Friday, February 07, 2014


This is the latest that we have ever taken to naming the Best Buffet for the year. This year was difficult. I go to a lot of really good buffets. A number of those stand out and just a few are ones that I think often about going to. All of those are not local and when I can get to them they are must go tos - even at the expense of trying something new. I went to a number of buffets in 2013. Some were first time for me and others were ones that I have been to before.

When we pick a Best Buffet - and last year we picked several and named them all Top Buffets for 2012, we start with certain criteria. They must give excellent value. They must serve quality food. The food must be prepared properly. The restaurant must be managed properly. The service must be good. And all of this must be consistent - meal to meal, visit to visit.Then it must be a buffet that comes to mind to go back to whenever possible.

When the process gets narrowed down to a few choices, they get ordered in priority of the criteria - and what starts to be examined is how consistent were they. A few favorites every so often disappoint. Some never disappoint. In the year 2013, there were two that did not disappoint and they are the choices for this year. This year there is a Best Buffet and a Top Buffet. Best and Top are not the same thing and in our decision for this year neither one of the other is considered higher. In other words, Top Buffet is not Number Two or the runner up.

Let me explain. There can be a best - the restaurant that pleases every time. There can also be a top - the restaurant that is at the top of the list to go to. It has appeal, it pleases, but it is not share in characteristics that can be compared to the other - things that it may not be able to compete against but that should not be held against it. If this is confusing, you now know why it has taken this long for this decision to be made this year.

So without further ado, the Best Buffet for 2013 is Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earle, Pennsylvania. The Top Buffet of 2013 is Dutch-Way Family Restaurant in Gap, PA. I am sure it is no surprise to any of our readers who have been to Shady Maple that it is again named as Best Buffet. It has been for as long as this site has been giving this award. Dutch-Way in Gap was one of our Top Buffets in 2012. It really is the buffet at the top of the list to go to when possible.

There will be articles about both of these buffets coming in the next weeks. We will be sending a Best Buffet certificate to Shady Maple. They have consistently from the start honored our award by displaying it in a glass case in their lobby, and we hope that they will place the new certificate there as well. If you go there please go and see it. It has been displayed in the case next to the last cash register on the left in the glass case on the column. When you see it tell them that you have read about them on this site. If you agree that it is the best, let them know.  They appreciate the recognition.

Congratulations to Shady Maple Smorgasbord and to Dutch-Way Family Restaurant, Gap!

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