Friday, February 01, 2013

Top Buffet of 2012 - Yoders Restauarant, New Holland, PA

There was no question that any list of top buffets had to include Yoder's Restaurant. I have been writing about Yoder's for years and those of my readers who have taken my suggestion to go and try Yoder's have written back to me to say - "Yes!".

Yoder's may not have the ambiance of some of the other buffets but it has what counts - great food, service, and value. Yoder's is one of the supermarket buffets that I have written about in Lancaster County, Pa - something that you don't generally see in other areas. Yoder's is located within a building that is Yoder's Farm Market which is a supermarket. The restaurant is separated from the food store and is located down a hallway. The facilities of this building also include a few shops and a catering hall.

When you go into Yoder's you will find laminated booths in rows across the room. At the rear is the buffet serving area. There is a room at the rear that has tables to accommodate groups of larger guests but for the most part, the restaurant is as you see it through the doors. Do not let this put you off. Go in, be seated, order the buffet and your beverage from one of the very friendly wait staff and then head up to the buffet.

You will encounter three, long, double sided, buffet servers in the middle. A full grill area at the rear. A dessert bar on the right wall of the room and a soup, bread, and hot servers on the left wall. In front of the grill there is a small server sticking out and inside you will find condiments and also when it is seafood night, peel and eat shrimp kept cold. You are in Lancaster County and you are surrounded by Amish and Mennonite farms. The food that is cooked from scratch at Yoder's is prepared to appeal to the local people who live in this area. This is Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. While I am sure you will find tourists here as well, this restaurant is a local restaurant and the food on the buffet very much follows local recipes. You will find good plain, country cooking and often something a little fancier as well.

There are always two soups and they tend to be out of the ordinary varieties - though you will also find old favorites as well. The salad bar has a nice selection to create a salad and also has a number of local prepared salads. Some of these will be similar to what you are familiar with but in Lancaster they are made a little bit differently and better.

What is served from the grill varies by night. There are nights with steak on the grill, nights with fish and seafood on the grill, and nights with carvings such as Prime Rib. When there is steak you are asked how you would like it cooked and it is cooked to your order. What you get off the grill will fill your plate. Portions at Yoder's are large - whether from the grill or portioned servings in the hot buffet trays. It is very easy to find yourself eating more than you may have intended. That is a good thing because it is all so good it is hard to resist going back for something else that caught your eye on your way back to your table. Use a little discipline though and try to take smaller servings because there will be things that you will want to go back and try.

One of our favorite's here is the Baked Oatmeal and it is served from trays set into the counter on the left wall. At one time there was just one type of Baked Oatmeal served here. Now there are several. They are all good but the plain is still the one we go for. I don't know any other buffet that includes Baked Oatmeal as one of the items during dinner - and it makes for a great side dish. There are many other dishes that we love here and they often vary night by night - week by week. Among other greats are ham loaf, BBQ ribs, stuffed flounder, marinated Delmonico steak, potato filling, sliced turkey, Prime Rib, fried chicken, and so many more. You will find different things and you may find some of these - it depends on the night.

Desserts are found on their own double buffet server as well as along the wall and in a revolving glass enclosed case that contains pies. There are plenty of desserts to choose from. There are cakes, pies, soft serve ice cream and a sundae bar, fresh fruit, canned fruit, puddings and prepared desserts. This is one of the few buffets in this area that still serves Cracker Pudding - cracker pudding is like rice or bread pudding but is made with saltine crackers - and shredded coconut. It is a local dessert and is very good!

What sets this buffet apart? The food is consistently extremely good. The quality of what is served is high. There is value for your money. The service has never been bad. There are no disappointments. These are the marks of a top buffet.

Yoder's well deserves to be among the 2012 awardees for  Top Buffet. It is highly recommended that you should dine there - and remember - you are going for the food not to sit under chandeliers - which you will not find here. Simple surroundings in a country restaurant is what you will find along with great food!

Yoders is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They open very early in the morning and close at 8:00 pm at night - as most other buffets in this area do. They recently started opening for Sunday brunch but other than that they are not open on Sunday's for lunch or dinner. If you are coming for the buffet that you have just read about come at dinner from Monday to Saturday. 

The restaurant is located at Yoder's Country Market, Route 23, New Holland, Pennsylvania. The phone number is (717) 354-4748. There is a website and that is linked at the side of this page.

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