Friday, June 29, 2012


It was last November when I first found Dutch-Way Family Restaurant located on the far end of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Like Yoders, this is another restaurant that is part of a supermarket. Also like Yoders, the restaurant is in the same building but separated by a hallway, and in this case, that hallway has a snack bar with some very tempting treats. But it is wise to pass the snack bar and keep going to the restaurant - in fact, just enter from the parking lot to the door for the restaurant.

This buffet is fancier than Yoders. There are tables and booths and a carpet on the floor. The dining room is divided in sections by low level walls and the buffet servers are at the rear of the room along with a large grill area.

This restaurant is well out of the tourist area and it is unlikely that you are going to encounter anything but locals here - though I must say that the night we were there a bus group was just leaving. Happily, we missed the bus group. There are also two banquet rooms that are off to the side of the buffet area. We were there on a Saturday night and the restaurant was only moderately busy. As I have noted, this is out of the tourist area. Like almost every other buffet restaurant in Lancaster County, Dutch-Way is closed on Sundays. Monday to Friday they are open from 6 am to 8:00 pm.

Dinner here varies by the night and we were there on a Saturday night. The price of the dinner buffet was $12.99. Unlimited soft drinks are an additional $1.39. Dinner price was two dollars more than it had been during the week in November.

The feature for Saturday night is Prime Rib and ham at the grill. Thursdays is seafood night. Tuesday is now make your own burgers at the grill and wings. In addition to the feature there are two hot buffet servers filled with entrees and side dishes. While this restaurant is larger than Yoders, it does not feature as many selections, but there is plenty here to choose from.

There are four soups and on this night these included chicken corn chowder, vegetable beef, chile, and chicken noodle. I tried the chicken corn chowder, as I have not had this before. It was full of potatoes and a thin white cream base with chicken and corn. It was tasty. My wife had the vegetable beef and she enjoyed it.

There is a very large salad bar here and you can make a tossed salad with a wide variety of toppings. There are also a number of local prepared salads and in addition there was a very excellent chicken salad. This chicken salad would have made a satisfying meal on its own. To top your salad there were small pieces of real fried bacon strips. Very different from the usual bacon on a salad bar. Everything was fresh.

Walking around the hot buffet servers I spotted a local dish that is different in Lancaster from how it is served in soul food restaurants - chicken and waffles. This is not fried chicken on top of a waffle. This is a creamed chicken put over waffles. I took this along with meat loaf on my first plate. The chicken and waffles was very tasty - but unlike others that I have had in this area - there were no chunks of chicken. The chicken was blended into the cream sauce. It made for a very tasty and interesting dish. The meatloaf was thick and rather than the usual ketchup that is put on top of meatloaf in many buffets this was covered in brown gravy. This is my wife's favorite type of meatloaf - and like everything else here - it was good. I also took a small spoon of potato filling - which I have described in articles about other buffets in this area. This one had a distinct potato taste and texture. It was like stuffing and mashed potatoes blended together into a unique dish. It delightfully surprised me when I put it into my mouth. I have had all different types of potato filling and not all have been the same. This one had a differently nice texture and taste.

Of course, there were a number of other dishes. There were ham balls in pineapple sauce - this is chopped ham made into meatballs - turkey in gravy, roast beef in gravy, Salisbury steak in brown gravy, seafood lasagna, pork and sauerkraut, Cajun haddock, and a very good fried chicken, in fact this was one of the better fried chickens that I have had and the sign called it "henny penny" fried chicken. I, later, looked up what henny penny fried chicken is. Henny Penny is the name of a company that makes chicken pressure friers. Similar to "broasting", the chicken is deep fried under pressure. I have had broasted chicken before. This was my first time having "Henny Penny" fried chicken.

There was supposed to be ham on the carving grill, there was only Prime Rib. Well, Prime Rib is not an only. I was cut a thick slice that was nicely cooked - a little medium rare and a little better done all on the same piece. Perhaps some who only like their beef one way or the other (as I usually do) would not like this, but I liked the contrast in tastes and textures. It was good.

Side dishes included mashed potatoes, carrots, macaroni and cheese - in a thick white cheese sauce, stewed tomatoes, mixed steamed vegetables, a mixed vegetables that was in a thick cream-like sauce, and there was string bean casserole - that was called green beans and bacon. The bacon was evident in taste and it was thick with cream sauce and covered in fried onion rings. This is very much like the popular Thanksgiving dish of creamed green bean casserole covered in fried onion rings, but much better. It was "kicked up a notch" as Emeril would say, but not spicy - kicked up a notch in taste and texture.

