mentioned in your review of the Thurmont branch that the prices of the buffets were the same (except for tax) at both locations, but you didn't let us know how much.