Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving at Old Country Buffet

It was just the two of us for Thanksgiving dinner this year and rather than cook at home we decided to go out for Thanksgiving Dinner. There are local menu restaurants that do one time buffets for Thanksgiving but these are priced high and generally, in a restaurant that just serves by the menu day to day, buffets are either a disappointment or are staffed by employees who would rather be at home and are unhappy about working.  Now, unhappy employees having to work on a holiday can be found at any restaurant, but in the past three years that we have been going to Old Country Buffet for Thanksgiving, this has not seemed to be the case. At least the employees at the OCB that we frequent have not shown it, if they are unhappy about having to work on Thanksgiving.

This year Old Country Buffet, and also Golden Corral Buffet increased their price for the Thanksgiving Day meal. An ad showed the price for Golden Corral on Thanksgiving as $12.99. The Old Country Buffet that we went to usually charges $11.29 for an adult dinner and on Thanksgiving this increased to $11.99. Of course, at both chains the price does not include a beverage and at OCB the beverage is an additional $1.99. The restaurant would be open until 7:00 pm.

We arrived at the OCB at about 4:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. There was a short line at the cash register but a longer line inside to be seated. We waited about ten minutes or so to be seated. One of the OCB managers was seating guests. Once seated, just like any other day at OCB you are on your own to get your beverage and start at whatever part of the buffet you wish.

Dinner that was being served was similar to the usual Sunday OCB offerings with several additions in side dishes. There were three soups out. One was the usual Chicken Noodle soup, another was the Sunday featured Corn Chowder, and the third soup was Cream of Broccoli. 

The salad bar was the same as always. There was the pre-mixed Caesar Salad, the usual assortment of mixed greens and also raw spinach. If you have been to any OCB, you have seen exactly what the salad bar contains.

The meat that most expect on Thanksgiving is turkey, and they are carving their usual turkey breast. In addition there was roast beef, ham, and steak. There seemed to be a lot of people passing the turkey by and choosing the other meats - and there were some who were asking for the carver to cut an assortment. (There was one man who already had a plate piled high with food who asked for one of each carving. With no room on his plate for anymore, the carver just piled one piece on top of the other. There was not really a long line to the carving station at any time. Wouldn't it have been a lot more appetizing to come back for the meat one type at a time? Some of what you see go on, you wouldn't think to make up!)

In addition to the carvings there were all of the traditional side dishes for Thanksgiving and more. There were candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, corn, carrots, string beans, corn bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and butternut squash in a sweet sauce. There were also some not so traditional side dishes - all of which you may find at OCB at various times. These included french fries, baked potatoes, broccoli and cheese sauce on the side, cauliflower in cheese sauce, boiled cabbage, spinach casserole, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti with tomato sauce on the side.

To add to the carvings in the way of entrees there was fried chicken, baked chicken, fried shrimp, beef and chicken tacos with fixings, and pizza. There was no way that one could not find something that they would like to eat.

Dessert was the usual assortment of desserts at OCB. There was, in addition to everything else, traditional pumpkin pie and pecan pie. I had to have a piece of pumpkin pie. The slices were not thick but they were good. There was whipped cream to spoon on top. 

There were large families dining that went over a dozen people. There were average families, couples, and singles all enjoying their Thanksgiving Dinner at Old Country Buffet. The restaurant did seem more crowded than usual when we have been there for Thanksgiving, and we are pretty certain it was due to the many families near this OCB who were severely effected by the disastrous Hurricane Sandy that resulted in the loss of many homes in this area and beyond. In fact, there were several emergency relief workers dining here together in wearing their emergency uniforms and bright yellow vests.  What I like about going to OCB for Thanksgiving is that you are not eating alone - even if it is two of you. You are eating around other people who are enjoying the holiday and there is a festive atmosphere created just by the diners. And as I said, the employees at least made if feel that they were happy to be there with you too. (Though the manager who was seating tables did at times seem overwhelmed and mumbled a bit as he walked by, but he did keep a smile and was greeting people with holiday appropriate salutations.) The general manager was also in the restaurant and was dining in the dining room with his family- while also keeping an eye on things.

The dinner went smoothly. If I was the manager, I would have made sure that there was always another turkey ready to come out as soon as the one being carved was nearing the bottom. At one point, more turkey would not be out for another five minutes. In fact, I would have had two turkey breasts out under the heat lamps bring carved. This was minor and other than this there was never an empty serving tray.

I had a good Thanksgiving dinner. The service was excellent and I tipped more than I usually do - just because it was the holiday. The only drawback is that there are no leftovers.

Old Country Buffet is closed on Christmas Day. They are open Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. There is a link to the OCB general website at the side of this page.

1 comment:

songbird's crazy world said...

I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving. My friends were supposed to go to the OCB in bay Shore but wound up in the one in Levittown, which was a disaster. Not enough food at the carving stations, none of them got any turkey. One of my firneds got an argument from a server about the steak. they paid extra for this meal and wound up eating the stuff that's on the buffet every day.