For the most part, this is local Amish and Mennonite country cooking. With this there are more worldly dishes mixed in so it is not all farm fare, but the blend is done well - and there is something for just about anyone.

There is a section near the soups that has an assortment of different breads. There was bread with cranberries swirled through, bread with blueberries, pumpkin bread and banana bread. There were also white and wheat rolls. On the hot buffet there were hot rolls. With the bread there were also half donuts covered in chocolate, coconut, and nuts. Dessert or bread? You decide.

There is a nice dessert bar here. In addition to those donuts, there were layer cakes including party cake, chocolate cake and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. There was an assortment of pies including sugar free pies - and then like all of the other buffets in Lancaster County there were the local prepared desserts - of which there was a very large selection. There was fresh fruit salad and grapes. Over on the hot buffet there was a tray of hot desserts in little foil cups. My wife tried one of these - a chocolate cake. She said that it was not really hot - it was warm - and it was nice. I, who should not eat dessert, could not resist one of the half donuts. It was very good - but then again, I really like donuts and I very rarely - if ever, any more, have them. There is also an ice cream sundae bar with soft serve ice cream. The ice cream looked really, really good - really creamy. I was tempted, but not after eating the donut - not to mention the chicken and waffles.

Service was very good. The young lady who was serving our table made sure the plates were taken away and kept offering and bringing refills of the drinks.

I have looked forward to coming back to Dutch-Way for a year and I was very happy that I went back and look forward now to the next visit. In fact, I keep thinking since this meal, that this has to become one of my regular dinners when in Lancaster County. I find it interesting that the restaurants that are the least presumptive stand out so highly. After all, this is a restaurant buffet in a supermarket- but it is one of the better buffets that I have been to.

As I did six months ago, I still highly recommend Dutch-Way Family Restaurant!

The Dutch-Way Family Restaurant is located at the Dutch-Way Farm Market Supermarket at 365 Gap Newport Pike (Route 41), Gap, Pennsylvania 17527. The buffet is served from 4 pm to 8 pm Monday to Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. This is about two and a half miles south of Route 30. There is a web site and that is linked at the side of this page. The phone number is 610-593-6080.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Return to Yoders, New Holland, Pennsylvania

When I am asked what the second best buffet is, I think Yoders. It has been a while since I have been to Yoders and with an extended visit to the Pennsylvania Dutch area in Lancaster County, PA, dinner at Yoders was definitely on the schedule.

Yoders is a restaurant and buffet that I have written about before, It is a bit unusual - though in this area it is not really out of the ordinary before - you see, it is located in a supermarket. In Lancaster County there are several supermarkets that have restaurants and a few of them have full buffets. The restaurant is actually in the building that the supermarket is located in but separated by a hallway that goes past gift shops and there is the restaurant. Of course, the supermarket is named Yoders as well.

From Monday to Thursday the dinner price at Yoders is $13.49. On Friday and Saturday nights the price for dinner is $14.49. Unlimited refill soft drinks cost $1.99. This may seem expensive to some used to the $10.99 buffets, but OCB also charges $1.99 for drinks. When compared to its neighbor buffet - Shady Maple, when you add the tax and tip at Yoders you come pretty close to the price that you pay there.

This is not a lavish buffet. There are no crystal chandeliers, there is no grand entrance lobby, and you do not have long buffet servers the length of the restaurant. What you do have is good food that is cooked from scratch and a nice selection with something for everyone. This visit was on a Friday night and this is Land and Sea night - as are Saturday nights - and the emphasis is on seafood.

This is a local restaurant that cooks to appeal to local tastes and this is a Mennonite and Amish area - when you are eating at Yoders, you will be eating at a table near Mennonite and Amish people. These are people who appreciate good, plain and fresh country cooking - and that is what you get at Yoders.

As usual, we started with soup. There were two soups - New England Clam Chowder and Stuffed Pepper soup. It is often the case at Yoders that the soups will be a bit out of the ordinary. I had the clam chowder. My wife skipped the soup - as you regular readers know - she is a picky eater who does not eat seafood other than shrimp, but there was plenty of non-seafood here for her to enjoy and she looks forward to coming back to Yoders. The clam chowder was thick and tasty - though a bit on the salty side. I lifted the lid on the tureen of the stuffed pepper soup and I was met with the strong and good smell of stuffed peppers. The soup was in a tomato base and was full of chopped meat and green peppers. (A day later I encountered freshly made, Stuffed Pepper Soup again at a food market - so apparently this is a local soup.)

There is a nice salad bar. It has several types of lettuce greens and also a large selection of prepared salads - some local to this area. There are toppings to make just about any type of mixed salad that you would like including Caesar Salad.

There is a large grill and on this night they were grilling marinated Delmonico steaks. You ask for your steak how you like it and that is how you get it. The steak was tasty. It did have the taste of what it had been marinated in which was slightly sweet, and, in my opinion, marinating is not necessary - but it was good. On weeknights there are other items served from the grill.

With the steak I chose potato filling - think of stuffing made of potatoes - green beans and stewed tomatoes. I also took a small amount of baked oatmeal. My good wife loves their baked oatmeal and it is good!

Thia may sound like an odd criticism of a restaurant, but portions at Yoders are large. I have said this in the past. When I eat at a buffet I like to take a tasting plate - small portions of things that I want to try and then have the ability to take a variety. When I finished the very good steak, I wanted to sample the seafood dishes that are offered Friday and Saturday nights. There were several that I had my eye on - one of which I have never had before. One other was the fried pollack and the pieces that were out where full size portions. Of course, you can take a little bit if you cut a piece of what is there but I don't like to do that. I feel that is wrong as it leaves a broken piece in the serving tray for someone else. So, I took a full piece.

The dish that I have never had before was Tuna Noodle Casserole. This was the butt of many jokes on 1960's TV comedy shows. The joke of "what is for dinner?" was always "tuna noodle casserole" and would be met with a frown. This may have been common at your house - we never had it in our family and my wife never had it on her house either - of course, she does not eat fish anyway. Well, there was tuna noodle casserole and I had to have some. It was actually very good. It was tuna - it seemed to be canned tuna which I suspect is how this is always made - and the tuna was blended with noodles, mushrooms and a cream sauce. It was thick and tasty. To this plate I also added a piece of the stuffed flounder. This was a flounder fillet that was rolled around a generic fish stuffing. It was all good. The flounder was tasty as was the pollack and the rest.

This is one of those buffets that you see things that tempt you to go back up and go a plate further. The fried chicken here is always good. I took a small piece. There was another fish dish that I wanted to try - baked haddock. This was thin fillets of haddock with a crumb and lemon topping. I could not take a whole piece and against my own desire not to cut off a piece from a larger piece there, I did just that. I did not take the fried shrimp but my wife did. There was also cocktail shrimp served both plain and spiced I passed on this too - though I have had this here before and it is good.

My wife was happy with ham loaf in pineapple sauce - chopped ham cooked into a meatloaf. She also took more than one portion of the baked oatmeal. She likes Yoders - no matter what night we are there and she was happy with the selections - which is saying a lot for any buffet on seafood night when my wife is there.

There is good reason to leave room for dessert here. They have a nice assortment of layer cakes, hot and cold prepared desserts - including many local favorites, fruit pies, shoo fly pie - of course, and a soft serve ice cream that is very good. There is a sundae bar to top the ice cream. Yoders complex includes a dairy and that dairy makes home style ice cream. It is a shame that this hard ice cream is not included on the buffet. It is served from the menu - and you can buy it in the attached supermarket. I have been told that it is excellent.

Yoders is a must try but if you go, as I said in the beginning, do not expect lavish. You do not go to Yoders for the atmosphere, you go for the food.

There is a website for Yoders listed at the side of this article. The restaurant is located at Yoder's Supermarket or perhaps, more properly, Yoder's Country Market, Route 23, New Holland, Pennsylvania. The phone number is (717) 354-4748.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Back to Cactus Willies Steak Buffet and Bakery - Lancaster, PA

I have not been to Cactus Willies since 2009. We have been to Lancaster, of course, since that time but not on a Sunday night when just about all of the buffets that I have recommended in this area are closed. We were leaving Lancaster on a Sunday and our choices for a buffet meal were Old Country Buffet, a Chinese buffet, Cici's Pizza (which would have been great if I could eat that much pizza any longer) or Cactus Willies. There was no question that it would be Cactus Willies.

Cactus Willies is a two state chain of restaurants that is now down to only two locations. One is in Essex, Maryland and the other is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

My last visit to Cactus Willies was fine but as I look back on what I wrote in 2009, it could have been better. This visit was definitely better. The hours on Sundays have gone back to closing at 8:30 pm. They are open until 9:30 on Friday and Saturday nights. Monday to Thursday they are open until 8:30 pm.

At Cactus Willies, like the other chain buffets of this type, you pay as you enter. We were told to sit anywhere. You choose your soft drinks which are $1.69 with refills. You are given a slip with your drink order on it to give to your server at your table. There were a good number of people dining in the restaurant for a Sunday night in at the end of April. We sat down.

The prices at Cactus Willies are very good. Weekdays dinner is $10.29. Weekends, including Sundays, dinner is $10.79. There is a senior discount of a dollar off, and of course there are children's prices.

Our server came over to us and took the slip with our drinks and went off to get them. We went up to the buffet and went over to the soups. There have always been - and there still are - three soups to select from. One soup was missing. It did come out later. There was vegetable beef and Maryland crab. Maryland crab is a red stock crab soup that is seasoned with Old Bay seasoning. My wife took the vegetable beef. When we got back to the table I looked at her soup and asked what she had taken as it looked exactly like my Maryland crab soup. Since I know she does not eat crab, I knew that this could not be. She told me it was vegetable beef. Again, it looked exactly like my crab soup - so much so that I got up and went back to the soups to look that I did not take the beef soup. In the serving pot they did look the same. This was odd. There in my crab soup I was certain that there were the same chunks of beef as in the beef vegetable. I tasted the soup. It was definitely seasoned as Maryland crab. I could also feel the strings of crab meat slurried through the soup. But there were cubes of beef. It made me wonder if the two soups had been accidentally mixed together. It tasted good and I enjoyed it. Why it had beef in it I don't know and this really could be a problem for someone who has any reason not to eat beef. My wife's vegetable beef soup was exactly that - no taste of crab or crab seasoning at all.

We were up next to the salad bar and there are the fixings for regular salad with a variety of dressings and toppings. There is also an assortment of local-styled prepared salads. The prepared salads are "home-style" and several are Pennsylvania Dutch area salads.

Cactus Willies has a large, char-flame grill off to the side of the buffet area. There they are char-grilling steaks. There is a carving. On this night it was ham. There has been turkey and Roast Beef. There are also barbecue ribs. I went up to the grill and asked for a steak rare. The chef picked a steak - not a full steak, but a good size piece - cut into it and showed it tome. It was rare and not raw - which is good. I also took a three rib piece of ribs. The ribs are covered in barbecue sauce. The steak was very tasty and I enjoyed it. The ribs were almost fall off the bone which is what I look for in ribs. This piece was meaty and while I would have preferred less sauce, many would say the sauce was just right.

On the hot buffet servers there was my wife's favorite Cactus Willies dish, Turkey Pot Roast. This is a pot roast made from turkey thigh meat in a rich brown/red gravy with potatoes, carrots, and celery. She loves this dish here and has looked for recipes to make it. Locally to us, we have not been able to find turkey thigh meat and for the texture of this dish to resemble its beef counterpart turkey thigh meat is necessary - it gets stringy like a well cooked beef pot roast. I took some on another trip up to the buffet servers and it is very good. Also on this night on the hot buffet servers there was meat loaf, fried chicken, fried shrimp, baked fish, fried fish, lasagna, spaghetti, pork chops, and pizza. There is also a taco station where you can make both tacos and nachos. Vegetables were the usual- string beans, corn, cabbage, sweet potatoes, a baked potato bar, french fries, brussel sprouts, rice, mashed potatoes, and stewed tomatoes. There is plenty to eat here.

Desserts are not elaborate but there is a nice selection of baked goods. There are puddings, jello, prepared desserts. There are cakes and pies. There are hot fruit cobblers. I did try the soft serve and this was a little disappointing as it was icy. A lot of soft serves are icy. It would have been better if it was creamy. There is a sundae bar and ice cream cones for the ice cream. There were some nice looking cupcakes that were out.

The food is good. It is not one of the best buffet meals you will ever have but it is satisfying. This last visit made me feel that this was a place to come back to more often - and with future trips to the area that will involve Sunday nights, I am pretty sure that I will be back here soon. If it is not a Sunday, in Lancaster there are so many other buffets. Reserve this one for when those are closed.

There is one funny problem with Cactus Willies. When I want to recall what the name of the restaurant is I always come up with Wild Willies and then cannot find it - of course, since the name is CACTUS Willies. Even as I sat down to write this article I stared out with Wild Willies. So remember "C A C T U S Willies".

Cactus Willies is located in a strip mall not far from the city of Lancaster. It is located at the Regency Mall, 101 Rohrerstown Rd, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The phone number is (717) 390-7060. There is a website (for both locations) and that is linked at the side of this page.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Buffets, Inc. To Close More Restauants

In May, Buffets, Inc. filed their plan to come out of bankruptcy. Their plan includes closing more restaurants as the company tries to build more traffic. There will be a confirmation hearing on the plan on June 13, 2012.

As regular readers know, Buffets, Inc. is the corporation that owns and manages the Old Country Buffet chain and the Ryan's Buffet chain. When the company filed this second bankruptcy since 2008, the company closed 81 restaurants - most of them closed overnight with no warning to unit managers or employees. Since these initial closures we have been made aware of a number of other locations that were closed following this - again, with no warning and done overnight.

The plan just announced to come out of bankruptcy that was filed in court stated: "“The financial projections also assume the closure of underperforming stores over time as it remains within the normal course of business to periodically determine which restaurant leases should be renewed as such leases come up for renewal or extension.”

This all comes following two million dollars in bonuses given at the corporate level to management who put the corporation into bankruptcy. It also comes following an announcement that Buffets, Inc. will be doing dramatic renovations in decoration to the interiors of Old Country Buffet restaurants. From the look of a sample of this new "concept" interior, there is no way that these renovations could be done on current locations without some period of closing down the unit - the changes will be that dramatic - and, frankly, in my opinion, will add nothing to increase business. And with every unit under scrutiny for performance - how could any unit afford the time to be closed for renovation? Again, Buffets, Inc. demonstrates a lack of good leadership, management, and business practice.

From a National Restaurant News article about this plan to exit bankruptcy - "For fiscal 2012, which ends June 27, Buffets expects restaurant sales to decline 13 percent from a year earlier to $1.03 billion, compared with $1.18 billion in fiscal 2011. The company cited the closure of 105 company-owned units during the fiscal year and lower guest counts at remaining restaurants for the drop-off."

Is this incredible? The company blames their drop in sales on not having the restaurants that they closed! This company counted on people traveling a distance to another location when the location near them was closed. From comments on Old Country Buffet's Facebook page from customers - there is no way they are going out of their way to travel to another Old Country Buffet. There are other reasons why there are fewer customers. The menu is tired. While there are some staples that need to remain, they have dropped too many of the things that people enjoyed coming to OCB for. OCB also serves almost the same things every night with little variation. There was a time, years ago, that there was a distinctly different menu every night of the week. Not any longer. They also dropped their seasonal or monthly features. Summer barbecue was always popular and brought people in with real barbecue ribs and brisket. Not the same pork loin that is cut into different shapes and served with barbecue sauce that they call "ribs" now - along with several other names for the same meat and sauce.

This is a company doing nothing to help what it calls "under performing stores" and is just waiting for their leases to end before they put all of these employees out of work and annoy more customers at the same time. The reader who was first to inform me about this most recent news called Buffets, Inc, "A slowly dying company."

We will watch and see.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, Thurmont, Maryland

The Mountain Gate Family Restaurant has two locations owned and managed by the same family. The location in Thurmont, Maryland is the original location and restaurant and began as a truck stop. It evolved into a full restaurant serving both menu and buffet meals and has a gift shop. I had never been to the Thurmont location until recently and I went the night after I had dined at the Waynesboro, PA location - which is reviewed in the last article.

Thurmont, Maryland is one of those famous, but unknown places. It is at the foot of the Catoctin Mountain and on that mountain, hidden away, is Camp David, the retreat for Presidents of the United States since Eisenhower. I have written about another buffet in this area - Cozy Restaurant - that has a hotel where the White House Press Corp would stay and dine when the President was at Camp David. The Mountain Gate Family Restaurant is just down the street from that restaurant.

Getting here can be quite an experience depending upon the direction that you come from. If you come west from Pennsylvania, you are not far from Gettysburg. If you come north from Maryland your GPS will likely route you through the Catoctin Mountain Park which is a roller coaster ride of narrow roads that wind around the mountain and in some places come very close to the edge. I went that way once, and I will never go that way again. We actually drove south and then east to travel on interstate highways to get to Thurmont to have dinner at the Mountain Gate. This was out of the way and longer in miles but actually about the same time as going the more direct but daunting route.

We arrived at the Mountain Gate Family Restaurant on a Saturday night at about 6:30 pm. There was no line to get in when we arrived but shortly after a line began to form. It is evident right away that this is the older of the two restaurants. I have spoken about the Christian decor that had been at the Waynesboro location and it is evident here. This is not any problem for us. I have read reviews where some people were troubled by it.

We were seated at a booth in what seemed to be the smaller dining room. There are three dining rooms with the buffet area located in the middle. Prices are the same at both locations. There is a noticeable difference in the tax - one restaurant is in Maryland and the other is in Pennsylvania.

I have been to the Pennsylvania location on a Saturday night and anticipated the same menu on the buffet. The buffet serving area is large - larger than in Pennsylvania, but as we went through the meal I had the impression that there were less choices being offered. The food here is, as expected, American Country and Pennsylvania Dutch. There are two soups - beef vegetable and chicken with dumplings, and a salad bar with an assortment of prepared salads, lettuce and romaine lettuce, and a large array of toppings for your salad. There were the makings for a Caesar Salad, and unlike the night before in Pennsylvania, the Caesar salad dressing was the creamy type. I tried the chicken with dumplings soup and it was very good. I made myself a Caesar salad and enjoyed that. I also took some chicken salad and some ham salad on my salad plate to taste. Both were excellent. Ham salad may be common in some areas but it is not common near us. I have had it in Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants and some (but rarely) buffets. If you have an opportunity to try it, do. It is little more than chopped ham with seasonings and mayonnaise, but it is good.

There were four carvings being sliced. The night before there had been only three. There was turkey, ham, pork, and roast beef. This roast beef was not like the beef that I had the night before in their other location. This was pretty much sliced roast beef. See my last article for my description of the one the night before. I did try the turkey and the ham. The turkey, while a turkey breast was pure turkey meat and not a turkey breast with fillers that is sometimes served. The ham was a basic sliced ham and it was good.

Looking around at the entree choices I was not seeing as much as I expected - and this surprised me. There were so many choices the night before - yes, they were seafood and it was seafood night, but I would have expected other entrees to take their place on a Saturday night. There was fried chicken, pork and sauerkraut, and chicken bot bie - a PA Dutch stew of chicken and large dumpling noodles with potatoes, carrots, and celery in a thick chicken stock. All of these are excellent. The vegetables and side dishes were very much the same as there had been at the other location - kernel corn, green beans and ham, beets, sweet peas, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, carrots, stewed tomatoes, and stuffing. There was gravy for the turkey and gravy for the roast beef. There was cranberry sauce also. All of the food was good. I just expected there to be more - though there was the fourth carving. The chicken bot bie was just as good as I expected. The fried chicken is home sytle. The stewed tomatoes are very good. The macaroni and cheese - like the one the night before - is thick with cheese and crusted with a heavy layer of melted cheddar on top. I have said it before and I will say it again - wonderful!

The dessert selection equaled the Pennsylvania selection and this was also a dessert feast with a large assortment of cakes, different fruit pies, nut pies, cream pies, pudding pies, prepared desserts, puddings, fruit, jello and on. Here it was spread out more around two serving counters that went around a wall so the presentation is not as overwhelming as it is in the smaller area at their other restaurant, but it is all here. I wanted to take something and chose a small piece of chocolate cake with white frosting. It was good.

Your meal includes soft drinks and they serve Pepsi products. They have fresh brewed ice tea and this is very good!

Our server was very good and she took the soiled plates off our table each time we got up to get more and came around with drink refills. She also came by at dessert to offer some of their in-house made ice cream.

The food was good. The service was good. I like the Pennsylvania location better. I am not really certain why that is - perhaps atmosphere. Perhaps that coming to this location is really out of the way - at least from the area that we visit when we are close enough by to come here or to the Pennsylvania location. If I were in Gettysburg, I might make the trip over to this location.

I certainly recommend that you come here. But do so only if you are already coming to this area or are very nearby. As I say, it is not easy to get to and very much out of the way. If you happen to be on the White House staff, of course, you are right near by when the President is at Camp David so you certainly should come down the mountain for a good meal.

There was a time that this restaurant was not opened on Sundays. It is now. This Mountain Gate Family Restaurant is located at 133 Frederick Road, Thurmont, Maryland 21788. The phone number is 301-271-4373. There is a website and that is linked at the side of this page.